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ABSA South African Championship 2007 Special-Newssection

This is the single-news section of the special of the ABSA South African Offroad Championship series 2007. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

ABSA 2007: Hutchison/Bergmann Triumph on Ford Motorite 400.

Motorite BAT pair Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann struck a blow for their sponsor when they won the Special Vehicle category on the Ford Motorite 400, round six of the Absa Off Road Championship in South Africa. In the process Hutchison and Bergmann became the first two-time overall and Class A winners this season. The pair won the opening event of the championship, the Nissan Dealer 400 in the Western Cape, with the next four events producing different winners.

Second were Colin Matthews and Allan Smith, in the Century Property Development BAT, who trailed in just over five minutes behind the winners. It was their best result on a national event and beat their third place last time out on the Amathole 500 in the Eastern Cape.

Provisional results saw championship leaders Nick and Ryan Harper, in the Atlas Copco BAT, grab the final place on the podium and they were only 22 seconds behind Matthews and Smith. The Harpers said before the race a good haul of points was more important than a win, and they got exactly what they wanted.

Another steady performance saw Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell, in the Absolute BAT, finish fourth with the top five rounded out by Mike Whitehouse and Pieter Groenewald in the Regent Racing BAT. Whitehouse is a former SA co-drivers champion and this was his best result as a driver. "A couple of punctures were the only hassles we had out there," said Bergmann. "We had fun."

But while Hutchison and Bergmann were having fun in was a stressful day for other top crews. Nardus Alberts and Collin Hunter (Wrapsa BAT), winners of the prologue and the recent Amathole 500, went out with a broken fuel line while Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau (Total Porter) suffered suspension damage.

Reigning champions Alfie Cox and Hennie ter Stege, in the second Motorite BAT, were in the lead shortly after the start of the second of two 200 kilometre loops, when they ground to a halt with mechanical problems. It was their third non finish of the season and has put them out of this year’s championship stakes.

An impressive sixth place overall saw Hendrik and Jan Kraaij, in the Regent Racing BAT, back to their winning ways in Class B. It was their fifth win in six outings and virtually wraps up the championship for the father and son pairing.

Such was the domination the Kraaij’s enjoyed that they finished almost an hour ahead of next placed Bez Bezuidenhout and Johan de Bruyn in the Adenco BAT. Veteran Giel Nel and Sandra Labuscagne (LUK ATE Truggy) were third and had it been a boxing match Class B would have been declared ‘no contest.’ "We never even had to get out of the car," said Jan Kraaij afterwards. "It was the perfect race and made up for our disappointing result on the Amathole 500."

Down in Class S an interesting battle saw former SA champion Richard Schilling and Chris Davies return to winning ways in the Plasotech Aceco. In the process they beat arch rivals Nic Goslar/Richard Carolin (Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco) by around three minutes.

It was a good recovery from Schilling and Davies who, plagued by a power steering failure, were around a minute behind Goslar/Carolin after the prologue. Despite Schilling suffering from a sore back, the pair pulled out the stops on the second loop to take nearly 10 minutes off the Kopanong car.

2007/09/13 | 11:01 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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