Held annually in the heart of the dry and sandy Kalahari Bushveld, the Toyota 1000 Desert Race is now the premier event on the Southern African racing scene, attracting the very best in local and overseas participants. Arriving with their race-prepared bakkies, quad bikes, off-road bikes, and quaintly-styled special vehicles, these racers gather at the Jwaneng Sports Club in the centre of this dusty but hospitable little town.
Hosted by Total South Africa, and with a stunning Hyundai Tucson 1.6 Turbo Sport as our wheels for the weekend, the 500 km from Joburg to Jwaneng was dealt with speedily and economically with the Tucson cruising along at a Garminindicated 126 km/h – with three adults and their luggage on board. The Hyundai proved itself as a supremely comfortable vehicle with all the bells and whistles one would come to expect from a luxury mid-sized SUV with an asking price of some R500,000.
The race itself – a high-speed dusty dash through arid terrain and thorn scrub – was won finely by South Africa’s only Dakar Champion, Giniel de Villiers, who also won the event in 2009 with codriver Dennis Murphy, ending the two-day 1,000 kilometre event a mere six seconds ahead of South African rally champion, Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie. Both were in Dakar-specification Toyota Hilux vehicles, designed and prepared by Glyn Hall, while Johan and Werner Horn in their Malalane Toyota Hilux ensured a full and decidedly impressive all-Toyota podium. Fourth place overall went to Lance Woolridge/Ward Huxtable in their Ford Ranger, while Johan van Staden/Mike Lawrenson surprised one and all by bringing their Infiniti-engined Renault Duster V8 home in fifth overall. Visit motorsport.toyota.co.za for more.
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