|ABSA 2010: Special Vehicle Championship goes to the wire in ABSA Series.|
Former champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald last Saturday set up a nail biting finish to the Special Vehicle category championship when they won the Human Auto 400, the penultimate round of the South African Absa Off Road Championship, which ended Saturday.
A violent windstorm and equally violent thunderstorm caused chaos at the finish area and in the pits. It set the seal on a dramatic race with shifting sands setting up a result that will see the championship go all the way to the wire at next month’s RFS Magalies 400.
The Sullwald’s (Elegant Fuel BAT), national champions in 2007, finished around three minutes ahead of championship leaders Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau (Team Total Porter) to narrow the gap between the two teams to six points. It opens up all sorts of permutations at the final event, with the championship up for grabs.
The Sullwald’s started fourth on the road and Variawa/Rousseau eighth after the Donaldson Prologue on Friday. A gearbox problem put prologue winners Bevan Bertholdt and Danie Stassen (lab88 BAT) and second placed Colin Matthews and Alan Smith (Century Racing BAT), who were carrying a 15-minute penalty, out of action on the first of two loops that made up the race.
Evan Hutchison/Darryl Curtis (Motorite Revo1 4x4) were also casualties, and the second half of the race developed into a family scrap between Kallie and Quintin Sullwald and Herman and Wichard Sullwald in the Sullwald Racing SVR. The battle between brothers and cousins ended when Herman and Wichard hit a culvert, which reduced the SVR to three wheels.
The carnage saw Variawa and Rousseau and Class P championship leaders Johan van Staden and James Rossouw, in the Atlas Copco BAT, work their way into podium finishes. It was another sterling performance from van Staden and Rossouw who earlier this season made history by becoming the first Class P crew to win a national event overall.
Another workmanlike drive took Nardus and Louis Alberts (Wrapsa BAT) into fourth overall and third in Class A behind the Sullwald’s and Variawa/Rousseau. Behind them there was a superb performance from the husband and wife team of Marius and Jolinda Fourie, in a BAT, with the Northern Regions championship graduates cracking a top five finish and second in Class P.
Newcomers Neil Meyer and Leon Muller (Zarco Magnum) continued their recent good form with a solid seventh place. They were sandwiched between two other Class P crews in Archie Rutherford/Mike Lawrenson (Regent Racing Jimco) and Mark Corbett/Rudi Balzer in the Century Racing CR2. The Century Racing team overstayed their welcome in the pits at the end of the first loop, and after the race Corbett sportingly pointed out a scoring error that dropped them from second to fourth in Class P.
The battle of the veteran drivers in Class B went to Bes Bezuidenhout and daughter-in-law Lindie in the Adenco BAT. The Cape Town-based pair outlasted Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race winners Coetzee Labuscagne and daughter Sandra in the Raysonics Zarco, with around eight minutes separating the two crews.
The two Class B cars rounded out the top 10 with the result virtually wrapping up the championship for the Bezuidenhout’s.
2010/10/26 | 08:29 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS/FORTUNE