Francois Conradie and Andrew van der Westhuizen, in a BAT, scored a convincing overall Special Vehicle and Class P win at the Vryburg 250, round five of the Northern Regions Cross Country Championship, over the weekend.
The race was run in conjunction with the penultimate round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, with Conradie and van der Westhuizen finishing around six minutes ahead of Special Vehicle and Class P championship leaders Werner Kennedy and Thinus Venter, in an Aceco. Third overall and the first of the Production Vehicle brigade were North West crew Dylan Venter and Ruan Peirce in the 4×4 Mega World Toyota Hilux.
In the context of the overall Special Vehicle and Class P championships second place was a good result for Kennedy and Venter, and saw them tighten their hold on both title chases. Third among the Special Vehicles and in Class P was also a good result for Francois Smit and Craig Galvin, in a Jetpatcher Isuzu Racing Zarco Lite, who came in two minutes ahead of Tony and Michael Gouveia in a BAT.
Smit and Galvin went into the race trailing Andre and Zelma Beer (BAT) by two points in the overall championship with the two crews level pegging in the Class P title chase. With the Beers dropping out of the race with a broken side shaft Smit and Galvin move into second place on their own in both championships.
Class B saw runaway championship leaders Marthinus and Tiaan le Roux, in a Sandmaster, listed among the non finishers. They dropped out of the race with clutch failure and victory went to veteran Wolf-Pieter Pfumfei, in a Jetpatcher Isuzu racing WPP/Sandmaster, who moved up a notch or two in the championship.
The overall win in the Production Vehicle category and in Class D was also profitable for young Venter, with the youngster without normal co-driver Vince van Allemann who was competing in the national event. With Peirce deputising the result saw Venter move back to the top of the driver standings in both the overall and Class D championships.
Venter and Peirce took overall and Class D honours by a clear margin ahead of Diederik and Rikus Hattingh (Ford Ranger) and Regan Austen and Warren Vos in a Toyota Hilux. Fourth went to Andre Geldenhuys and Victor Fincham (Isuzu KB) with Geldenhuys surrendering the Class D driver championship lead to Venter.
Class E produced a second win of the season for David Huddy and Mike Fehrsen, in a Nissan Hardbody, and lifts them up a notch or two in the championship. Second and third went to Thinus du Toit/Arnold Nortje and Dolf and Brendan du Toit, with both crews out in Toyota Hilux entries.
It was an unhappy outing for Bertus Kriel/Anton Muller (Ford Ranger) and reigning Class E champions Dirk Putter and Koos Claasens in a Toyota Hilux. Putter/Claasens were among the non finishers – with their race lasting all of 500 metres when a steering bolt sheared off – while Kriel and Muller were the last of the classified finishers and fifth in class when the Ford Ranger went into limp mode.
That dropped Kriel behind Venter in the drivers’ championship. The Putter/Claasens non finish also dropped them out of title contention.
The Club Class produced a third win of the season for Gert Steyn and Johan Burger in a Toyota Hilux. It was a timely win and increased their lead at the top of the championship.
The final event of the season, the Atlas Copco Gold 250, will be run on the West Rand on October 31.