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ABSA 2009: Special Vehicle pride at stake on Toyota Dealer 400.

Pride will be the major commodity at stake in the Special Vehicle category on the Toyota Dealer 400, the penultimate round of the South African Absa Off Road Championship, in Lydenburg on October 2 and 3. With four wins out of six starts Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann, in the Motorite Revo1 4x4, have already clinched their second South African championship. Hutchison and Bergmann have been in the championship driving seat throughout the season, and will now be running on the racers instinct and pride.

Gerhard du Plessis and Ferdi Seegers (Jimco), surprise winners of the recent Highveld 400 at Carnival City, will again be in action. This provides a new dimension to the Special Vehicle category although the focus will still be on the battle for minor places in the championship.

Only five points separate former champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau, in the Total Motorsport Porter, and the father and son pair of Nick and Ryan Harper in the Atlas Copco BAT. Contrasting approaches make for an interesting contest between the two crews, but there are a string of other teams who could steal the limelight.

The Century Racing teams of Mark Corbett/Rudi Balzer (Century Racing CR1) and Colin Matthews/Alan Smith, in the Century Racing BAT, are overall win contenders. However, the problem for both crews is reliability with the 4x4 CR1 having yet to finish a race in two seasons.

Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson (Regent Racing BAT) are fourth in the championship and are also threatening a maiden win. Naeem Moosajee and Mohamed Moultson, in the Tyre Rack Jimco, along with Hutchison/Bergmann and Whitehouse/Carlson, the only Class A crews with 100 percent finish records, will also fancy their chances of a podium place.

Reigning champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald will miss the final two races but Herman and Wichard can not be ruled out. It has been a tough season for the two Sullwald Racing entries. But champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald (BAT) and Herman and Wichard Sullwald (Zarco) cannot be ruled out of contention.

Kwa-Zulu Natal crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell, in the new Gibson Racing SVR, are also due a good result. It all adds up to an interesting Class A fight with everyone out to prove a point where Hutchison and Bergmann are concerned.

Four wins in a row have taken Cape crew Derrick du Toit and Ian Pienaar (Orange Tree BAT) to the top of the Class B standings where they have a handy lead. Du Toit will be partnered by Steve Harris, with the pair early favourites, while consistency rather than sheer pace take brothers Keith and Andrew Makenete (Zarco) into second place in the championship. Simon Beckett (Century Racing BAT) now partnered by Tim Curtis has shown encouraging form of late.

Reigning Class P champions, Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout run into recent problems in the Adenco BAT and three non finishes has seen them relinquish the Class P championship lead to another set of brothers, David and Gary White, in the Ruwacon BAT. While the Bezuidenhout’s need to bounce back the White brothers need to keep the momentum going. Class P, however, is ultra competitive with a number of potential winners.

KZN flyer Don Thompson and new co-driver Hjalmar van Gessellen are settling down in the Zarco, Jan and Hendrik Kraaij (Keymax BAT) have huge experience and Johan van Staden and James Rossouw (KEC BAT) have shown impressive pace. Archie Rutherford and Craig Doubtfire (Regent Racing Jimco) have also impressed since their return to racing and will be eyeing a podium finish.

Veteran Bodo Bertholdt and Philip Herselman (Atlas Copco BAT) and former champions Richard Schilling and Chris Davies (Aceco) also come into the picture. All in all Class P has the makings of an interesting battle.

2009/09/28 | 10:47 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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