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2012-11-19 14:30

SPECIAL VEHICLE: Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen at Carnival City scored enough points, they need only to finish in the top three to claim the title.

A three-way battle to settle the Special Vehicle overall and premier Class A championships wil create an exciting climax to the Absa South African Off-Road championship at the Gold 400, the final race of the season, at the West Rand on November 23/24, 2012.

During the latter part of the season it looked as though the overall and Class A title chases had turned into a two horse race between leaders Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen competing against Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson. Brothers Laurence and Gerhard du Plessis then threw their hats into the ring with two successive wins to set up an explosive finale for the off-road championship.

EXCITING FINALE

With the Class P and Class B title races still to be settled, the third new event on the championship calendar in 2012 should provide an exciting finale to the season.

The three crews in the overall championship and Class A fights go into the race separated by 22.5 points, the du Plessis brothers are the only multiple winners this season.

A win is necessary for van Staden/Lawrenson and the du Plessis brothers whereas Hutchison and Stassen need only finish in the top three to clinch the championship.

Van Staden and Lawrenson scored their only win so far at the first race of the season while Hutchison/Stassen won the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana.

The championship situation brings into play some interesting tactical choices for the title contenders. This means Hutchison and Stassen have a little leeway while van Staden and Lawrenson and the du Plessis pair need to banish thoughts of caution.

Other crews, who might want to end the season on a high note, might shake things up for the title contenders. Of these crews are outgoing SA champions Hermann and Wichard Sullwald, former champions Quintin and Kallie Sullwald, Marius and Jolinda Fourie and Mark Corbett and Julien Hardy.

WHEELS FALLING OFF

Midway through the season it looked as though the Class P battle was a foregone conclusion. Colin Matthews and Alan Smith, were quick out the starting blocks and three wins in a row included an overall victory on the Atlas Copco Timbertrack 400.

Since then the wheels have literally fallen off and two non-finishes in three races have left them with a tenuous 13-point lead over Richard Fuller and Dennis Murphy. None of the Class P runners have managed this season to match Matthews and Smith for pace and the Gold 400 boils down to a matter of reliability.

Matthews and Smith simply cannot afford another non-finish.

Sidriaan de Villiers and Dwayne Voogt, are the Class B championship frontrunners. The Gold 400, however, sees runaway Northern Region crew Tony and Michael Gouveia make their first national appearance of the season.

Race headquarters, the start/finish and designated service point will all be located at Kloof Country Club in Glenharvie. This is approximately 70km from Johannesburg with public access to these areas and spectator points on the route free of charge.

The prologue to determine race start positions will begin at 12:30pm on November 23, 2012 and the race at 8:30am the next day.

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