Tarlton, Friday – There were a number of surprises today on the Special Vehicle prologue for tomorrow’s RFS 400, opening round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, in the Magaliesburg.
After knocking on the door for some time KwaZulu-Natal pair Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell, in the Gibson Racing Porter, scored their first prologue victory. The KZN crew were 18 seconds clear of former champions Hermann and Wichard Sullwald in an impressive display by their new Elegant Fuel Cobalt Striker.
The car was only finished four hours before that start of the prologue and performed faultlessly. It was behind the Sullwald’s that things went a little awry.
They finished 37 seconds ahead of brothers Daniel and Louw Zeelie (Maxxis Tyres Racing) who turned in their best performance ever in a Porter with Ernest Corbett, who is in his 60s, just missing out on a podium spot with Stephen Engelbrecht with the pair the first Class P car home in the Century Racing CR2.
Corbett and Engelbrecht were only three seconds ahead of the father and son team of Nick and Ryan Harper (Motorite BAT Venom) who had an eight second cushion over Republic of Congo brothers Eduardo and Ricardo Argazzi in a BAT. They, in turn, were only six seconds ahead of KwaZulu-Natal pair Daniel Brookes and Gavan Gray in the Ducatis Property BAT.
There was another surprise when newcomers Philip de Vries and Johan Viljoen came home eighth in a Porter. They had only seven seconds to spare over Botswana driver Mogrey Mabille and Zelda Niemandt in a Zarco Lite.
In one of the biggest surprises Class P favourites Colin Matthews and Alan Smith were down in 10th place and second in Class P in the Century Racing CR3. The reigning champions were around a minute clear of Keith Makenete and new co-driver Peter Hlutwa who came up with a workmanlike performance.
The biggest casualties of the day were reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen in the Motorite BAT Venom. They got stuck less than a kilometre from the finish and trailed in 15th after spirited duels with the Sullwalds, Marius and Jolinda Fourie (PHB BAT) and Matthews and Smith.
Race headquarters and the designated service area are both located at Tarlton International Raceway, and entry to these areas is free. The race starts at 8.3am and there is also free public entry to spectator points along the route.