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2013-04-22 10:30

CLOSING THE GAP: Privateers Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau in the Toyota Hilux are in second place in the South African Cross-Country championship, right on the heels of the leaders. Image: Motorpics

Two private teams are giving factory crews a run for their money at the top of the 2013 South African Cross-County championship Production Vehicle category after two rounds of the series.

A second on the RFS 400 and a win on the recent Nkomazi 400 in Mpumalanga have given Ford Racing’s former South African champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst a 13-point advantage at the top of the championship. Privateers Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau (Toyota Hilux), and Malcolm Kock/Johann Burger (Hilux) then come into the picture.

Second place on the Nkomazi 400 lifted Bertholdt, who was not well during the race, and Rousseau into second place in the championship. The drive of the day came from Kock and Burger who scythed their way through from the back of the field to finish sixth, and join RFS 400 winners Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable, in the second factory Ford Ranger, in second place.

With Anthony Taylor/Dennis Murphy and reigning South African champions Duncan Vos and Rob Howie currently fourth and fifth in the championship standings, there will be worried frowns in the Toyota camp: neither of its crews has managed to reach the podium.


Toyota is better off in Class D where North West youngsters Jason Venter and Vincent van Allemann (Hilux) have picked up wins on the RFS 400 and Nkomazi 400. That gives them a narrow lead over former champions and reliability experts Jack and Sarel Oosthuizen (Land Rover).

There are also no prizes for who leads the Class E championship. Victory for Dirk Putter and Koos Claasens in a Ford Ranger in Mpumalanga was their ninth in 10 outings – with a second place thrown in for good measure. They dominated last year in a  Hilux. The switch to a Ford Ranger with a formidable Class E record in cross-country racing does not appear to have changed matters.

Round three of the championship will return racers to the Eston area, near Pietermaritzburg, for the Toyota Dealer Sugarbelt 400 over May 17/1.

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