Dirt riders will race for gold on West Rand
VRYBURG — Castrol Team Toyota Hilux crew Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie put the finishing touches to winning the Production Vehicle category when they cruised to victory at the Vryburg Endurance.
Winning the fifth round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship underlined the domination Poulter and Howie have exerted on the title race from day one. The pair went into the weekend needing only a third place to clinch the title, and were virtually home and dry when defending champions and team-mates Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy ran into problems in the qualifying race that determined grid positions.
Going into the race, Taylor and Murphy were the only other crew with a mathematical chance of winning the championship. By adding the cross country title to a South African rally championship and numerous national circuit racing and karting titles, Poulter is also assured of a place in the local motorsport history books.
“We lost time on the second loop with two punctures, but otherwise it was a clean run,” said Poulter.
BITTER PILL FOR FORD
In the Ford camp, youngsters Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer (Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Ranger) were the only ones to end in the top 10 overall. The two factory Ford Performance Ranger entries dropped out of contention while running second and third.
Former South African champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, who won this race last year, suffered drive train failure, while Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable retired with a broken suspension arm.
It was a bitter pill for the Ford Performance squad who looked to be en route to salvaging some pride after a disappointing season. The retirement of the two Ford Rangers opened the door for Mpumalanga brothers Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux) and North West crew Jason Venter and Vincent van Allemann (4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux) to finish on the podium. The Horns were delayed by a couple of punctures, but Venter and Van Allemann reported a clean run and never had to get out of the car.
Terence Marsh and television’s Cave Man presenter Janez Vermeiren had a steady run in the second Regent Racing Nissan Navara. They came in ahead of former South African champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (Toyota Hilux), who were first in Class S for cars up to four litres with solid axle rear suspension.
SPECIALS WIDE OPEN AGAIN
Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen lost a battle but won the war when they wrapped up the Special Vehicle category championship at the Vryburg Endurance, round five of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, which ended today.
Second place for Hutchison and Stassen, in the Motorite BAT Viper, was enough to put the title out of reach of race winners Mark Corbett and Juan Mohr (Century Racing CR5) and Lance Trethewey and Geoff Minnitt, in the LTE BAT Venom. Trethewey and Minnitt went into the weekend trailing Hutchison/Stassen by 17 points, but alternator problems dropped them out of the race and blew them out of the championship picture.
It was a long overdue win for Corbett and Mohr,and a maiden success for the Century Racing CR5, which was designed and built in the team’s Midrand workshop.
It was a victory that lifted Corbett/Mohr into second place in the championship ahead of Trethewey and Minnitt, but even if they win the final event of the season with Hutchison/ Stassen failing to finish, the Century Racing crew cannot overtake the new champions. • The final event of the season will see the Donaldson series head for the West Rand on October 30 and 31 for the Atlas Copco Gold 450.
Mark Corbett and Juan Mohr (Century Racing CR5).