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2014-12-01 13:41

VICTORY IN WESTONARIA: Ford's Gary Bertholdt (left) and co-driver Siegfried Rousseau won the production vehicle category during the final round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship in Gauteng. Image: Ford

The Ford Ranger crew Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau won the Atlas Copco Gold 450, the final round of the South African Cross-Country Championship in Westonaria, Gauteng.

The victory in Gauteng was the team’s third win of the 2014 season and a first for Bertholdt and Rousseau. Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy (Toyota Hilux) clinched the Production Vehicle and Class T championships.

Jason Venter and Vincent van Allemann (Toyota Hilux) scored their maiden podium with second place in rain-soaked conditions. The final podium spot went to Mpumalanga brothers Johan and Werner Horn (Toyota Hilux).


Fifth place overall was enough to give Taylor/Murphy the overall and Class T titles ahead of the Horns pair, who finished ahead of the factory team. The two crews were the only teams left in the title races.

Taylor/Murphy, who scored four wins in 2014 season, overcame a troublesome 100km qualifying race, which saw the pair start from the rear of the field. The Horns also suffered woes during qualifying.

Bertholdt and Rousseau started in third place behind Ford team mates Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst and Venter/van Allemann. At the halfway mark, Bertholdt/Rousseau were second behind Visser/Badenhorst and took the lead.

It was a significant win for Bertholdt/Rousseau. Unofficial scoring lifted Bertholdt into third place in the Drivers’ standings and Rousseau into fourth place among the co-drivers – with a non-finish for Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie, in the second Toyota, dropping them behind the Ford pair.


The race settled the Class S battle for cars up to four litres with solid rear axles. In a close contest, former South African champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (Toyota Hilux) beat Louw de Bruin/Riaan Greyling (Ford Ranger) and Deon Venter/ Jaco van Aardt (Toyota Hilux), who tied with de Bruin in the Drivers’ championship.

Venter/van Aardt won Class S ahead of Visser/le Roux and de Bruin/Greylin. In unofficial scoring, Visser and le Roux took the title by a three point margin.


The weekend also saw Brian Capper and Jaco Swart crowned Class G champions in the category’s inaugural season. A non-finish for Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer dropped them out of contention.

Race honours went to Capper and Michael Abramson (deputising for Swart), ahead of Chris Wood and Peter Markram in another Polaris. Third, also in a Polaris, were Werner Mostert and Henno du Plooy.

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