The fourth and fifth rounds of this year’s South African Cross Country Championship were concluded around Bothaville in the Free State over the weekend, with the 4×4 Mega World events run from Nampo Park on Friday and Saturday respectively.
On Friday, competitors faced two laps of a 178 km loop in wet and windy conditions, Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy finished first in their Dakar prototype Gazoo Racing Toyota Hilux V6 Turbo.
Since the Dakar test vehicle Hilux could not score points, the official race winners were defending South African champions Henk Lategan/Brett Cummings (Gazoo Racing Toyota Hilux).
They were followed by Brian Baragwanath/Leonard Cremer (Century CR6), Gareth Woolridge/Boyd Dreyer (Ford Castrol Ranger), Chris Visser/Albertus Venter (Toyota Hilux) and Shameer Variawa/ Danie Stassen (Gazoo Racing Toyota Hilux).
Class T went to Wors Prinsloo/André Vermeulen (NWM Ford Ranger), leading home Bernard Johnstone/Jan Harm Hugo (NWM Ford Ranger) Christo Rose/Arno Olivier (NWM Ford Ranger), Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux), plus Baphumza Rubuluza/Fanifani Meyiwa (NWM Ford Ranger).
With the event taking place in pouring rain, the Special Vehicle contingent – running with two-wheel drive and no windscreens – came under the whip, and only four cars managed to reach the finish line.
Their victory was taken by Lance Trethewey/Adriaan Roets in their King Price Xtreme BAT Venom, leading home Boela Botes/Jay Pretorius (King Price Xtreme Porter), Bazil Bezuidenhout/Rikus Hattingh (Moto-Netix Can-Am Maverick) and brothers, Cecil and Elardus Larney in a similar Class G Side by Side Can-Am Maverick.
On Saturday, round five of the year’s title chase threw 360 km of hot, dusty and rocky conditions at competitors.
Again Giniel de Villliers/ Dennis Murphy set the quickest time over the route, but did not score points in their Dakar prototype Hulux. This time the official victory went to Lance Woolridge and Elvéne Vonk (Ford Castrol Ranger).
They finished ahead of Visser/Venter, Lategan/Cummings, Woolridge/Dreyer (Ford Castrol Ranger) and Ernest Roberts/ Henry Köhne (Century Racing CR6).
Malcolm and Frans Kock (NWM Ford Ranger) won Class T ahead of development teammates Rubuluza/Meyiwa (NWM Ford Ranger) and Rose/ Arno Olivier (NWM Ford Ranger).
Trethewey/ Roets in the King Price Xtreme BAT Venom stormed to another overall Special Vehicle on Saturday.
They were well clear of their King Price teammates, second-placed Botes/Pretorius (Porter), with the final podium place going to Geoff Minnitt/ Gerhard Snyman (Can-Am Maverick).
Keith and Andrew Makenete (BAT) were fourth, followed by rookie Class A campaigners Lood du Preez/Tiaan Swart (Farmers Meat Stryker).
With the championships now poised on a knife’s edge, the teams will take on the Vryburg 400 in the North West province on 29 and 30 October. This will be the penultimate event on the 2021 SACCS calendar.