|ABSA 2010: Dream Victory for Visser/Badenhorst on Adenco 400 Rally.|
Nice guys do win and Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst proved it at the Adenco 400, round one of the South African Absa Off Road Championship, which ended on Saturday. Visser and Badenhorst, in the RFS/Visser Transport Toyota Hilux, capped a stunning weekend with a maiden Production Vehicle national championship victory. The pair, who also took the premier Class SP honours, dominated the weekend by winning the Donaldson Prologue to determine start positions before romping away with the race in sweltering conditions.
"It was a perfect race," said a delighted Visser, hugging his small daughter at the finish. "The car was perfect, Japie did a great job and all we had to do on the last loop was avoid mistakes. The route was rough and dusty but this is a great way to start the season, and hopefully we can keep the momentum going."
Visser and Badenhorst came in just over six minutes ahead of Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen who produced another workmanlike performance in the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux. Toyota privateers completed a clean sweep of the podium positions when former SA champion Hannes Grobler, having his first outing in an RFS Toyota Hilux after driving various Nissan products for 33 years, and Hennie ter Stege came in third.
A late charge by former Eastern Transvaal rugby star Ramon Bezuidenhout and wife Maret (Red Star Raceway Toyota Hilux) failed to take them ahead of the hugely experienced Grobler and ter Stege. It was, however, a great performance from the Bezuidenhout’s who were having their first SP Class outing.
A Toyota clean sweep of the top five was then nipped in the bud by the Regent Racing Nissan Navara in the hands of Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson. In their first Production Car outing the brothers in law edged out Christiaan du Plooy and Henk Jansen van Vuuren in a second RFS Toyota Hilux.
For the Team Castrol Toyota squad under new team principal Glyn Hall, it was not an auspicious start to the season. Both factory cars, crewed by South African champion Duncan Vos and Rob Howie and Anthony Taylor and Robin Houghton, failed to complete the first of two loops that made up the race.
It was a particularly unhappy outing for Vos and Howie. After the Donaldson Prologue they were penalised 15 minutes for a faulty warning light and, like Taylor and Houghton, went out with suspension problems.
Reigning champions Dewald van Breda and Johann du Toit, in the Northam Toyota D4D, were the only finishers in Class D. A clutch repair job after the prologue was their only hiccup.
Class E also saw only one crew see out the distance with newcomers Gerald le Roux and Willem Pretorius bringing home the Ruwacon Ford Ranger in one piece. Pikkie Labuschagne and Rickus Erasmus (4x4 Megaworld Toyota Hilux) and local crew Etienne Bezuidenhout and Hanro Visser (Adenco Ford Ranger) were early casualties.
2010/03/21 | 22:21 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE