document : Rocky ride for Hutchison and Stassen on Vryburg 400

Rocky ride for Hutchison and Stassen on Vryburg 400
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media) 10 September 2013

Rocky ride for Hutchison and Stassen on Vryburg 400
Reigning special vehicle champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT Viper) endured a rocky ride on the Vryburg 400, round six of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, in North West Province last weekend.
Qualifying seventh in Friday’s 60-kilometre time trial among the special vehicles in the combined field of 18 specials and 26 production vehicles, they found themselves 15th on the road for Saturday’s 350-kilometre race over two loops of a 170-kilometre course.
“Friday’s route was one of the most difficult I’ve had to navigate,” said Stassen. “There were some confusing directions which caught out quite a few of us and at one stage we lost around a minute and a half.”
By the time they reached the halfway mark and the compulsory 15-minute service stop in Vryburg on Saturday they had successfully worked their way up to fourth in their category and ninth on the road.
They had been as high as third, but backed off a little when they saw that chief rival and pre-event championship leaders Hermann and Wichard Sullwald had experienced problems and dropped out.
“We were about to leave the pits after routine servicing when our crew noticed that the tubular chassis was cracked in a critical part of the lower body. Rather than risk damaging the car further we reluctantly decided to call it a day,” said Hutchison.
“While we can’t put our finger on any specific incident, the route was quite rough in places and we must have damaged the bottom of the car on a rock at some stage and unfortunately it struck us in exactly the wrong place.
“It was hugely disappointing. The race had gone very well up until then. We had a clean run on the first loop and were well-placed to push for a top three finish and at least 15 championship points. This would have put us back in the lead of the championship with two rounds remaining.  As it is, we have now dropped to equal third place and are 12,5 points behind new leaders Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell.
“However, there’s a maximum of 50 points up for grabs in the two remaining races and there are five of us at the top of the standings covered by only 14,5 points. Any one of us can take this title.
“We’re still confident we can win our second successive championship together and take Motorite Racing’s total to four overall victories and one class victory since they started cross country racing in 2005.”
The penultimate round of the championship is the Thaba Nchu 400 in the Free State on October 11 and 12.
Motorite Racing is the motorsport division of Motorite Administrators, the largest independent mechanical breakdown insurance and full maintenance plan service provider and administrator in South Africa.

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