document : Close Contests In Production Vehicle Championship

Close Contests In Production Vehicle Championship
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media) 06 December 2014

359051 Close Contests In Production Vehicle Championship

Close contests characterised the overall and class championships in the Production Vehicle category in this year’s Donaldson Cross Country Championship.

The overall and premier Class T titles, as well as the Class S championship, were all decided at the final event of the season on the West Rand. The Atlas Copco Gold 450 produced a win for Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau, in the Atlas Copco Ford Ranger, to give the factory team overseen by former South African champion Neil Woolridge its third win of the season.

Bertholdt/Rousseau came in ahead of North West youngsters Jason Venter and Vincent van Allemann (4x4Mega World Toyota Hilux), and brothers Johan and Werner Horn in the Malalane Toyota Hilux. The top five was completed by Jason’s father, Deon, and Jaco van Aardt (4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux) and Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy in the works Team Castrol Toyota Hilux.

Fifth was enough to give Taylor and Murphy back to back titles in the overall and premier Class T category for cars over four litres with independent rear suspension. Going into the Atlas Copco Gold 450 the Taylor/Murphy and Horn combinations were the only crews in with a chance of winning both titles.

Although the Horns had the satisfaction of finishing ahead of Taylor/Murphy, they were unable to overturn the points advantages the factory crew held going into the season finale. The Bertholdt/Rousseau win, however, had a significant effect on the chase for the lesser overall and Class T placings.

Bertholdt leapfrogged into third place in the driver championships, and finished a single point ahead of Leeroy Poulter in the second of the factory Team Castrol Toyota Hilux entries. A final non finish proved costly for Poulter and co-driver Rob Howie.

Manfred Schroder, who deputised for the injured Chris Visser in the Atlas Copco Ford team for two thirds of the season, completed the top five among the drivers. Schroder scored one of the Atlas Copco Ford wins with the others going to Visser and Bertholdt.

On the co-driver side Rousseau moved into third place behind Japie Badenhorst who, during the course of the season, sat alongside Schroder and Visser. Rousseau edged out Rob Howie, who navigated for Poulter, by a single point with only two points separating Badenhorst, Rousseau and Howie.

The finish order was the same in the Class T championship. Here, however, Badenhorst and Rousseau finished level on points - with Badenhorst completing the top three by virtue of a count out with two wins to Rousseau’s lone victory.

The Class S titles races, for cars up to four litres with solid axle rear suspension, were equally close. Venter senior and Jaco van Aardt, who took over co-driver duties from Ian Palmer midway through the season, won the final event of year.

Second place, however, for former South African champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (Ruwacon Toyota Hilux) saw them take both the driver and co-driver titles with the pair coming on strongly after missing an event early in the season.

Second place among the drivers went to Venter, on a count out, ahead of Louw de Bruin in the Ruwacon Ford Ranger.

De Bruin’s co-driver, Riaan Greyling, took second place among the co-drivers with Ian Palmer, who shared the 4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux with Venter in the early part of the season, doing enough to finish third. De Bruin and Greyling ended the season with a 100 percent finish record, but consistency was not enough for the Bloemfontein pair who finished the year winless.

There were also desperately close finishes in Class G, or Side by Side, in the category’s inaugural season. Regent Racing Polaris pair Brian Capper and Jaco Swart took the driver and co-driver titles – by a single point in both categories – ahead of Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer in another Polaris.

A non finish for Woolridge and Dreyer on the final event was the decisive factor in the Class G title race. The two crews were the stand out performers in the category, and finished well ahead of the rest of the opposition.
There was, by contrast, nothing close about the South African Manufacturers Championship where Toyota took the honours for the umpteenth time. Here Toyota finished a massive 261 points clear of Ford, with Nissan a long way back in third place.

Follow the Donaldson Cross Country Championship action on:
Close Contests In Production Vehicle Championship.pdf (237kB)

2014 Donaldson Cross Country Car Championship - Round 8.xls (322kB)

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