The Bronkhorstspruit 400, the fourth round of the South African National Cross Country Series (SACCS) that took place on Friday and Saturday, 2 and 3 August in the Bronkhorstspruit area, put a stop to the winning streak of the overall leaders of the Special Vehicle category and new victors appeared after the dust had settled.
It was a tough event with challenges in the form of rocks, dry and dusty conditions and river crossings that had to be approached with the utmost care and the aim to get to the finish line first to bag the most amount of points towards the championships as only two rounds remain in the 2019 season.
It was, however, not the Bronkhorstspruit 400 race conditions that put a stop to the winning streak of the overall and Class A leaders, Lance Trethewey/Adriaan Roets (LT Earthmovers BAT Venom) who won the past five events, the final two events of the 2018 season and the first three rounds of 2019. Trethewey/Roets posted the fastest time after the 64km Qualifying Race on Friday and lost some time in the dust early on Saturday, but a broken gearbox only 30 kilometres into the second of the two 180km loops forced the team to retire.
The well-deserved victory went to Clint Gibson/Alaric Smith (Dirt Sport Stryker) who claimed the top step of the podium for the first time this season. The team missed the opening round but made up for lost points with good results and a victory that was on the cards. As teams in the Special and Production Vehicle categories start the main race according to their qualifying times, Gibson/Smith were somewhat further down the order although they were the third fastest in the Special Vehicle category.
After initially struggling to get past slower traffic in the dusty conditions and experiencing brake problems, Gibson/Smith ticked off the victory box and walked away with a healthy amount of championship points as well as some precious silverware.
The Moosajee brothers, Taahir and Talha (Dunlop Stryker) continued their good performance and finished second overall and in Class A. They were in a tight battle with John Thomson/Maurice Zermatten (Zarco Challenger) as only 37 seconds separated them after almost five and a half hours of racing. The Moosajee brothers were just under three minutes faster than the experienced Thomson/Zermatten after the Qualifying Race on Friday and made up almost 20 minutes on their challengers who lost time due to a puncture.
Thomson/Zermatten fought back during the second of the two loops and closed the gap but had to settle for the third step of the overall and Class A podiums.
It was a long day in the saddle for Sandra Labuschagne-Jonck and husband Jaco in the navigator seat of the Total Agri Porter, after a broken side shaft in loop one cost them valuable time. They decided to take advantage of the rules and made it back to DSP just before the time bar. Loop two was un-eventful with the pair reporting a clean run when they made it to the finish despite incurring the hefty penalty and only scoring half points. They finished fourth overall in the Special Vehicle category.
Botswana based Julio Ferreira/Onkabetse Seemise (Aceco) won Class P despite some pre event challenges while Nic Goslar/Andrew Massey (SA Clinics Zarco Magnum) where side-lined by a severe misfire only 30 kilometres into loop one and were forced to retire.
In the Side x Side National Championship, it was a first season victory for the young Wickus Haasbroek/Jurgens Smith (Can-Am Maverick) who beat Christo Rose/Dirk Swart, also in a Can-Am Maverick, to finish on the top step of the podium. Dewald van Breda/Johann du Toit rounded off the podium.
The Bronkhorstspruit 400 was not exactly what the doctor ordered for the championship leaders, Werner and Leon Mostert (Can-Am Maverick). They posted the second fastest time after the Qualifying Race, but experienced problems on the second of the two loops that cost them valuable time. They had to settle for fourth place in this exciting new national championship.
The fifth and penultimate round of the SACCS, the Harrismith 400, takes place on 13 and 14 September from the Eeram Farmers complex on the outskirts of Harrismith.