|ABSA 2012: Sun City 400 Victory for Kwazulu-Natal crew in Special Cars Cat.|
KwaZulu-Natal crew Lance Trethewey and Carl Wichmann scored a maiden national championship victory when they won the Special Vehicle category at the Sun City 400, round five of the South African "ABSA Off Road Championship", which ended last weekend.
Trethewey and Wichmann, in the LT Earthmovers BAT, were 57 seconds clear of Atlas Copco BAT crew Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson in a race run in hot and dusty conditions in the Pilanesberg. For Trethewey it completed a family double with his sister Marcelle winning the race in 2006 as co-driver to Brandon Harcus in a Motorite BAT.
"We had a few problems but managed to see out the distance," said Trethewey. "With a win on the recent Nangkang Drak 250 in the KZN regional championship and a great result here we have had a good run just recently."
Trethewey and Wichmann finished the first of the two 175 kilometre loops that made up the race without brakes. They were then hit by a puncture on lap two but, hampered by dust that made overtaking a risky business, van Staden and Lawrenson could only close to within a minute of the KZN crew.
It was, however, a good weekend for van Staden and Lawrenson with provisional scoring taking them into the overall lead in the Special Vehicle championship. Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT) arrived at Sun City with a four point championship lead, but could only manage fourth place behind Mark Corbett sand Julien Hardy in the Century Racing CR4.
For Corbett and Hardy, who designed the CR4, it was their best result of the season. For Hutchison and Stassen, however, it was a disappointing result.
The Motorite pair won the Donaldson Prologue on Friday, but got lost not long after the start of the race. They dropped way down the field and it took a determined effort to get them back into the top four.
There was also another good result for Bloemfontein-based Pieter Ruthven and Leander Pienaar in the Ruwacon BAT who followed up an impressive Toyota desert Race performance with a solid fifth. They edged out a second KZN crew in Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell (Gibson Racing Porter) by just 32 seconds.
Seventh overall and the win in Class P was a season best for the father and daughter team of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne in the Raysonics Zarco. They came in ahead of veteran Ernest Corbett who shared driving duties with Guy Henley, with Juan Mohr co-driving, in the Century Racing Jimco.
More fancied teams gradually fell by the wayside with Class P championship leaders Colin Matthews and Alan Smith the biggest casualties. They were pushing hard to make up time when they lost a wheel.
It was the Century Racing crew’s first retirement of the season, but they retain a healthy lead in the championship. Third place eventually went to John Telford and Jaco Swart in the Calcamite BAT.
The next round of the championship is the 4x4 Mega World 400 at Carnival City on August 31 and September 1.
2012/07/30 | 21:50 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE