Bats aflut­ter at Vry­burg

Lit­tle to sep­a­rate the spe­cial ve­hi­cles in Don­ald­son Cross Coun­try Champs

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING - CHAR­MAINE FOR­TUNE

WITH the Spe­cial Ve­hi­cle cham­pi­onship del­i­cately poised there will be some ner­vous crews at the Vry­burg En­durance, round five of the Don­ald­son Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onship, to­mor­row and Satur­day.

For­mer cham­pi­ons Evan Hutchi­son and Danie Stassen (Mo­torite BAT Viper) head for the penul­ti­mate round of the cham­pi­onship with a 17 point mar­gin over Lance Trethewey and Ge­off Min­nitt in the LTE BAT Venom.

The third crew still in with a math­e­mat­i­cal shot at the ti­tle, Mark Cor­bett and Juan Mohr, in the Cen­tury Rac­ing CR5, com­plete a trio who will re­sem­ble a cricket bats­man ne­go­ti­at­ing the ner­vous 90s.

A non-fin­ish for Hutchi­son and Stassen on the Nko­mazi 450, in Mpumalanga, last time out opened the door for Trethewey/ Min­nitt and Cor­bett/Mohr to stay in the cham­pi­onship reck­on­ing. The Mo­torite pair went into the Nko­mazi 450 with a 27 point lead over Trethewey and Min­nitt, but a run of three wins and a sec­ond was ended with elec­tri­cal prob­lems.

It en­abled Trethewey and Min­nitt, the last of the clas­si­fied fin­ish­ers, to close the gap to 17 points while a podium fin­ish saw Cor­bett and Mohr stay in the ti­tle chase. The highly ex­pe­ri­enced Cen­tury Rac­ing pair, 44 points be­hind Hutchi­son and Stassen, is hang­ing in by the skin of their teeth and need the sort of re­sult that will keep alive their cham­pi­onship hopes.

Trethewey and Min­nitt are faced with much the same predica­ment, while Hutchi­son/Stassen can­not af­ford another hic­cup. There are a max­i­mum of 60 points re­main­ing and you don’t need a de­gree in math­e­mat­ics to work out all three crews are walk­ing a tightrope.

A maiden win for Jimmy Za­hos and Za­heer Bod­hanya, in the Cobalt Rac­ing Stryker, came too late to keep the pair in the cham­pi­onship race. The Mpumalanga race will, how­ever, have given the pair a mas­sive boost in con­fi­dence, and Za­hos will rel­ish the wide open na­ture of what will be a typ­i­cal Kala­hari route.

Sarel van Biljon and Phillip Herselman (At­las Copco BAT) will also be rid­ing a high af­ter sec­ond place on the Nko­mazi 450, and will be look­ing for another good re­sult. The op­po­site in terms con­fi­dence ap­plies to Brett Parker and VZ van Zyl in the Sizanani Plas­tics Jimco.

Af­ter a promis­ing start to the sea­son, Parker and van Zyl have been hit by a cou­ple of non fin­ishes and need to re­group. Coet­zee Labuscagne and daugh­ter San­dra will bring their usual steady ap­proach to the ta­ble in the ChemSys­tems Porter, with the en­try bol­stered by crews like An­dre Fourie/Hen­drik Pien­aar (BAT) and Ste­fan van Plet­zen/Jaco Pieterse (Aceco) re­turn­ing to the Class A fray.

Two Botswana-based driv­ers will also make the short trip to Vry­burg. Keith du Toit and Xan­der Mare will be out in a BAT with Mo­grey Ma­bille, with a co-driver still to be nom­i­nated, out in a Porter.

The Class P cham­pi­onship is de­vel­op­ing into a bat­tle be­tween for­mer cham­pi­ons John Thom­son and Mau­rice Zer­mat­ten, in a Zarco Mag­num, and Colin Matthews and Rod­ney Burke in the Cen­tury Rac­ing CR3. Un­less re­li­a­bil­ity prob­lems in­ter­vene Matthews and Burke will be among the over­all favourites, but they trail the con­sis­tent Swaziland based Thom­son and Johannesburg res­i­dent Zer­mat­ten by 15 points in the Class P stakes.

Nic Goslar re­turns to ac­tion af­ter in­jury and re-joins An­drew Massy in the SA Clin­ics Zarco. Vet­eran Richard Carolin, who stood in for Goslar, was ly­ing third in the cham­pi­onship but will now drop out of con­tention.

An­drew Mak­enete and Ntaote Bereng (Zarco Mag­num) will be look­ing for their first point of the sea­son, while broth­ers Gene and Ian Boshoff re­turn in a pair of new CR-T cars de­vel­oped by Cen­tury Rac­ing. They will be ac­com­pa­nied by Lot­ter Klein and Mia van Wyk re­spec­tively.

Also in the Class P line-up will be Sean Reitz and Ri­aan Greyling who usu­ally cam­paign in the Pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cle cat­e­gory. Their Re­gent Rac­ing Nissan Navara is be­ing pre­pared for Dakar Rally duty and the pair will keep their hand in with an out­ing in the team’s Jimco.

Race head­quar­ters will be at the Vry­burg Mo­tor Club with free public en­try and spec­ta­tor view­ing points along the route. Spec­ta­tor guides will be avail­able at race head­quar­ters, with the qual­i­fy­ing race to de­ter­mine grid po­si­tions start­ing at 10.30 am to­mor­row, with the race from 7.30 am on Satur­day.

PHOTO: K@NAPS.CO.ZA

For­mer champs Evan Hutchin­son and Danie Stassen hang in by the skin of their teeth on Satur­day.

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