Motoring Correspondent
3 minute read
26 Jun 2021
9:52 am

Biker turned driver Baragwanath surprise winner of Desert race

Motoring Correspondent

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Desert Race took place in South Africa and not in Botswana.

Brian Baragwanath and navigator Leonard Cremer took overall victory in last weekend's TGRSA 1000 Desert Race. Picture: Nadia Jordaan.

Brian Baragwanath and navigator Leonard Cremer made history last weekend when they won the inaugural Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa 1000 Desert Race through the Northern Cape with their Century Racing CR6.

The event, round three of the 2021 South African Cross Country Series and is the only marathon event on the calendar, started last Friday with the 105 km Pirelli Qualifying Race that determined the starting order for the racing section on Saturday with the combined results of the first two days used for the positioning on Sunday.

A total of 43 teams started, and had to complete a northern loop twice on Saturday and a different loop towards the south of Upington twice on Sunday.

Toyota 1000 Desert Race

Defending champions Henk Lategan/Brett Cummings debuted the Gazoo Toyota team’s all new petrol-powered 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 Hilux to good effect, by finishing second overall. Picture: Nadia Jordaan.

After three tough days of racing, Baragwanath and Cremer brought their two-wheel drive Century CR6 home in a total time of 11 hours 27 minutes and 30 seconds to win the Production Vehicle Category, plus the FIA Class.

Defending champions Henk Lategan/Brett Cummings debuted the Gazoo Toyota team’s all new petrol-powered 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 Hilux to good effect. They finished second overall, despite having to complete the final day with three-wheel drive due to a broken sideshaft.

The overall Production Vehicle Category and FIA Class podium were rounded off by Lance Woolridge/Elvéne Vonk (Ford Castrol Cross Country Ranger). They were followed by Chris Visser/Albertus Venter (Toyota Hilux) , Giniel de Villiers/Dennis Murphy (TGRSA Hilux), Shameer Variawa/Danie Stassen (TGRSA Hilux), and Conrad Rautenbach/Riaan Greyling (Red-Lined Motorsport Nissan Navara).

Toyota 1000 Desert Race

Lance Trethewey and Adriaan Roets took their Schalk Burger Motorsport BAT to the overall Special Vehicle victory. Picture: Nadia Jordaan.

Multiple National Rally champions, Guy  Botterill/Simon Vacy-Lyle, brought the fourth TGRSA Hilux home in eighth place overall. Eben Basson/ Gerhard Schutte (Red-Lined Motorsport Nissan Navara) finished ninth overall and won the Road the Dakar free entry to next year’s Dakar Rally.

The Class T championship was turned on its head on the third and final day of the race when three Ford Ranger teams under the Neil Woolridge Motorsport umbrella claimed the podium. Malcolm Kock and his son, Frans won, ahead of their teammates, Bernard Johnstone/Jan Harm Hugo and Wors Prinsloo/André Vermeulen.

Both the Class S teams finished the TGRSA 1 000 Desert Race with Jannie Visser and his son, Chris winning the class with their Toyota Hilux, ahead of the similar vehicle of Piet and Benjamin Kotze,

Toyota 1000 Desert Race

The Larney brothers, Cecil and Elardus (CanAm SxS) took the Class G Side by Side victory. Picture: Nadia Jordaan.

Former champions, Lance Trethewey and Adriaan Roets took their Schalk Burger Motorsport BAT to the overall Special Vehicle victory, ahead of Clint Gibson/Alaric Smith (Dirt Sport Stryker) John Thomson/Maurice Zermatten (Zarco) finished third, followed by the Larney brothers, Cecil and Elardus (CanAm SxS), Dean Bradbury/Timmy Botes CabAm SxS), plus siblings  Kent and Justin Rutherford (Enza Construction CanAm).

Both teams in Class P finished the race with Daniel Retief and Pieter Karsten (CR-T) winning, while local Upington businessman, Willem du Toit and Victor Fincham (CR-T) made the home crowd proud by finishing second despite mechanical challenges.