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ABSA 2009: Hutchison/Bergmann are Nissan Sugarbelt 400 Favourites.

After two wins in a row in the new Motorite Revo1 4x4 it is not surprising to see former champions Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann installed as the Special Vehicle favourites on the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, round three of the Absa Off Road Championship, on Friday, 15 and Saturday, 16 May.

While there was a touch of fortune to their win on the Adenco 400 in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape 400 saw the pair power their way to a commanding win. The Motorite Revo1 4x4, designed and built by Bergmann, has proved to be an impressive piece of machinery and on an event like the Nissan Sugarbelt all-wheel drive will be an added advantage.

There is, however, no shortage of challengers. There are at least half a dozen crews who have the potential to win the overall and Class A battle, and an intriguing race is one the cards.

Colin Matthews and Alan Smith (Century Property Racing BAT) are quick but erratic. By contrast Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson (Regent Racing BAT) have so far this season proved to be solid and reliable, and lie second in the championship.

The father and son combination of Nick and Ryan Harper (Atlas Copco BAT) are likely to find the Nissan Sugarbelt route to their liking, while former champions Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau (Total Porter) have a menacing look about them. Naeem Moosajee and Mohammad Moultson (TyreRack Jimco) were off the pace on the Eastern Cape 400 but will also relish Sugarbelt conditions and local crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell (Gibson Racing BAT) will be keen for a good result on home soil.

It has been a difficult start to the season for reigning champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald, in the Sullwald Racing BAT, but a win would see them back on an even keel. Herman and Wichard Sullwald, in the Sullwald Racing Zarco, have also had a dodgy start to the season, and the Sullwald family would relish a change in fortunes.

Where the other 4x4 vehicle in the field is concerned Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer (Century Property Racing CR1) will be hoping the law of averages finally falls in their favour. The car has shown huge potential but has so far failed to finish a race. In a Special Vehicle field loaded with potential the likes of newcomers Jimmy Zahos and Stefan Coetzee (Mountain Dew Porter), and Nardus Alberts and Geoff Minnitt add to the mix.

There were no Class B finishers on the Eastern Cape 400 and that keeps Bes Bezuidenhout and son Deon (Adenco BAT) at the top of the championship standings. Simon Becket and Steve Harris (Century Property Racing BAT), after missing the last event, will be back to provide some stiff opposition.

Cape crew Derick du Toit and Ian Pienaar (Orange Tree BAT) are also potential winners with John Telford and Jaco Swart (Calcamite BAT) capable of an upset. Also in the mix will be the Makenete brothers and local crew Marcus Taylor and Derek Keith, and the class has the makings of producing some interesting battles.

Class P also has the makings of some interesting racing. Jan and Hendrik Kraaij (Keymax BAT) won last time out but face stiff competition from reigning champions Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) and the White brothers, David and Gary, in the Ruwacon Racing BAT.

Johan van Staden and James Rossouw (KEC BAT) threw their hat into the championship ring with an impressive Eastern Cape performance, while local crew Don Thompson and Don Blakey (Zarco Lite) have the pace to blitz the opposition. Charger John Weir-Smith and Richard Carolin (Men’s Health International Zarco) and former champions Richard Schilling and Chris Davies also come into the equation in what is a highly competitive category.

2009/05/11 | 18:05 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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