Sugarbelt: Final summary
Dream result for Nissan on Sugarbelt 400. The Nissan Hardbody factory pair of Giniel de Villiers and Francois Jordaan came up with a sponsor's dream result when they won the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, round two of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, ...
Dream result for Nissan on Sugarbelt 400.
The Nissan Hardbody factory pair of Giniel de Villiers and Francois Jordaan came up with a sponsor's dream result when they won the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, round two of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, which ended at Eston, near Pietermaritzburg, this afternoon.
There was an added bonus, too, for Nissan at the 10th anniversary of the KwaZulu-Natal event, with the second factory entry of Hannes Grobler/Richard Leeke coming home in second place. Unofficial scoring saw de Villiers and Jordaan came home four minutes ahead of former champions Grobler and Leeke, with the Nissan factory pair 35 minutes ahead of the third car home.
Third overall and first home in the Special Vehicle category and Class A were John Weir-Smith and Tony George, in the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel BMW Jimco. The result saw Weir-Smith and George continue their good start to the season, following a second place on the Barberspan 500.
The pair were followed home by Eastern Cape crew Greg Harvey and Boy Stone in the Castrol Queen Motor Spares Jimco while another impressive performance saw Vryburg farmers Piet Haasbroek and Christo Bosch finish fourth overall in a Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser.
Haasbroek and Bosch also won Class D with the pair taking the final podium position in the Production Car category. Haasbroek and Bosch were third overall on the Barberspan 500 and have also made a good start to the season.
The two factory Nissan crews were in charge of proceedings right from the start. At the end of the first of four 100 kilometre loops, it was Grobler and Leeke who were in the lead with de Villiers/Jordaan hot on their heels.
De Villiers and Jordaan moved into the lead on the second loop, and from that moment were in control of proceedings. Grobler and Leeke then got embroiled in a battle with Barberspan 500 winners Apie Reyneke and Robin Houghton, in the Team Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser.
That ended when Reyneke and Houghton were left stranded in a deep gully after a steering failure. The retirement of local favourite Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjodhammer, in the Ford Racing Ranger, with a broken wishbone on loop two also eased the pressure where the Nissans were concerned.
Haasbroek and Bosch were models of consistency throughout the race, and it was only on the last loop that Weir-Smith and George got past the Toyota. Second in Class D and fifth overall were the factory Nissan Harbody pair of Duncan Vos and Mike Griffiths, with Mark Corbett and Juan Mohr third in Class D and sixth overall in the Century Property Developments Isuzu.
Class E went to reigning champions Manfred Schroder and Jack Peckham, in the Ford Racing Ranger, with the pair bouncing back after failing to finish the Barberspan 500. After winning the class on the Barberspan 500, it was the turn of Team Castrol Toyota Condor pair Kassie Coetzee and Ockie Fourie to fail to see out the distance.
Class F leaders Franz Czepek and Scott Abraham, in the O'Hagan's/Kopanonmg Hotel Jeep, were late retirements. The pair rolled down a mountain 40 kilometres from the end, with both driver and co-driver unhurt.
Weir-Smith and George were also in dominant mood where the Special Vehicles were concerned. They were out of the starting blocks like scalded cats, and simply disappeared into the distance.
Veterans Harvey and Stone could never get close enough to apply any pressure, and Weir-Smith and George won at a canter. Weir-Smith and George were another crew to continue to show good form after a second on the Barberspan 500.
First crew home in Class B were local pair Vincent and Louise Trethewey, in a Chenowth, with reigning champion Giel Nel second in the LUK Afrika Truggy. The husband and wife team had to work hard for a win in a class that featured a north versus south battle.
Also on a roll at the moment are Greg Daus and Trevor Ormerod in the Nashua Mobile Raceco. They picked up their second win in a row in Class S with major opposition in Richard Schilling/Ashley Thorn (Plastotech Raceco) and Richard Carolin/Geoff Minnitt (O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Raceco) falling by the wayside.
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