Sugarbelt 400 proves especially tough for special vehicle competitors

Dust, narrow roads and high speeds through sugar cane fields. Hair-raising in a bakkie. But in these smaller, lighter side-by-side type vehicles, it is even more so.  

With a history spanning more than three decades and many superb events, this 2023 Sugarbelt 400 event was one for the history books.

The qualifying race on Friday March 12 was shortened to just 20km, followed by two 160km loops on Saturday.

Trace Price Moor, who missed the season opener, and navigator Gareth Aiston (BAT Venom) started the main race in second place. But they were intent on winning and did. Despite a 40-minute penalty, the team took their first category and Class A victory with a total time of 06:09:38.

Current champions Tim Howes/Gary Campbell finished two minutes and 11 seconds behind them. They were hampered by a faulty clutch and a broken rear shock absorber.

The podium was rounded off by Eugene Bierman/Pieter Visser (BAT Spec 2), who finished in a time of 06:20:34.

Price Moor and Aiston.
Trace Price Moor and Gareth Aiston.

Class G also boasted new winners – Ewald van Rensburg/Johan Scheepers (Can-Am Maverick) finished in 06:33:42.

Youngster Ian Mostert has his own story to tell. With his dad Werner as navigator in their Moto-Netix Racing Can-Am Maverick and starting last, they fought their way to third position in the Class and thus kept their overall lead in the class.

In their first event of the season, Gqeberha-based Grant Watkins/Mark Irvine brought their Zarco home, winning Class P and finishing ninth in the special vehicle category.

Next up is the Toyota Gazoo Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race on June 23 to 25.

Source: SARRC

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