Tarka: Sentimental journey for Makgekgenene

The Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 on November 1 and 2 -- the penultimate round of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship -- will be something of a sentimental journey for Botswana businessman Atang Makgekgenene. As an off-road rookie in 2000 ...

The Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 on November 1 and 2 -- the penultimate round of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship -- will be something of a sentimental journey for Botswana businessman Atang Makgekgenene.

As an off-road rookie in 2000 Makgekgenene scored his maiden victory on the Tarka 400 as a co-driver. He sat alongside Bevan Bertholdt when the pair won the Special Vehicle category, but this year returns to the Eastern Cape as a driver with high hopes of another victory.

Earlier this year Makgekgenene won the Barberspan 500 to score his first win as a driver, and is hoping that a return to the scene of his first taste of victory will produce the required result. This time out Makgekgenene will be partnered by Alec Sally in the SAM Racing Jimco and the pair will be among the pre-race favourites.

Since the Barberspan 500 win early in the year matters have not gone too smoothly for the Botswana businessman. Reliability problems have seen him drop out of contention in the Special Vehicle and Class A championships, but Makgekgenene is hoping to come up with a solid finish to the season.

"After the Barberspan 500 win I had high hopes of challenging for the overall and Class A championships, but subsequent results have been disappointing," he said. "We have had the pace to win races, but the reliability has been lacking.

"Championship hopes may be a thing of the past, but Alec and I are aiming to finish the season on a high note, and the Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 has a special meaning for me."

On a lighter note Makgekgenene is a little miffed that the Mobil Jimco he previously raced and is now owned by brothers Laurence and Gerhard du Plessis has turned into a winner. The Schweizer Reinecke brothers have won three consecutive events in the car, and Makgekgenene reckons there is no justice in the world.

"Being beaten by someone in my ex car has rubbed salt into the wound, but they have done very well and I am happy for them. What bothers me more, however, is that their parents have a combined age of 113 and they have also beaten me. Where is the justice in that?"

With championship matters coming to a head, the Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 will be a make or break event for some Special Vehicle and Production Vehicle title contenders. Makgekgenene is not among the championship challengers, but he and Sally could throw a spanner in someone else's works.

-msa-

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