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ABSA 2009: Ironic twist to Special Vehicle Championship.

After 2008 seasons they would rather forget, two crews this year find themselves in the early lead in the Special Vehicle category of the Absa Off Road Championship. Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann, in the new Motorite Revo1 4x4, got their season off to a dream start when they won the opening event of the season, the Adenco 400, in Darling in the Western Cape. That gave former champions Hutchison and Bergmann an early lead over Naeem Moosajee/Mohammed Moultson (Tyre Rack Jimco) and the father and son pair of Nick and Ryan Harper in the Atlas Copco BAT.

In an ironic twist Hutchison and Bergmann and Moosajee/Moultson were involved in a massive accident in last year’s Darling event. The Motorite BAT they were campaigning at the time was totally destroyed, and the rest of the season was a nightmare with a lone victory interspersed by a string of non finishes.

For their part Moosajee and Moultson last year made only one more appearance after the Darling accident – in the final event of the season. They entered the RFS Magalies 400 but were among the non finishers.

For reigning champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald, in the Sullwald Racing BAT, there was a hugely disappointing end to the Darling event. After dominating the race they suffered a mechanical breakdown 10 kilometres from the finish and could only watch in frustration as Hutchison/Bergmann and company went by.

In both the overall and Class A standings the first three crews are followed by Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson (Regent Racing BAT) and brothers Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout in the Adenco BAT. The Bezuidenhout’s are the reigning Class P champions and got their 2009 campaign off to a strong start with a top five finish on the Adenco 400.

The Darling result also had another spin-off for the Bezuidenhout brothers who were the only Class P finishers. Highly rated crews like Don Thompson/Don Blakey (Zarco), Richard Schilling/Chris Davies (Cultura Aceco), David and Gary White (Ruwacon BAT) and John Weir-Smith/Richard Carolin (Men’s Health International Zarco) all fell by the wayside and the Bezuidenhout’s immediately enjoy a healthy cushion at the top of the championship log.

The Adenco 400 turned into something of a triumph for the Bezuidenhout family. Father Bes and son Deon, in another Adenco BAT, overcame a string of electrical problems to win Class B ahead of Simon Beckett and Steve Harris in the Century Racing BAT. Third were Derick du Toit and Ian Palmer, in the Orange Tree BAT, in a category which this year could be highly competitive.

The Absa series moves to the Eastern Cape for the next event on April 17, and 18. The Eastern Cape 400 will this year be based in the Jeffreys Bay and promises to be another tough outing.

2009/04/15 | 20:02 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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