The 2021 South African Cross Country championship was concluded in style around Parys on Saturday, with searing heat and a tight, rough route testing cars and crews to the utmost.
The race was also special due to the presence of Toyota Gazoo Racing South Afric’s two international Hilux bakkies, using the event for Giniel de Villiers/Dennis Murphy and world champions Nasser Al-Attiya/Mathieu Baumel to test the vehicles in preparation for next year’s Dakar Rally.
After leading most of the way through two laps of a 175 km loop, Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings (Toyota Gazoo Racing Hilux) won the race overall. In the process they earned their third successive overall Production Vehicle Category Championship title, plus this year’s FIA Class Championship title.
Second in the race, just more than four minutes adrift, were Lance Woolridge/Elvéne Vonk (Ford Castrol Ranger). They led home Shameer Variawa/Danie Stassen (Toyota Gazoo Racing Hilux) and Jason Venter/Jaco van Aardt (4×4 Mega World Toyota Hilux).
Fifth, just 41 seconds adrift, were 2021 Special Vehicle champions Lance Trethewey/Adriaan Roets, who made their Production Vehicle debut in their King Price Xtreme Century Racing CR6.
Behind them came Eben Basson/Gerhard Schutte (Red-Lined Nissan Navara), Johan/Sean van Staden (Moto-Netix KEC Renault Duster), Conrad Rautenbach/Riaan Greyling (Red-Lined REVO), Philip Botha/Roelof Janse van Vuuren (Nissan Navara) plus Dubai visitor Thomas Bell and KZN businessman, Wade Harris in their Red-Lined Nissan Navara.
Neil Woolridge Ford Ranger teams claimed the top two steps of the Class T podium. Wors Prinsloo/André Vermeulen, secured their second victory of the season, followed by team-mates Christo Rose/Arno Olivier.
Rounding out the podium were Dylan Venter/Vince van Allemann (4×4 Mega World Toyota Hilux), chased to the finish line by the Neil Woolridge Development Team, Baphumza Rubuluza/Fanifani Meyiwa,
The Special Vehicle win went to Boela Botes/Jay Pretorius (King Price Xtreme Porter), leading home Lood du Preez/ Tiaan Swart (Farmers Market Stryker), Jaco Jonck (Moto-Netix KEC Racing BAT) and John Thomson/Maurice Zermatten (Mormond Zarco Challenger).
Peter Walter/ Shaun de Villiers won the Class G Side-by-Side class with their Can-Am Maverick, while Keith and Andrew Makenete (BAT) took the Class P victory and with that the 2021 title.
Top see the season’s full results and standings, click here.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing Dakar team left for Upington directly after the race. They are set to continue testing and developing their Dakar Rally vehicles there before packing up and heading off to Saudi Arabia next week.