Champions take over Special Vehicle Championship lead
The recent Toyota Dealer Sugarbelt 400 in KwaZulu-Natal, round three of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, produced the first major change in this season’s Special Vehicle championship title chase.
Victory for reigning champions Evan Hutchison in the Motorite BAT Viper took the pair into the championship lead ahead of KZN crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell in the Dirt Sport Components Porter. Gibson and Campbell were fifth on home territory and now trail Hutchison and Stassen, who gave the new BAT Viper a win first time out, by six points.
A second successive podium finish lifted former champions Quintin and Kallie Sullwald, in the Elegant Fuel BAT Venom, into third place in the championship. The younger Sullwald is in his second season in the driver seat and the father and son pair now appear to be ready to start challenging for victories.
The Sullwalds now have a four point lead over another father and son combination in Nick and Ryan Harper in the Motorite BAT Venom. Third place on the Toyota Dealer Sugarbelt 400 saw the Harpers score their best result of the season.
Despite a non finish in KZN the Century Racing pair of Colin Matthews and Alan Smith, campaigning in Class P, hold onto fifth place in the overall championship. The winners of the Nkomazi 400, in Mpumalanga, dropped out of the KZN event with steering problems.
The top four in the Class A championship remain the same with Hutchison/Stassen leading Gibson/Campbell, the Sullwalds and the Harpers. Former champions Hermann and Wichard Sullwald (Elegant Fuel Stryker) move into fifth place ahead of KZN crew Daniel Brookes and Gavan Gray (Ducatis Property BAT) who are also starting to pose a threat to more fancied teams.
In Class P the Matthews/Smith combination retain a four point lead over John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten (Zarco) with both crews non finishers in KZN. The class win went to the father/daughter combination of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne, in the Raysonics Zarco, who jump into third place in the championship.
The next event on the calendar, the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race on June 21, 22 and 23 is the only marathon event in the Donaldson Cross Country Championship and carries points and a half. It sets up a situation where there could be dramatic moves up and down the various championship categories.