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ABSA 2009: Hutchison/Bergmann score second Victory in SC-Category.

A dream start to the season continued for Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann, in the new Motorite Revo1 4x4, when they won the Eastern Cape 400, which ended here today. It gave the pair their second win in a row in this year’s Absa Off Road Championship with the car making its debut on the Adenco 400 in the Western Cape. After a miserable 2008 season two wins in two races represents a major turnaround in fortunes for the former South African champions.

"It was a tough race for us," said Hutchison, "but what is there to say against two wins in two races. It has been a dream start for us and hopefully the season will continue this way. We lost time at the end of the first loop, but the forest section on the second loop was good to us."

Former champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau, in the Total Porter, overcame a dodgy first loop to take a solid second place. There was also a solid performance from the steady Mike Whitehouse and brother-in-law Matthew Carlson (Regent Racing BAT) who were delighted with the final podium place.

Hutchison and Bergmann lost time at the end of the first of two loops that made up the route when they had to change a rear hub. They were then forced to push hard with four-wheel drive giving them an advantage in the tight Longmore Forest section.

Variawa and Rousseau went off the road on the first loop and were stuck in a ditch. They could not extract the car and were rescued by Production Vehicle winners Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford who pulled them back onto the road.

With a tough route taking its toll with only 25 of the 57 starters classified as finishers the top five was rounded out by Class P competitors. Former Class B champions Jan and Hendrik Kraaij, sharing the driving duties in the Keymax BAT, came in nearly 10 minutes ahead of the inexperienced Johan van Staaden and James Rossouw (KEC BAT) with both crews coming up with impressive performances.

Reigning Class P champions Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout, in the Adenco BAT, ran into clutch problems but salvaged precious points with a hard earned third place. The Bezuidenhout’s won the Adenco 400 in the Western Cape and have taken an early lead in a class that this year is going to be hugely competitive.

A feather in the cap of the two Class P crews was the fact that they came in ahead of Class A crews in Nick and Ryan Harper (Atlas Copco BAT) and Kallie and Quintin Sullwald in the Sullwald Racing BAT. The Sullwald’s are the reigning South African champions and battled through a weekend fraught with problems.

There were no Class B finishers with Adenco 400 winners Bes and Deon Bezuidenhout, in the Adenco BAT, among the casualties. Also in the wars were derrick du Toit and Ian Pienaar (Orange BAT) and John Telford and Jaco Swart in the Calcamite Zarco Lite.

The premier Class A category also produced some high profile casualties. Among them were Colin Matthews and Alan Smith (Century Racing BAT) who started in pole position, Will Battershill and Reg Sutton (BAT) and veterans Nardus Alberts and Geoff Minnitt in the Wrapsa BAT.

2009/04/21 | 12:54 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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