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ABSA South African Championship 2007 Special-Newssection





This is the single-news section of the marathonrally.com 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: Top trio lead Toyota 1000 Desert Race winners.





With 18 victories between them in the 27-year history of the event, a trio of South African champions have down the years dominated the Toyota 1000 Desert Race. The race was first run in 1975 and was won two years in a row by Giel Lamprecht and Chris Hawkins in a Ford F250. Richard Leeke, with seven victories as a co-driver between 1984 and 2004, leads the all time list of winners, and is followed by Apie Reyneke with six wins and Hannes Grobler, last year’s Production Vehicle category winner, with five wins.

Leek’s first victory came with Paddy Driver in a Mitsubishi Pajero in 1984. He subsequently scored wins with Kassie Coetzee (2) and Philip Malan in Toyota Hilux entries and with Grobler (3) in Nissan Hardbody entries. Reyneke scored the first of his six wins with Lucas Dreyer in a Nissan Safari in 1987. His next five victories were all scored in Toyota entries - with Dreyer again in a Toyota Land Cruiser in 1994 and four wins with Robin Houghton in factory Castrol Toyota Land Cruisers.

Houghton is still competing and is this year again paired with Bevan Bertholdt in a Castrol Toyota Hilux. After successive wins with Leeke from 2002 to 2004, Grobler won again last year with Francois Jordaan and a win this year would see him draw level with Reyneke. Grobler’s first victory came in 1986 with current Motorsport SA Off Road Car Racing Commission president Piet Swanepoel. The ebullient Grobler then had to wait 17 years for his next victory in 2002.

Next on the list with four wins are the father and son combination of Franz Czepek senior and junior. The pair won three times in a row between 1997 and 1999 and again in 2001.

Buks Carolin and Neil Woolridge, who is still competing, each have three victories with the latter’s wins coming in three different vehicles. Woolridge won for the first time in 1996 with Paul Vermaak in a Nissan Sani, and with Kenny Skjoldhammer won in 2000 in a Mitsubishi Pajero and in a Ford the following year.

The Special Vehicle category has only three times been won by a singleseater with Des Tarboton (1982), Rob Wark (1994) and Marius Beaurain doing the trick in a Might Mag in 1996. And the race has twice been won by a woman with Petra Marais winning in
1979 and 1981 with Mervyn Woods and Selwyn Robinson doing the co-driving in a Kartmaster Sprinter.

But perhaps the most famous victory of all goes back to 1985. That was the year SA rally champions Geoff Mortimer and Spotti Woodhead tackled the event in an Audi Quattro - and pulverised the opposition.

Throughout a long and colourful history the Toyota 1000 Desert race has seldom failed to produce some sort of drama. This year is not likely to be any different.

2007/05/29 | 11:22 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune






















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