CREWS competing in the Special Vehicle category in the Donaldson Cross Country Championship face a tactical race. A 196-kilometre qualifying race to determine grid positions, followed by two 251kilometre loops with a compulsory 20-minute halt after the first lap create new tactical options and crews will have to be able to adapt their game plans.
The premier Class A and Class P fields look to be more open than in previous seasons, and that sets up an interesting scenario for the rest of the series. It also highlights the need for a fast start to a season where the constant change of race format is going to provide teams with an additional challenge. There is very little to choose between the Class P championship contenders. Kwa-Zulu-Natal pair James Watson and John Thompson (BAT) will resume a rivalry with the (Zarco Magnum team of John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten.
Another KZN crew in Leon Bothma and Quinton Brand will be racing their BAT against Andrew Makenete/Ntoate Bereng Nic Goslar/Andrew Massey and Grant Watkins/Mark Irvine will be out in a trio of Zarco models.
The BAT challenge is bolstered by John Telford/Victor Ntsekhe in the Calcamite entry, and veteran Ernest Corbett and Martin Hermida will also make a rare appearance in the Century Racing CR2.
But in Class P the odd are all in favour of Matthews/Burke. When this racing pair manage to put together a trouble free run, none of the other Class P drivers get close and the Century Racing pair even pose a major threat to the Class A brigade.
Class A is led by former champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen in the Motorite BAT Viper. Newcomers Lourens and Carien Booysen (BAT) are an unknown quantity, while the father/daughter combination of Coetzee and Sandra Labuschagne move up a notch after a gaining experience in Class P. — Wheels Reporter.