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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: Kraaijs wrap up first ABSA Offroad Championship

The father and son combination of Jan and Hendrik Kraaij became the first crew to wrap up a Special Vehicle category championship in this year’s Absa Off Road Championship when they won their class on the recent Ford Motorite 400 in Limpopo. With son Hendrik doing the driving and father Jan the navigating in the Regent Racing BAT the pair, in only their second season of off road racing, won Class B with an hour to spare over the second placed crew. That gave them their fifth Class win in six outings this season and made sure of the championship.

Matters are not as cut and dried, however, in the overall and premier Class A championships. But, with only two races remaining this season, it looks as though the championship fight is going to be a two horse race.

A solid third place on the recent Ford Motorite 400 saw another father and son combination, Nick and Ryan Harper in the Atlas Copco BAT, tighten their hold on the championships. It was the sort of result the Harpers wanted, but the bad news was that a win for Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann in the Motorite BAT has left the championship delicately poised.

The Harpers now enjoy and 15 point lead in the overall championship and, because both crews have a non finish, dropping one score at the end of the season is no longer a part of the equation. It is now a straight fight and that puts pressure on both crews.

In the drivers championship the consistent Clint Gibson (Absolute BAT) has edged ahead of Shameer Variawa(Total Porter) by two points and, further back, just three points separate Nardus Alberts (Wrapsa BAT), Terence Marsh (Regent Racing BAT), Alfie Cox (Motorite BAT) and Hendrik Kraaij.

On the co-driver front Siegfried Rousseau (Total Porter) is third. As in the drivers championship there is a huge battle behind him with Collin Hunter (Wrapsa BAT), Pieter Groenewald (Regent Racing BAT), Hennie ter Stege (Motorite BAT) and Jan Kraaij separated by only three points. For reigning champions Cox and ter Stege, the Limpopo race put an end to their title hopes. A third non finish this season blew them out of the water.

While the Kraaij’s have virtually turned Class B into a ‘no contest’ category, there is a good fight going on for the minor places. Bez Bezuidenhout and Johann de Bruyn (Adenco BAT) have a slender two point lead over veteran Giel Nel and Sandra Labuscagne (LUK ATE Truggy) with Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout, in a second Adenco BAT, a further three points adrift.

The fifth and sixth place battle is also more than close. Here Louw de Bruin and Rudi Britz (Ruwacon BAT) have a one point lead over Amathole 500 winners Marcus Taylor and Derek Keith in the JRE.

A win on the Ford Motorite 400 has put veterans Richard Schilling and Chris Davies, in the Plastotech Aceco, within touching distance of the Class S championship. Schilling has a comfortable 25 point lead over Nic Goslar (Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco) in the driver’s standings while Davies, who missed a race because of illness, has a 12 point advantage over Richard Carolin.

Another win for Schilling and Davies will virtually put them out of reach. Glen Gibson and Mark Whitehurst (Absolute Aceco) won the Amathole 500 but are no threat where the championship is concerned. The next event is the Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga and has the makings of a classic. For the Harpers and Hutchison/Bergmann it will be white knuckle time.

2007/09/17 | 13:12 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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