|ABSA 2010: Repeat win for Taylor/Houghton on RFS Magalies 400 Rally.|
Lightning struck twice for Team Castrol Toyota crew Anthony Taylor and Robin Houghton when they won the Production Vehicle category on the RFS Magalies 400, the final event in this year’s South African Absa Off Road Championship, at Tarlton International Raceway.
Taylor and Houghton also won this event last year, and today’s win gave the Team Castrol Toyota squad their second victory of the season. It was also a great day for Free State crews with Louw de Bruin/Riaan Greyling (Ruwacon Ford Ranger) and George Barkhuizen/David van Wyck (AIM Toyota Hilux) who scored career best results to finish second and third respectively.
Any hopes of the overall and SP Class championships developing into count out situations were also laid to rest when champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst (RFS Toyota Hilux) and closest challengers Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege (RFS BMW X3) were among the list of non finishers.
A turbo sensor problem sidelined veterans Grobler and ter Stege on the first of two loops that made up the race. Visser/Badenhorst, after leading at the halfway mark, joined them as spectators on loop two with a broken radiator.
"It was a disappointing way to end the season, but we have had a wonderful year," said Visser. "For a privateer team to win this championship is a feather in the cap for the entire squad."
Donaldson Prologue to determine start positions for the race. Team-mates Duncan Vos and Rob Howie, who romped away with the prologue, were in trouble early on and limped through the first loop with power steering problems. The same problem hit Taylor and Houghton late in the race. They also picked up a misfire and a puncture, and in the end only had 44 seconds on de Bruin and Bezuidenhout.
De Bruin and Greyling started third and sixth in class respectively, and were rewarded for steady performances. De Bruyn and Greyling were in control of third place throughout the race, while Barkhuizen/van Wyck profited from the demise of Visser/Badenhorst and Grobler/ter Stege, who started ahead of them.
A brave drive took former SA champions Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer into fifth in the Team Ford Ranger TDCi. They lost a wheel on the prologue, started from the back of the field and had to hold off a determined challenge from Class D winners Deon Venter and Ian Palmer in the RFS/4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux.
The win also clinched the Class D championship for Venter and Palmer. They were the only Class D finishers with outgoing champions Dewald van Breda and Johann du Toit (Northam Toyota Hilux) and Cliff Weichelt/Johan Smalberger (N1 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser) falling by the wayside with mechanical gremlins.
Former champions Manfred Schroder and Ward Huxtable (Team Ford Ranger) took the Class E honours with Schroder standing in for injured teenager Lance Woolridge. The result gave Huxtable the co-drivers championship with the Ford Ranger to be retired after winning a fifth national title.
Woolridge missed out on the driver’s title when Pikkie Labuschagne and Rikus Erasmus (RFS 4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux) came home third behind the Ruwacon Ford Ranger of Gerald le Roux and Willem Pretorius. Provisional scoring gave Labuschagne the driver’s title, with Erasmus again missing the championship bus after the pair lost last year’s championship by a single point.
Next year’s Absa Off Road Champion will kick off with the Adenco 400 in the Western Cape at the end of March.
2010/11/22 | 14:36 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE