Dirt riders will race for gold on West Rand

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING - CHAR­MAINE FOR­TUNE

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.

PHOTO: MARC BOW

Mark Cor­bett and Juan Mohr (Cen­tury Rac­ing CR5).

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