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ABSA 2009: First Sun City SC-Victory for Hutchison/Bergmann.

Former South African champions Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann scored their first Sun City 400 victory here today to tighten an already firm grip on the Special Vehicle category title chase in the South African Absa Off Road Championship. For Hutchison and Bergmann, in the Motorite Revo1 4x4, it was their fourth win in five events this season although there was an element of good fortune in their victory. The pair took the lead about 50 kilometres from the finish when former SA champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau, in the Total Motorsport Porter, picked up a puncture.

There was also an element of irony about the situation with Variawa and Rousseau winning the recent Toyota 1000 Desert Race when Hutchison and Bergmann picked up a puncture 100 kilometres from the finish. Variawa and Rousseau were looking for a repeat of last year when back to back wins on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race and the Sun City 400 sparked a late championship challenge.

Hutchison and Bergmann, after a dodgy prologue saw them start in 10th place in the Special Vehicle category, had worked their way into second place at the designated service point. They still had leeway to make up on Variawa and Rousseau when the fickle finger of fate moved in.

"It took us a little more time to change the wheel than would normally be the case," said Rousseau. "The car was at an awkward angle and we could not get the jack into place. It was frustrating to see Evan and Achim go past but that is racing and we had our slice of luck in Botswana."

The final podium position went to the father and son team of Kallie and Quintin Sullwald in the Sullwald racing BAT. For the reigning South African champions it was their best result of what has been a disappointing season.

The top five was completed by another father and son combination, Nick and Ryan Harper, in the Atlas Copco BAT, and Limpopo crew Naeem Moosajee and Mohammed Moultson in the Tyrerack Jimco. Another father and son pair in Herman and Wichard Sullwald (Sullwald Racing Zarco) were sixth, with fine performances from veteran Ernest Corbett and son-in-law Warwick Goosen (Century Racing CR2) and Jan Kraaij and Tiddo Voogt (Keymax BAT) taking them into the top eight.

Corbett, who is in his 60s, and Goosen also won Class P in the futuristic CR2 ahead of Kraaij and Voogt. The Century Racing CR2 is being developed for a shot at next year’s Dakar Rally and was giving only its second outing.

Third in Class P went to brothers David and Gary White (Ruwacon BAT) who won the recent Toyota 1000 Desert Race. The big losers were championship leaders Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) who blew a succession of motors between dyno testing on Thursday and the start of the event on Friday.

The Class B honours went to Desert Race winners Derick du Toit and Ian Pienaar, from Cape Town, in the Orange Tree BAT. The Cape crew came in ahead of Simon Beckett and Tim Curtis, in the Century Racing BAT, to tighten their hold on the Class B championship.

Third were the Makenete brothers, Keith and Andrew, who came up with another brave performance in a Zarco. Another Cape crew, Bez and Deon Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT), were early casualties and after winning the opening event of the year, the Bezuidenhout’s have run into a string of non finishes, which have hurt their championship hopes.

2009/07/28 | 20:32 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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