No one out of the woods yet in an intense special vehicle championship

With only two rounds of the 2019 South African National Cross Country Series (SACCS) remaining, the battles in the Special Vehicle and SxS championships have intensified and the points standings after the recent Bronkhorstspruit 400 predict an insane final two rounds of the season. After the dust had settled, it’s apparent some moving and shaking took place and while the frontrunners will have to fight to stay ahead, those further down the leader board will not wish to give up their positions and will give it their all to better their standings before the end of the season.

After the Bronkhorstspruit 400, round four of the 2019 SACCS season and following the first three rounds, which included a marathon event of a thousand kilometres in Botswana, the championship is starting to take its toll on teams and race vehicles. Having scored full marks at each of the first three events this season, the Gauteng race put an abrupt end to the winning spree of the Special Vehicle category leaders, Lance Trethewey and Adriaan Roets (LT Earthmovers BAT). Their consistency so far this season has paid off and their healthy points buffer keeps them in command of the overall standings. They have 120 points.

The winners of the Bronkhorstspruit 400, KZN based Clint Gibson/Alaric Smith (Dirt Sport Stryker) made a huge jump with Gibson (83 points) now second in the Drivers’ Championship 37 points behind Trethewey. Gibson missed the season opener while Smith missed the first two events resulting in Smith (68 points) currently filling the third step of the Navigators’ Championship, 10 points behind Talha Moosajee (78 points) who navigates for his brother Taahir (Dunlop Zone Stryker). Except for not finishing the Berg 400, the Moosajee brothers have scored consistently with Taahir (78 points) now third in the Drivers’ Championship only five points behind Gibson.

John Telford/Victor Ntsekhe (Calcamite BAT) did not compete at Bronkhorstspruit and dropped to fourth place in the overall standings with Telford (59 points) trailing the young Moosajee by 19 points while Ntsekhe is a mere nine points behind Smith in the navigators’ standings. John Thomson (Zarco) is fifth in the Drivers’ Championship (48 points), 11 points behind Telford. Thomson made use of two navigators in Botswana resulting in his regular navigator, Maurice Zermatten (36 points) dropping to seventh place in the Navigators’ Championship.

The husband and wife duo of Sandra Labuschagne-Jonck and Jaco Jonck (Total Agri Porter) are persevering.  Sandra the defending Special Vehicle Navigators’ Champion is now behind the wheel and scoring points in the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in her racing career. The pair are getting to grips with their roles and challenges but not scoring points in Botswana put a little damper on their mission. Sandra (39 points) is sixth in the Drivers’ Championship nine points behind Thomson while Jaco (39 points) is fifth in the Navigators’ Championship 20 points behind Ntsekhe.

The points are looking somewhat different in the Class A Championship as competitors receive five points when they start a race. Trethewey (145 points) still leads Class A where he is 41 points ahead of Moosajee (104 points). Gibson is third (96 points) with Telford (79 points) fourth, Thomson (65 points) fifth and Labuscagne-Jonck (64 points) sixth.

In the Class A Navigators’ Championship Roets (145 points) has a strong hold over Talha Moosajee (104 points) with Ntsekhe (79 points) rounding off the podium. With Smith (76 points) not scoring in the beginning of the season, he finds himself in fourth place, but only three points separate him from Ntsekhe. Jonck (64 points) rounds off the top five of the Class A Navigators’ Championship with Zermatten (28 points) somewhat further behind in sixth place.

Nic Goslar/Andrew Massey (SA Clinics Zarco) are in command of the Class P championship. Behind them infrequent participation has resulted in uneven gaps in the points. Julio Ferreira (Aceco) teamed up with Johan Basson for the Toyota 1000 Desert Race and they find themselves in second place – Ferreira (51 points) trails Goslar by 11 points in the Class P Drivers’ Championship while Basson (34 points) is 28 points behind Massey in the Navigators’ Championship. Keith Makenete (10 points) rounds off the Class P Drivers’ Championship while Stewart van Graan (30 points), who read the notes for Botswana driver Lepsy Mosope (Zarco) is third, only four points behind Basson. Mosope competes with a Botswana licence and does not score points towards the SACCS.

In the new Side x Side National Championship, Werner/Leon Mostert are the only team who have competed in each of the four rounds and scored points after each event. They have 124 points and lead the standings. Wickus Haasbroek/Jurgens Smith (81 points) participated for the first time at national level in Botswana and added a victory at Bronkhorstspruit to their scoresheet. This moves them to the second spot in the SxS championship, 43 points behind the Mostert brothers who will feel the pressure at the final two events if they want to ensure the national championship title.

Christo Rose/Dirk Swart (63 points) also made their debut in Botswana and kept on scoring to move to the third place, 18 points behind Haasbroek/Smith. Like the two teams ahead of them, the marathon event in Botswana was also the first event of the season for Dewald van Breda/Johan du Toit (50 points). They trail Rose/Swart by 13 points.

Gerry van der Byl/Andrew Katay (37 points) are fifth, two points ahead of Peter Walter/Shaun de Villiers (35 points). Dean Bradbury/Rikus Hattingh and Ashley Bradbury/Timmy Botes are equal on 22 points with Markus Labuschagne/Neil Putter (20 points) in ninth place. All teams make use of the popular Can-Am Maverick SxS vehicles.

The teams will take on the Harrismith 400, the penultimate round of the 2019 SACCS that takes place on 13 and 14 September from the Eeram Farmers Complex in the Free State.

View the points after round 4.

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