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ABSA 2009: First Win for Harpers on RFS Magalies 400

The father and son team of Nick and Ryan ended the season on a high note when they won the Special Vehicle category at the RFS Magalies 400, the final event of this year’s Absa Off Road Championship, which ended at Tarlton International Raceway. Provisional results saw the win ensure the Harpers, in the Atlas Copco BAT, finish second in the overall and Class A championships behind high flying Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann in the Motorite Revo1. Hutchison and Bergmann, who scored four wins during the year, dropped out of this weekend’s race when a string of punctures left them stranded out on the route without any serviceable wheels.

The Harpers went into the race just one point ahead of Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau in the Total Porter. Clutch failure on the first of two loops that made up the race scuppered Variawa and Rousseau who eventually finished well down the pecking order. The Harpers, however, also endured a late scare. The car stalled on a steep incline and then refused to start. "We had a few uncomfortable moments before the engine finally fired up," said Harper senior. "It was a nice way to end the season, but it was a tough race."

Second place went to Limpopo based Naeem Moosajee and Feroz Doodha in the Tyre Rack Jimco. The pair crossed the line with the Jimco sounding a little sick, but a steady drive saw them with around three minutes to spare over Johan van Staden and James Rossouw in the KEC BAT.

Van Staden and Rossouw won Class P in what was their maiden national championship win. Fourth place went to reigning Class P champions Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout, in the Adenco BAT, with Boela Botes and Johan Pretorius (Botes Vervoer BAT) completing the top five with their best result of the season.

The Bezuidenhout result saw the Cape Town brothers put the finishing touches to back to back Class P championships. They went into the race just one point ahead of another set of brothers, David and Gary White, in the Ruwacon BAT.

For the Whites it turned into a nightmare weekend. They failed to finish the prologue to determine start positions, and the race was not much better.

Going into the race KwaZulu-Natal driver Don Thompson (Zarco) was only five points in arrears in the driver’s championship. Third in class with Hjalmar von Gessellen was not enough to see Thompson sneak in via the back door.

Cape crew Derrick du Toit and Ian Pienaar wrapped up their fifth win of the season in Class B in the Orange Tree BAT. It was a win that also made certain of the Class B co-driver title for Pienaar who will sit out next season.

The only other Class B finishers were Johan de Klerk and Louis Pretorius, in a Zarco, who again showed plenty of perseverance. Although they failed to see out the distance the Makenete brothers, Keith and Andrew, were second in the championship in a Zarco.

2009/11/20 | 14:12 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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