SPECIAL VEHICLE CATEGORY WIDE OPEN ON RFS 400
Picking a winner in the Special Vehicle category on the RFS 400, opening round of The Donaldson Cross Country Championship in the Magaliesburg area on March 1 and 2 is a risky business.
Included in the field are three South African champion crews – including the current champions in Motorite pair Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen. On top of that 10 drivers in the field have overall race wins to their names while eight crews have scored victories in the premier Class A category.
Colin Matthews and Alan Smith (Century Racing CR3) are among the Class P crews that have overall wins to their names and will again be among the frontrunners this season. One would expect, however, the bulk of the winners this season to come from the Class A brigade led by Hutchison/Stassen and Motorite BAT Venom team-mates Nick and Ryan Harper.
Consistency is a forte for both Motorite crews and one suspects they won’t be out of the championship reckoning at the end of the season. Also out in a BAT Venom will be Quintin and Kallie Sullwald with Elegant Fuel team-mates Hermann and Wichard Sullwald out in a Porter.
Both Sullwald crews are former SA champions and with a year under his belt as a driver Quintin Sullwald could come into his own. For their part the other Sullwald team will be keen to put behind them an indifferent 2012 season.
The husband and wife team of Marius and Yolinda Fourie (PHB BAT) will also be looking for more consistency as will veteran Nardus Alberts and son Louis in the Wrapsa BAT. Last year’s Sun City 400 winners, Lance Trethewey and Carl Wichmann (LTE BAT) make one of their sporadic national performances and cannot be ruled out of the equation.
Trethewey and Wichmann lead a strong KZN challenge that includes Clint Gibson/Gary Campbell (Dirt Sport Components Porter), Glenn Campbell/Clint Brook (Dirt Sport Components BAT) and Daniel Brookes and Gavan Gray in the Ducatis Property BAT. Gibson/Campbell are always a threat and Brookes and Gray started to show some form toward the end of last season.
Pieter Ruthven/Leander Pienaar (Ruwacon BAT) also showed flashes of form last season and Keith du Toit and Luke Botha (White Star Racing) have a Class A win under their belts. Brett and Steve Parker are reunited in the Sizanani Plastics Jimco while colourful Jimmy Zahos and Stefan Coetzee return to action in the Cobalt Porter.
Botswana driver Mogrey Mabille showed a deal of promise last season and again links up with Zelda Niemandt in a Zarco. Brother Daniel and Louw Zeelie will again campaign the Orangeworks Porter and Congo brothers Eduardo and Riccardo Argazzi add an international flavour to proceedings.
Class P proceedings should again be dominated by Matthews and Smith but there is plenty of quality and quantity in the field. The father/daughter combination of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne will again be out in the Raysonics Zarco, and brothers-in-law Jeremy Wood and Chris Davies will be out in the K9 Racing Aceco.
Nic Goslar and Andrew Massey (Men’s Health International Zarco) and John Telford/Jaco Swart (Calcamite BAT) again team up while Keith Makenete has a new co-driver in Peter Hlhutwa in a Zarco. The surprise package could, however, come from the Benoni father and son combination of Tony and Michael Gouveia (Gearbox Service BAT), who completely dominated the Special Vehicle category in last year’s Northern Region championship.
Race headquarters and the designated service area will all be located at Tarlton International Raceway with free public access to these areas and spectator points along the route. The March 1 prologue to determine grid positions will start at 12:30 and the race on March 2 at 08:30.