Hutchison, Stassen top Gold 400
SPECIAL VEHICLE CHAMPIONS: Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen dominated the Gold 400 to claim victory in final round of the 2012 South African Off Road Championship.
Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen have wrapped up the 2012 South African Off-Road Special Vehicle championship at the Gold 400 in Gauteng, the final round of the championship.
Hutchison and Stassen, driving a BAT Venom, were locked in a three-way battle for the Special Vehicle and Class A championships with Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson (BAT) and brothers Laurence and Gerhard du Plessis (Zarco).
Hutchison and Stassen won the prologue which determines grid positions, dominated the race, then wrapped up two titles.
TRIUMPH OVER MECHANICAL WOES
The route consisted of two wet and muddy loops of 170km. Staden/Lawrenson and the Plessis brothers fell behind by the end of the first loop. At the halfway point Hutchison and Stassen reported a clear run while Staden/Lawrenson retired with a broken side-shaft.
The Plessis brothers suffered several mechanical woes and eventually limped home 12th overall and eighth in Class A.
Hutchison and Stassen swept through the second loop well clear of the husband-and-wife team Marius and Jolinda Fourie (BAT), which ended a disappointing 2012 season.
Colin Matthews and Alan Smith (CR3) grabbed the final podium position and in the process won the Class P championship.
Hutchison said: “Conditions on the first loop were as difficult as I have ever encountered. The car was sliding all over the place but visibility was an even bigger problem. In the early stages six or seven cars were running in a bunch and,with no windscreen, the mud and water thrown up by cars ahead in front of us made life extremely difficult."
Fourth overall and third in Class A went to Mark Corbett and Rudi Balzer (CR4) who raced their way from the back of the grid.
The two kwaZulu-Natal crews, Clint Gibson/Gary Campbell and Daniel Brookes/Gavan Gray, were fifth and sixth respectively.
Seventh overall and second in Class P went to Richard Fuller and Dennis Murphy. They could not match Matthews and Smith's speed and finished more than 15 minutes behind.
WIN FOR FIRST-TIMERS
A third Class P crew completed the top eight with the father-and-daughter team of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne putting together another solid race in the Zarco.
Unofficial scoring saw the Coetzees finish third in the championship behind Matthews/Smith and Fuller/Murphy.
Father-and-son Tony and Michael Gouveia, first-time entrants, earned a Class B victory. They dominated the 2012 Northern Region championship and marked their National debut with a finish just outside the top 10.
Despite a non-finish in the tricky conditions, unofficial scoring placed Sidriaan de Villiers and Dwayne Voogt (UTV) as the winners of the Class B championship.