It was a big day for Hendrik Fourie, owner, designer and big brain behind the Proudly South African Zarco Special Vehicles, when he and bother Louis finished the Carnival City Casino 400, the last round of the SA National Off-road Championship for...
It was a big day for Hendrik Fourie, owner, designer and big brain behind the Proudly South African Zarco Special Vehicles, when he and bother Louis finished the Carnival City Casino 400, the last round of the SA National Off-road Championship for Special and Production Vehicles presented by Absa.
This was only the third off-road race they entered and to finish this race on the East Rand - one of more difficult ones on the off-road calendar - was a major step in the off-road future of this locally designed and build Zarco Lite Special Vehicle.
It was not an easy race for the Fourie brothers and they experienced a flat tyre on the route in a rocky hill during the first lap and could not change it, because there was not place to stop. So, they had to race with a flat tyre for a few kilometers before they found a spot to change the tyre. And then the twowheel-drive special vehicle got stuck in a mud hole causing them to loose some more valuable time.
Their interesting race did not stop there, because a thunderstorm made their lives in the vehicle with no windscreen even more difficult towards the end of the race. But then it was the chequered flag and the first ever finish for a Proudly South African Zarco Lite - and the taste of champagne was sweet! The taste of success was enhanced by the fact that Hendrik last participated in 1998 and admitted that he lost some of his off-road racing touch. It was also the first time ever that his brother, Louis, played the role of navigator.
It was a very proud Hendrik who emerged from underneath his Special Vehicle after the race to declare that there were no damage to the Zarco Lite's chassis - another milestone for this small company who build affordable special off-road vehicles.
A standard 2,0 VW 16V engine powers the Zarco Lite and while this was a good start to the off-road life of Zarco, they are in the process of developing a more powerful engine during the off-season.
"We are extremely happy with the result. We were determined to receive the chequered flag and we did it. Our 5th place in the extremely competitive Class B is a excellent result for us," Fourie said after the race.
The second Zarco Lite in the hands of Glen and Warren Classen also participated for the first time and sent a warning to the rest of the Class B field when they posted the quickest time in this class after the first lap. Unfortunately the gearbox oil drained after the drain plug got lost during the race and they had to call it a day.
More Zarco vehicles will be seen at off-road races in the future - John Thomson (who navigated for Hendrik at the Sun City 400 as well as the Toyota Dealer 400) already received his Special Vehicle while the Classen brothers will each have their own Zarco to participate in Class B in the future.
Six Zarco Lite Special Vehicles can be expected at the first race of the 2004 SA National Off-road Racing season.