Vos wins after count-back
In what is thought to be the closest title fight in the history of
off-road racing in this country, Duncan Vos clinched his second
successive South African Production Car championship on Saturday on a
count-back from Sasol Nissan Navara team-mate Hannes Grobler.
Vos clinched the title when he and Ralph Pitchford won the Four
Wheel Drive Club-organised RFS Magalies 400, the final race on the Absa
Off-Road Championship calendar, ahead of Castrol Toyota crew Mark
Cronjé and Chris Birkin.
The veteran Grobler and Juan Mohr were third
finished just over two minutes behind Cronjé. It was a result that saw
Vos and Grobler finish level on points in both the overall
championship and in the premier SP Class. In a count-back the title
went to Vos by virtue of four wins to three over the course of the
There was compensation for Grobler when his navigator, Juan Mohr,
clinched the co-drivers' championship. Pitchford missed two events
earlier in the season via overseas commitments and that hurt his
There was tragedy, however, for the factory Ford Racing Ranger pair
of Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjöldhammer. The former champions went
into the event with a four-point lead in both championships, but a
broken rear axle weld saw them run into driveshaft problems and they
nursed the Ford home in 19th place overall.
"It was very stressful," said Vos after provisional scoring gave him
the championship honours. "We knew we had to finish
ahead of Hannes, and winning the Friday prologue to start at the front
of the Production Car field was crucial. It was a tricky route where
to stray of the racing line was courting disaster."
A steady run saw Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, in a privateer Castrol Toyota Hilux, come home fourth with George and Sharon
Barkhuizen scoring their best result of the season with fifth in the Ruwacon Toyota Hilux.
Brothers Henri and Maurice Zermatten, with the Class D championship
already wrapped up, capped a fine season with another class win in
the Ryobi Nissan Hardbody. They had around 10 minutes to spare over
outgoing drivers' champion Cliff Weichelt and Nico Els in the N1 Toyota
Hilux, with Chris du Plooy junior and Henk van Vuuren third in the RFS
With the Class E title already in the bag, veterans Jannie Visser
and Joks le Roux (Barberspan Toyota Hilux) were quite content to take
things easy and strolled to fourth place. The win went to newcomers
Diederik and Danie Hattingh in a Toyota Hilux who edged out Malcolm
and Wayne Brink, in another Toyota Hilux, and Thomas Rundle and Rob
Howie in the Barden Nissan Hardbody.
The Hattingh brothers stopped to help Class D crew Coetzee
Labuscagne and Johan Gerber (Raysonics Nissan Hardbody) but still had
minutes in hand over Kock and Brink. Labuscagne and Gerber finished
fourth in Class D.