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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

ABSA 2009: Hutchison/Bergmann look for a repeat of History.

Runaway Special Vehicle championship leaders Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann will be hoping for a repeat of history at the Highveld 400, round six of the South African Absa Off Road Championship at Carnival City on August 28 and 29. The Highveld 400 replaces the Limpopo 400 on this year’s Absa calendar with the race returning to Carnival City, on the East Rand, for the first time since 2007. Hutchison and Bergmann, now campaigning the Motorite Revo1 4x4, won the 2007 Carnival City 400 to win the South African championship.

A repeat victory this time out would all but assure Hutchison and Bergmann of their second national title. After four wins in five starts this season the pair have a lead of more than 50 points in the championship, and another win would allow the engravers to start putting their names on this year’s trophy.

But, despite the four wins from five starts record, Hutchison/Bergmann do not face an easy passage. There are at least half a dozen other crews in the Class A ranks who could bag a win.

Only four points separate two of those crews - Shameer Variawa/Siegfried Rousseau (Total Porter) and Nick and Ryan Harper (Atlas Copco BAT) - in second and third in the championship. Both have the credentials to win with a good contrast in styles between the two teams.

Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson are fourth in the championship in the Regent racing BAT and have been a revelation this season. They are knocking at the door for a win while Limpopo crew Naeem Moosajee and Mohammad Moultson (Tyre Race Jimco) have been models of consistency with a 100 percent finish record.

After dodgy starts to the season the two Sullwald Racing crews, reigning champions Kallie and Quintin in the BAT and Herman and Wichard in the Zarco, are starting to show ominous form. The reigning champions, in particular, look as though they are again ready for the winner’s enclosure.

There are a couple of other dangermen in the field. The two Century Racing crews, Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer in the 4x4 CR1 and Colin Matthews and Alan Smith in the conventional BAT, have plenty of pace. Reliability has been a problem for both teams this season, but if they keep it all together will be there or thereabouts.

KwaZulu-Natal crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell, in the Gibson Racing SVR, could also come into the picture along with Jimmy Zahos and Stefan Coetzee in the ex Bertholdt Porter. The Gibson/Campbell car is new but has shown potential.

Two wins in a row have given Cape crew Derrick du Toit and Ian Pienaar (Orange Tree BAT) a comfortable 35 point cushion in Class B. They will be the target for other crews with sheer doggedness taking brothers Keith and Andre Makenete into second place in the championship in the Zarco.

The Makenete’s now narrowly lead Bez and Deon Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) who have had a miserable run since winning the opening race of the year. Simon Beckett and Tim Curtis, after a brave Sun City performance, also come into the reckoning with a good fight in the offing.

There is also a good fight in the offing in Class P where reigning champions Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) still top the table - but with the rest of the pack closing in. Like father and brother in Class B, the Bezuidenhout’s running in Class P has also had a rough time of it lately.

The class was turned upside down at Sun City when veteran Ernest Corbett and son-in-law Warwick Goosen won in the futuristic Century Racing CR2 with its enclosed bodywork. That will have made everyone sit up and take notice and Corbett/Goosen will fancy their chances on the East Rand.

At the top of the table David and Gary White (Ruwacon BAT) have closed to within eight points of the Cape based Bezuidenhout brothers with Jan Kraaij and former South African Champion Hennie ter Stege also coming into the picture in the Keymax BAT. KZN flyer Don Thompson now partnered by Hjalmar van Gessellen is always a danger in the Zarco and Johan van Staden and James Rossouw (KEC BAT) will be looking to bounce back after a couple of disappointing outings.

A couple of old timers in Bodo Bertholdt and Richard Schilling will also be looking for good results. Bertholdt and Philip Herselman had a good run at Sun City in the Atlas Copco BAT, while Schilling and Chris Davies are due a good result in the Aceco ZA.

2009/08/24 | 14:51 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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