Motorsport: Battlefields 400
Last weekend’s wet and muddy Battlefields 400 course provided the perfect conditions for the King Price extreme cross country series team.
The Battlefields 400, round 2 of the SA Cross Country Series (SACCS), was foul weather-wise but provided the King Price extreme’s Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen with the perfect result. Driver Hutchison and navigator Stassen gave the King Price extreme team a maiden victory in a race characterised by freezing temperatures and wet weather. In the process, Hutchison and Stassen moved to the top of the special vehicle category and Class A championship.
The pair, driving the King Price extreme BAT Viper, dominated both the qualifier and the main event. Both developed into 2-horse races, with Hutchison and Stassen being pushed all the way by Lance Trethewey and Geoff Minnitt in the LTE BAT Venom.
‘It was one of the toughest events I’ve ever done,’ said Hutchison. ‘The conditions were atrocious, with the cars slipping and sliding around on a sodden route, but we were on top of our game. ‘Danie and I are delighted to give King Price extreme this maiden win in only the second race of the season, and the fact that we’re now leading the overall log and the Class A championship is a bonus.’
Hutchison and Stassen had a clean run in the 40km qualifying race, despite being held up by a backmarker, and finished only 12 seconds behind Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie in their production vehicle category FIA class cars (which they’ll race in the 2018 Dakar Rally). It was more of the same in the actual race but the conditions demanded every ounce of concentration, and in the end the King Price extreme pair had 7 minutes to spare over Trethewey and Minnitt.
‘One little mistake and you were history,’ said Hutchison. ‘Trethewey and Minnitt were a constant threat but we held it all together, and in the end it was the perfect weekend.’ There’s more to cheer about, as King Price extreme team-mates Schalk Burger and Elvene Coetzee brought their Porter home in sixth place despite having had no back brakes during the first of the 2 loops. This provided Burger and Coetzee with their first points of the season.
King Price extreme also won the special vehicle category team award with Hutchison/Stassen and Burger/Coetzee’s successes. The next event on the SACCS calendar is the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana, from June 23 to 25. The Desert Race is the only marathon event on the calendar and will provide a complete contrast in conditions for competitors.
‘The Botswana race is a highlight of the season but the extreme team will have our tails up,’ said Hutchison. ‘There’s a good vibe in the team, and from a championship point of view it’s important that we come home with points. It’s going to be a new experience for Schalk and Elvene, and we’re looking forward to a good weekend and better weather.’
Cross country fans can follow King Price extreme from home (on DStv Ignition channel 189), or anywhere else, on the RallySafe App. This free App allows enthusiasts to follow the races via maps, split times and results.