Championship heads for an exciting climax
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media)
04 October 2013
CHAMPIONSHIP HEADS FOR EXCITING CLIMAX
The Ford Dealer 400 in Thaba ’Nchu on October 11 and 12, the penultimate round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, is going to be white knuckle time for crews at the sharp end of the stick in the Special Vehicle championship.
Only 12,5 points separate the first four crews in the championship and there are a number of other drivers and co-drivers who are still mathematically in the title mix. It adds up to a pressure cooker situation with all the championship hopefuls under the whip.
Fourth place on the recent Vryburg 400 and hiccups for other title contenders lifted KwaZulu-Natal crew Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell (Dirt Sport Components Porter) to the top of the overall championship. But they are only three points clear of Hermann and Wichard Sullwald (Elegant Fuel Stryker) with reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT Viper) and Quintin and Kallie Sullwald (Elegant Fuel BAT Venom) lurking another 9.5 points in arrears.
Adding a little spice to the situation is the fact that Gibson and Campbell are the only team with a 100 percent finish record this season and still have to drop one score. For the others reliability becomes a major issue and none of the leading contenders can afford being listed in the ‘did not finish’ column of the final results.
Each of the top four crews in the championship has won once this season. The only double winner is Class P hotshot Colin Matthews, once with Alan Smith and once with Rodney Burke, in the Century Racing CR3.
Those wins have kept Matthews in the mix in the overall driver championship while Philip de Vries and Johan Viljoen (Conqueror Porter) have quietly slipped into the championship picture. There is not much to choose between the top title contenders but there are a couple of other crews who could upset apple carts.
Veteran Nardus Alberts and son Louis (Wrapsa BAT) come off a fine second place on the Vryburg 400 and will be high on confidence. Alberts also relishes tight and technical routes and a typical Lesotho-style course will be right down his alley.
Mark Corbett and Julien Hardy return to action in the Century Racing CR4 and given a run free of trouble will fancy their chances. Louw and Daniel Zeelie (Maxxis/Liqui Moly/Rockstar Porter) have also had their moments.
And then there is Matthews who again links up with Burke with whom he won the Sun City 400. Matthews trails Swaziland driver John Thomson in the Class P championship but his two overall victories on the Nkomazi 400 and Sun City 400 have kept alive his Special Vehicle title hopes.
In the Class P Matthews trails Thomson, who is partnered by Maurice Zermatten in a Zarco Magnum, by 21.5 points. That sets up a little cameo between the two Class P crews.
It is a cameo that could well have an impact on the championship outcome and, with Thomson/Zermatten unlikely to match Matthews/Burke for sheer pace, reliability again becomes an issue.
Behind the Class P frontrunners there is also an interesting situation. Only three points separate Coetzee and Sandra Labuschagne (Chem Systems Zarco), Keith Makenete/Taelo Mochebelele (Zarco) and Jeremy Wood and veteran Ashley Thorn in the K9 Racing Aceco with the trio closely matched.
Race headquarters and the designated service park will be at the Black Mountain Hotel with public access to these areas free of charge. Route guides can be downloaded at www.sacrosscountryracing.co.za
and will also be available at race headquarters. Public access to spectator areas along the route and the designated service park is free.
The qualifying race to determine grid positions will start at 12:00 on October 11 and the race at 08:30 the next day.
Follow the Donaldson Cross Country Championship action on:
Championship heads for an exciting climax.pdf (237kB)
2013 FORD DEALER 400 DRAFT ENTRY 4 Oct.pdf (72kB)