Defending special vehicle champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen and Motorite Racing team-mates Nick and Ryan Harper will be among the favourites for victory in the opening round of the Donaldson South African Cross Country Championship in Gauteng on March 1 and 2.
The Motorite Racing team returns with the championship-winning class A BAT Venom that took Hutchison and Stassen to victory in last year’s Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana and the season-ending Gold 400 in Gauteng.
“We’re very excited about the new season,” said team manager Hutchison. “The off road championship has a new sponsor and a new title that brings South Africa in line with the international sport that includes iconic events like the Dakar Rally. Cross country racing is arguably the most successful form of motor racing in South Africa today. It has the strongest organising body, substantial and respected sponsors and is very well promoted.
“This will be Motorite Racing’s ninth season in cross country racing and in this time we have won five championships (one class B and four class A and overall titles). We have seen the championship grow and become increasingly more professional and popular with both competitors and the public. We’re proud to be a part of it and to have made a contribution during the past eight years.
“As always, we will be aiming to win the championship and wearing the #1 plate again will be added motivation for Danie and I,” said Hutchison.
Kyalami-based Motorite Racing made its debut in 2005 with a class B BAT and has gone on to establish itself as one of the most professional and successful teams. Its recipe for success has been excellent preparation, skilled drivers and co-drivers and the best racing machines available. The team also enjoys the unique distinction of having won its five national championships in each of the first years of five different racing cars specifically commissioned by the team.
Ominously for the opposition, a brand new 2013 version of the Venom is nearing completion in the team’s Kyalami workshops and should be ready for the second round of the championship, the all-new Nkomazi 400 in the Mpumalanga Lowveld on April 12 and 13.
The team’s current BAT Venom made its debut last season. The two-wheel drive special employs the very latest in engine, gearbox and Fox shock absorber technology with a super lightweight frame, body and construction. It is powered by a 7-litre (427 cubic inch) Chevrolet LS7 V8 engine, has an Albins six-speed custom-built sequential gearbox and its tubular space frame chassis is clothed in a unique Dakar Rally-type body.
The experienced father and son combination of Nick and Ryan Harper start their third year with the team and their first full season with the Motorite BAT Venom. Last year they came sixth in the special vehicle championship after campaigning successfully in a BAT Spec 4.
The Harpers are the owners of the BAT brand and Motorite Racing is contracted to build these internationally renowned South African cross country racers that have been winning all over the world since 2002. They are credited with more South African championships than any other vehicle.
The RFS Magalies 400 will be based at the Tarlton International Raceway near Krugersdorp with the route taking competitors through the Magaliesburg area.
Thanks to the support of landowners about 60 percent of the 400-kilometre route runs through virgin territory. A 55-kilometre prologue to determine the start order for the race will get the new season underway at 12:30 on March 1.
The race will start at 08:30 on March 2 and will consist of two loops of 160 kilometres with a compulsory 15 minute halt at the designated service area at Tarlton International Raceway at the end of the first lap.
Motorite Racing is the motor sport division of Motorite Insurance Administrators, the largest independent mechanical breakdown insurance and full maintenance plan service provider and administrator in South Africa.