Tarka: Rally summary

Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 review Hannes Grobler and Richard Leeke in the factory entered Nissan Hardbody emerged the overall and Production Vehicle Category winners of the Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400, the penultimate round of the Bankfin Off...

Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 review

Hannes Grobler and Richard Leeke in the factory entered Nissan Hardbody emerged the overall and Production Vehicle Category winners of the Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400, the penultimate round of the Bankfin Off Road Championship, in Tarkastad today.

Production Vehicle Championship co-leaders Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer finished second in the Ford Racing Ranger, seven minutes behind the winning Nissan, which only picked up one puncture.

Woolrdige and Skjoldhammer started 4th and made up a place when Giniel de Villiers and Francois Jordaan dropped down the field but a puncture cost them valuable time.

Third overall and winners of the Special Vehicle Category were John Weir-Smith and Geoff Minnitt in the O'Hagan's / Kopanong Hotel Superteam Jimco, who qualified first in the Prologue on Friday, 28 seconds ahead of the winning Nissan.

They spent much of the day swapping the lead with Grobler and Leeke but lost a lot of time during a frustrating pit stop when the BMW V8 powered Jimco would not start due to a sensor problem in the fuel tank.

A puncture and getting stuck in a mud hole did not help matters but they could take solace in the fact that this was their second Special Vehicle Category victory of the year, having achieved the first on the Nissan Sugarbelt 400.

Fourth overall and 2nd in the Special Vehicle Category were championship leaders Greg Harvey and Boy Stone in the Castrol Queen Motor Spares Jimco. The ever-consistent Queenstown businessmen started 11th and steadily made up places despite running out of brakes on the 2nd loop. They stopped in the pits to repair the brake problem and had a clean run from there to the finish.

Apie Reyneke and Robin Houghton were 5th overall and 3rd in the Production Vehicle Category in the Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser. They survived two punctures and the loss of the power steering on the 2nd loop to claim a spot on the podium.

Terence Marsh and Trevor Ahier claimed 3rd in the Special Vehicle Category and in Class A in the Nashua Mobile Jimco despite rolling down a mountainside into a river. They eventually got underway again but had to drive 500 metres along the riverbed before finding a way back onto the route.

Cliff Barker and Vic Campher finished 7th overall and 4th in Class T in the Barker Performance Products Land Rover after an uneventful day.

Special Vehicle championship contender and Class S championship leader Greg Daus and co-driver Archie Rutherford ran in Class A this time out and claimed 8th overall and 4th in Class A in the Nashua Mobile Raceco after a clean run.

Ninth overall and 5th in Class A belonged to father and son duo, Bodo and Gary Bertholdt in the Comutanet BAT.

Production Vehicle co-leaders Duncan Vos and Mike Griffiths nursed their Class D Nissan Hardbody to the finish to claim valuable points, which has them still sharing the lead in the championship with Woolridge and Skjoldhammer.

The former Bankfin Touring Car championship driver had a troubled day. On the first 130km loop he landed hard in a donga and damaged the front suspension but it was decided at the first pit stop that he should continue. The second loop was uneventful but on the third loop the suspension had deteriorated to the point of collapsing and he was forced slow his pace to the finish.

Reigning Production Vehicle champions Giniel de Villiers, a multiple Bankfin Touring Car Champion, and Francois Jordaan had a day they would rather forget. Electrical problems in the Prologue and in the race saw them drop steadily down the field. On the final loop the Nissan Hardbody started overheating and they were forced to run at 3000rpm in an effort to conserve the motor.

The O'Hagan's / Kopanong Hotel Superteam Jeep driven by Richard Carolin and Scott Abraham was the lone entry in Class F and finished 14th overall after starting 21st. This was Carolin's debut in the Production Vehicle Category and he had a clean run in the two-wheel drive 5,9 litre V8 powered monster until 1,5km from the finish when he picked up a puncture.

Manfred Schroder and Jack Peckham finished 15th overall and won Class E in the Ford Racing Ranger to keep their championship hopes alive. They finished 17 minutes of arch-rivals Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn in the Castrol Toyota Hilux.

Marcus Taylor and Marc de Chalain in the Truck Time JRE won the Class B battle. They finished 16th overall, 5 minutes ahead of reigning Class B champion Giel Nel in the Luk Africa Truggy.

Only 24 of the 44 starters made it to the finish of what has been described by many competitors as one of the toughest events ever.

With only one class championship settled the championship, sponsored by Bankfin, the specialist vehicle finance division of ABSA Bank, is set to go to the wire in the final event, the Carnival City Casino 400, on 29 and 30 November.


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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Giniel de Villiers , Duncan Vos