document : Motorite Racing scores maiden win in Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana

Motorite Racing scores maiden win in Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana
information supplied by: Motorite Racing Team - Offroad 25 June 2012


• Evan Hutchison/Danie Stassen (BAT Venom) dominate Special Vehicle category and win free entry into Dakar Rally 2013
• Nick and Ryan Harper (Revo 4x4) finish fourth
• Hutchison/Stassen new championship leaders

Motorite Racing’s Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (BAT Venom V8) put themselves right back in contention for the special vehicle category of the Absa Off Road Championship with a convincing win in the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, which finished at Kumakwane outside Gaborone on Sunday.

It was Motorite Racing’s first win in the longest and toughest race on the off road calendar and won Hutchison and Stassen a free entry into the 2013 Dakar Rally in Peru, Argentina and Chile in January. They beat second-placed Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson (BAT Spec 5) by a comfortable 6 min 36 sec after two and half days and almost 1 000 kilometres of racing in the bush and sand of the Botswana desert. Third, 13 min 38 sec in arrears, were Quintin and Karl-Heinz Sullwald in a BAT Spec 4.

With the event, the only round held outside South Africa, counting points and a half, the 37,5 points scored by the Motorite Racing pair lifted them from joint fourth in the special vehicle championship to first, with a lead over nearest rivals Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson (BAT Spec 5) of four points with four rounds remaining.

Hutchison, seeking his fourth national off road drivers’ championship, and Stassen were second in Friday’s 60-kilometre prologue, just nine seconds behind the CR3 of Colin Matthews and Alan Smith

“We’ve come close to winning this prestigious race in the past, but victory has eluded us until now. We’re ecstatic with the result, especially because it has won us free entry into the next Dakar Rally,” said Hutchison.

“The Motorite Racing BAT Venom performed faultlessly right up to the final 200-kilometre racing section on Sunday, when we experienced alternator problems soon after leaving the designated service point at Kumakwane,” said Hutchison. “At that stage we were leading Van Staden and Lawrenson by nearly four minutes and were planning to dictate the pace for the rest of the race from the front and take no unnecessary chances.

“I was forced to reduce the engine revs, below 3 000 r/min, and was short-shifting the gears. We turned off everything we could that was using electrical power – the GPS, the high-pressure fuel pump. It’s a miracle we finished!

“This is a big moment for the whole Motorite Racing team. We’ve won just about all of the other races, but the Desert Race has eluded us until now. We wanted this badly, because it also carried the Dakar Rally prize. We’re very excited about this and are thrilled to be the first official entries in the 2013 Dakar Rally.”

The Toyota Desert Race is one of five ‘rally raid’ off road races in five countries that were selected by the Dakar Rally organisers to comprise the Dakar Challenge. The overall winners of each will receive free entry into the Dakar Rally and free shipment of their car from Europe to South America, a prize valued at around R250 000.

Motorite Racing team-mates Nick and son Ryan Harper, competing in the V6-engined Revo 4x4 special, continued their love affair with the Botswana desert classic with another competent and trouble-free run to finish fourth overall, 17 min 45 sec behind the winners. The result lifted them from ninth to sixth in the championship.

“The dust was the biggest problem,” reported Nick Harper. “It was so thick that it hung in the air for ages and made overtaking safely almost impossible. Although we were fourth quickest among the special vehicles in Friday’s prologue we started 11th on the road on Saturday behind the three specials and seven production vehicles.

“It was very hard work out there. Visibility in the dust was bad and in many places we just followed the yellow tail lights of the car in front of us. Any deviation from the road risked a puncture and a loss of several minutes changing the wheel.

“We were happy to maintain our fourth position among the special vehicles and pick up overall places on the road as we passed slower production vehicles. The Motorite Revo didn’t miss a beat. We knew we didn’t have the horse power to beat the bigger-engined V8s ahead of us and we were very relieved to see the Absa finish arch at Kumakwane on Sunday afternoon.”

Motorite Racing is the motor sport division of Motorite Insurance Administrators, the largest independent mechanical breakdown insurance and full maintenance plan service provider and administrator in South Africa.

The next round of the championship is the Sun City 400 in North West Province on July 27 and 28.


Issued on behalf of Motorite Insurance Administrators by Peter Burroughes Communications, telephone 082 899 0101, e-mail
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