|Donaldson CC: Special Vehicle Category Championship still wide open.|
With a logjam at the top of the Special Vehicle points table, the "Atlas Copco Gold 400" in Westonaria on November 22 and 23 is poised to provide an explosive finish to the South African "Donaldson Cross Country Championship".
Going into the race there are four crews still in championship contention. And, just to make it more interesting, there is a fifth contender in the chase for the overall driver’s title.
Victory on the recent Ford Dealer 400 in Thaba ‘Nchu, with title challengers falling by the wayside for the second race in a row, has taken reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT Viper) to the top of the standings. They have a precious 12.5 cushion over KwaZulu-Natal crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell (Dirt Sport Components Porter) with former champions Hermann and Wichard Sullwald (Elegant Fuel Stryker) another three points adrift.
Philip de Vries and Johan Viljoen (Conqueror Porter) are 22.5 points behind the leaders but with 25 points available for a win could also sneak in via the back door. And, sandwiched between Hermann Sullwald and de Vries in the driver stakes, is Class P flyer Colin Matthews (Century Racing CR3) who has two overall race wins to his credit this season with different co-drivers.
Hutchison/Stassen and Matthews – with Alan Smith and Rodney Burke – are the only double winners this season. The other wins have gone to Gibson/Campbell and Hermann/Wichard Sullwald and Quintin/Kallie Sullwald, and patchy recent form among the title challengers makes a risky business of trying to predict race winners.
Matthews is also in contention in the Class P driver championship but has his back against the wall. He trails championship leader John Thomson, partnered by Maurice Zermatten in a Zarco, by 17.5 points and will have to pull something special out of the bag.
A win in the Chem Systems Zarco on the Ford Dealer 400 has lifted Coetzee Labuscagne into third in the driver stakes behind Thomson and Matthews. Labuscagne’s daughter, Sandra, takes over second place in the co-driver championship ahead of Lesotho veteran Ashley Thorn.
The Atlas Copco Gold 400 will again be based at the Kloof Country Club in Glenharvie. The qualifying race will start at 12:00 on November 22 and the race at 08:30 the following day.
2013/10/25 | 14:05 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FORTUNE