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









ABSA 2009: Motorite pair look for fourth win at Toyota Desert Race.





Runaway Special Vehicle championship leaders Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann will be under fire from all angles at the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana, round four of the Absa Off Road Championship, from June 19 to 21.

Former SA champions Hutchison and Bergmann have won all three rounds so far this season in the new Motorite Revo1 4x4. It has been a fairytale start for the pair who last year managed only a solitary win and were never a serious factor in the championship.

In the Botswana race Hutchison/Bergmann and the Revo1 face their stiffest test so far. While all wheel drive will be an advantage in the sandy conditions on a route that takes in some remote places in the Kalahari, a string of quality teams is lining up to hunt down the former champions.

Reigning champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald (Sullwald Racing BAT) have not had a happy time of it so far this season. They won the event in 2007 and will be hoping to use this year’s race to kick start their rehabilitation.

The Sullwald’s will fancy their chances as will last year’s winners Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau (Total Porter) and the father and son combination of Nick and Ryan Harper, in the Atlas Copco BAT, who are also former winners. A contrast between the two crews, with Variawa/Rousseau chargers as against a more measured approach by the Harpers, also conjures up possibilities.

Colin Matthews also falls within the charger category and will be partnered by Allan Smith in the Century Racing BAT. There is no doubting Matthews when it comes to pace, but that is not enough on a marathon event like this one.

On the Toyota 1000 Desert Race softly, softly is more likely to catchee monkey and Clint Gibson/Gary Campbell (Gibson Racing BAT), veterans Nardus Alberts and Geoff Minnitt (Wrapsa BAT) and Herman and Wichard Sullwald, in the Sullwald Racing Zarco, have the credentials to outlast the opposition over three tough days. If it comes down to choosing a danger crew the smart money might well opt for Gibson and Campbell.

Limpopo crew Naeem Moosajee and Mohammad Moultson (Tyre Rack Jimco) have had two disappointing outings in a row but also come into the reckoning. They could also find conditions to their liking and join the list of teams who will reckon they have a good chance of winning.

In stark contrast to the success of the Revo1, the Century Racing CR1 4x4 in the hands of Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer has yet to finish an event. The sawed off looking CR1 showed more than a glimpse of potential by taking the prologue win on the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, but reliability remains a headache for the team.

Picking a potential winner in Class B is a difficult exercise. The class has been plagued by inconsistency so far this season, and one cannot fall back on solid results. The two frontrunners are likely to be championship leaders Bes Bezuidenhout and son Deon, in the Adenco BAT, and Derrick du Toit and Ian Pienaar in the Orange Tree BAT. Only a handful of points separate the two Cape crews and theirs could be an interesting battle with the odds tipped slightly in favour of the Bezuidenhout’s who won the opening event of the year.

John Telford and Stuart van Graan (Zarco) could provide some stiff opposition as could the Makenete brothers, Keith and Andrew, in another Zarco. The Makenete’s have shown a great deal of character this season and that trait will be tested to the full in Botswana.

The Class P battle also holds tremendous possibilities. Here there are four of five crews all capable of winning and Lady Luck could hold the key to the final outcome. Championship leaders Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) have good credentials. They have two wins behind them this season and have a decided edge when it comes to confidence.

Their biggest danger is likely to come from KwaZulu-Natal driver Don Thompson who with Don Blakey unavailable is still looking for a co-driver. Thompson is fast and reliability will come into play.

New kids on the block Johan van Staden and James Rossouw, in the KEC BAT, have made an impressive start to their national career. The Northern Regions champions lack a little experience but could ruffle a few feathers.

David and Gary White, in the Ruwacon BAT, also come into the equation. They have not had a great start to the season, but they have the potential to win a class that also includes dangerous opposition in the likes of former champions Richard Schilling/Chris Davies (Aceco) and John Weir-Smith/Richard Carolin in the Men’s Health Zarco.

Down the years the Toyota 1000 Desert Race has produced some dramatic finales. This is a race often won or lost in the last 100 kilometres, and is likely to develop into a war of attrition.

2009/06/15 | 10:17 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune






















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