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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: Special Vehicle Category wide open on Toyota 1000.

With three different winners in three races so far this season, the Special Vehicle category on the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race from June 15 to 17 is wide open. The Botswana outing is round four of the Absa Off Road Championship and once again provides crews with a test of endurance and reliability. And with tight championship situations at the top of both the overall and Class A championships, the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race takes on added importance for title hopefuls.

Reigning South African champions Alfie Cox and Hennie ter Stege, in the Motorite BAT Spec 3, went to the top of both logs via a win on the recent Sun City 400. They have a tenuous lead, however, over Nick and Ryan Harper (Atlas Copco BAT) who won the Nissan Hluhluwe 400 and Evan Hutchison/Achim Bergmann who won the Nissan Dealer 400.

All three crews will be among the fancied runners in Botswana, with the Harpers looking for a repeat of their victory last year. As usual, however, there is no shortage of challengers.

Shameer Variawa/Siegfried Rousseau (Total Motorsport Porter), Herman Sullwald/Morne Moller (Sullwald Transport Zarco) and Naeem Moosajee/Rayhoon Bodhanya (Total Motorsport Jimco) have all come up with encouraging performances in recent outings. The fledgling Regent Racing squad also saw former SA champion Terence Marsh and Pieter Groenewald and Mike Whitehouse/Dean Langton pick up good results on the Sun City 400.

Add to them the likes of Gary Bertholdt/Henry Kirstein (Atlas Copco Porter), Nardus Alberts/Collin Hunter (Wrapsa BAT), Karl-Hein Sullwald and Quentin Sullwald (Sullwald Transport Zarco) and Rob and Gareth Wark (Superpave BAT) and you have the makings of a first class scrap. Bertholdt and Kirstein were within touching distance of winning last year and would like to get that monkey off their backs.

Bertholdt and Kirstein also demonstrated last season that the Toyota 1000 Desert Race is more often than not won in the last 100 kilometres. Sheer pace is not a prerequisite for victory in Botswana, and it is the crew that can combine speed with patience and reliability that will triumph.

Class B has been dominated this season by Hendrik and Jan Kraaij in the Regent Racing BAT. They have a perfect three out of three score so far this season, and the rest of the Class B runners will be hoping the law of averages catches up with them or that they lose their way on the trip to Gaborone.

Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT), Bez Bezuidenhout/Johann de Bruyn (Adenco BAT), Giel Nel and Sandra Labuscagne (LUK ATE Zarco Truggy) and KwaZulu-Natal crew Marcus Taylor/Derek Keith (JRE) all pose a threat to the Kraaij father and son combination. The de Bruin/Britz (Ruwacon BAT) combination came up with an encouraging third at Sun City, and reigning champions Ernest Corbett/Warwick Goosen (Century Property Development BAT) will want to get their campaign on track after a late start to the season.

Once again it is going to boil down to a question of who can best see out the distance. On current form, however, the Kraaij’s must be outright favourites to make it four in a row.

Most of the Class S attention is again going to be focused on the rivalry between current championship leaders Richard Schilling/Chris Davies (Plastotech Aceco) and Sun City 400 winners Nic Goslar and Richard Carolin in the Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco. Schilling and Carolin are both former Toyota Desert Race overall winners, so there is not a lot you can teach them about the race.

So far this season Schilling/Davies have won twice and the toughest challenge to the Johannesburg pair and Goslar/Carolin is likely to come from the Gibson/Whitehouse (Absolute Aceco) combination and the Class S duel in the sand could develop into a feature of the race.

The Toyota 1000 Desert Race proved again last year that there is always a sting in the tail. In terms of picking a winner it is a case of you pay your money and you take your choice.

2007/06/12 | 17:44 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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