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ABSA 2009: The Fairytale continues for Motorite pair in South Africa.

The fairytale continued for former South African champions Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann, in the Motorite Revo1 4x4, when they won the Special Vehicle category on the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 on Saturday.

For Hutchison and Bergmann it was their third win in three starts in this year’s championship. It was also the third win in a row for the 4x4 Revo1 designed and built by Bergmann - a result that makes a mockery of the old adage that new race cars always fall foul of teething problems.

With reigning champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald having another disastrous outing family honour was preserved when Herman and Wichard Sullwald, in a Sullwald Racing Zarco, came home in second place. After a steady run the Sullwald’s were over four minutes behind Hutchison and Bergmann.

The final place on the podium went to another father and son team in Nick and Ryan Harper in the Atlas Copco BAT. They also had a steady run in sweltering conditions on a tough route that took a heavy toll and crews and machinery. "That was hard work," said a dehydrated Hutchison who was not feeling well after the race. "We never had any problems but it was a typical Sugarbelt where you had to concentrate every inch of the way."

Hutchison and Bergmann started behind the Century Racing CR1 4x4 of Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer and the Century Racing BAT of Colin Matthews and Marc de Chalain. The two Century cars soon ran into mechanical problems on the first of two figure of eight loops that made up the race, and Hutchison and Bergmann moved into a lead they were never to relinquish.

The demise of the two Century Racing entries also moved the Sullwald’s up a couple of notches. They slotted into a comfortable second but never got close enough to Hutchison and Bergmann to apply any sort of pressure. The Harpers were also steadiness personified as they gradually moved through the field in what was another consistent performance from the pair. Fourth place went to local crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell, in the Gibson Racing BAT, who were just over a minute behind the Harpers.

The top five were rounded out by veterans Nardus Alberts and Geoff Minnitt in the Wrapsa BAT. A strong showing brought them home only 26 seconds behind Gibson and Campbell in a battle that raged throughout the race.

A drive shaft problem sidelined fancied crew Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau, in the Total Porter, with Kallie and Quintin Sullwald overcoming a string of problems to battle to sixth place in Class A. It was also an unhappy outing for Naeem Moosajee and Mohamed Moultson, in the Tyre Rack Jimco, who also started from the back of the field and were then hit with a 30 minute penalty that dropped them way down the pecking order.

A litany of problems also dropped Mike Whitehouse, who has finished 17 out of 18 events as a driver, and Mathew Carlson down the order. Their problems included a flat tyre, a lost wheel, getting stuck in a mud hole and a failed wheel bearing and a damaged CV joint.

Rob Spencer and Gareth Mumford, in a Zarco, took the Class B honours. The KZN pair were competing in their first national of the season and took full advantage of local knowledge. Second place went to Cape crew Derick du Toit and Ian Pienaar in the Orange Tree BAT. It was a good recovery from the pair who started from the back of the field after problems on the prologue to determine grid positions.

Class P honours went to reigning champions Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout in the Adenco BAT. A fine performance saw the Cape Town based brothers come in sixth overall in the Special Vehicle category.

Second were Johan van Staden and James Rossouw, in another good performance in the KEC BAT, who were 90 seconds behind the Bezuidenhout’s. But they had plenty in hand over local crew Don Thompson and Don Blakey with the KZN crew, in a Zarco, battling throughout the race with overheating problems.

Among the Class P casualties were Eastern Cape 400 winners Jan and Hendrik Kraaij, in the Keymax BAT, who damaged a gearbox beyond repair on the prologue. Suspension damage also sidelined Richard Schilling and Chris Davies in the Aceco.

2009/05/18 | 02:50 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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