The Atlas Copco 400, the fourth round of the South African National Cross Country Series (SACCS) that took place outside Bronkhorstspruit this weekend proved to be a real challenge for the teams in the Special Vehicle category with navigators having to be on point while the conditions resulted in quite a few teams not scoring any points at this event.
Teams had to fight sandy conditions and dust while tricky navigation tested them to the limit and only those who could manage to keep the whole package together, received the chequered flag at the end of this new race totalling 380 tough kilometres.
In the end it was Stefan van Pletzen/Jaco Pieterse (Live Lesotho Chenowth) who claimed the overall victory in the Special Vehicle category as well as a deserving Class A win. The team also won the 40 kilometre qualifying race despite their vehicle being an ‘oil guzzler’ during the race and losing time changing a flat tyre, they were happy with their victory.
They were followed by John Telford/Victor Ntsekhe (Calcamite BAT Warbird) who struggled with suspension set up during the qualifying race, but all worked out and they bagged a healthy amount of points with second place in Class A.
The Class A and overall podium were rounded off by Werner Kennedy/CJ van Pletzen (Live Lesotho Porter) although they had an anxious moment. The pair suffered a flat tyre on the first of the two 170 kilometre loops, only to discover they had lost their jack somewhere en-route. Luckily, good samaritans Coetzee Labuscagne/Sandra Labuscagne-Jonck (4×4 Mega World ARB Porter), who were the third Special Vehicle out of the blocks on Saturday morning, stopped and rendered assistance.
The father and daughter team did not have a great day as they struggled with brake problems and fuel starvation, but true to form, they pushed through and finished fourth in Class A while they also claimed fourth place overall. They missed the podium by a mere 1 min. 32 sec. as they finished close behind the team they assisted during the race.
Nic Goslar/Joe Lima (SA Clinics Zarco Magnum) was the only Class P entry to finish despite a few niggly issues during the race and they were happy to wear the laurels.
Some of the casualties of the Bronkhorstspruit event included John Thomson/Maurice Zermatten (Zarco Challenger) who suffered a broken gearbox; Schalk Burger/Elvene Vonk (Porter); Zaheer/Lais Bodhanya (Jimco); Talha/Taahir Moosajee (Stryker) and Guy Henley/Hein Möhr (CR 2).
The Side x Side Interprovincial Challenge was won by newcomer Ernest Roberts/Stuart Creevy (Can-Am Maverick) with Werner Mostert/Rob Green (Can-Am Maverick X3 XRS) second.
The fifth and penultimate round of the SACCS championship, will take place on 14 and 15 September at the Eeram Farmers Complex on the outskirts of Harrismith.