After two rounds of the Donaldson Cross County Championship two privateer teams are giving factory crews a run for their money at the top of the Production Vehicle championship.
A second on the RFS 400 and a win on the recent Nkomazi 400 in Mpumalanga have given Ford Racing’s former South African champions, Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, an early 13 point advantage at the top of the Production Vehicle championship. Privateers Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau, in the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux, and Malcolm Kock/Johann Burger (Kock and Son Toyota Hilux) then come into the picture.
Second place on the Nkomazi 400 lifted Bertholdt, who was not well during the race and Rousseau into second place in the championship. The drive of the day came from Kock and Burger who scythed their way through from the back of the field to finish sixth, and join RFS 400 winners Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable, in the second factory Ford Ranger, in second place.
With Anthony Taylor/Dennis Murphy and reigning South African champions Duncan Vos and Rob Howie currently fourth and fifth in the championship standings, there will be worried frowns in the Team Castrol Toyota camp. Neither of the Team Castrol Toyota crews has managed to finish on the podium.
Toyota is better off in Class D where North West youngsters Jason Venter and Vincent van Allemann, in the Trysome Toyota Hilux, have picked up wins on the RFS 400 and Nkomazi 400. That gives them a narrow lead over former champions and reliability experts Jack and Sarel Oosthuizen in the LMC Land Rover.
There are also no prizes for who leads the Class E championship. Victory for Dirk Putter and Koos Claasens in a Ford Ranger in Mpumalanga was their ninth in 10 outings – with a second place thrown in for good measure.
Putter and Claasens dominated last year in a Toyota Hilux. The switch to a Ford Ranger with a formidable Class E record in cross country racing does not appear to have changed matters in any way.
Round three of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship on May 17 and 18 returns to the Eston area, near Pietermaritzburg, for the Toyota Dealer Sugarbelt 400.
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