Motorite Racing champions ready for new off road challenge in Mpumalanga
The Motorite Racing team of Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen and the father-and-son combination of Nick and Ryan Harper will be looking to build on their good start to the season in the recent RFS Magalies 400 in North West Province when they line up their BAT Venom special vehicles for the Nkomazi 400 in Mpumalanga on Saturday (April 13).
Hutchison and Stassen showed why they’re the reigning Donaldson SA Cross Country champions with a come-from-behind drive to finish second in the season opener and are just six points behind current log leaders Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell in a Porter. Thanks to a five-minute delay when they were beached on a sand bank in the prologue, they started in 18th place, but Hutchison produced one of his trademark never-say-die drives to keep the champions on track for another title.
The Harpers, competing in their first full season in the mighty BAT Venom, overcame a misfire in the big Chev V8 engine to finish a satisfying fifth overall under tricky, dusty conditions and are just eight points behind their team-mates.
“We’re really looking forward to this weekend’s race,” said Hutchison. ”It’s a new event on the cross country calendar and we’ll be breaking new ground. We were more than satisfied with the BAT’s performance in the opening round and we’re confident we can challenge for a win. What’s important in these opening rounds is to deliver consistently good performances and rack up the championship points.”
Nick Harper shares his team-mate’s optimism. “We traced the fault that caused the misfire and it shouldn’t happen again, so we’ll be aiming for a much better result this time round. The BAT Venom is an awesome machine and from what we’ve heard of this weekend’s race route, we should be able to give it full rein.”
“Once again, Friday’s prologue will be key,” added Hutchison. “With the special vehicles competing alongside the production vehicles, although in separate championships, it’s essential to get a good start position for Saturday’s race and not have to fight your way through the field and their dust as we did in the Magalies 400.”
The Nkomazi 400 will be based in Malelane, close to the southern boundary of the Kruger National Park in the Mpumalanga Lowveld. The prologue will start at 12:30 on Friday and the race at 08:30 on Saturday with a route made up of two loops of 170 kilometres each split by the traditional 15-minute mandatory service stop in Malelane.
Motorite Racing is the motor sport division of Motorite Administrators, the largest independent mechanical breakdown insurance and full maintenance plan service provider and administrator in South Africa.