PETROL AND DUST: Father/son team Quintin and Kallie Sullwald blast over a crest in a gravel storm in their BAT Venom during the 2014 Vryburg 450 Special Vehicles section of the SA Off-Road championships. Images: Keino & Belinda@Snaps
VRYBURG, North West Province – Father-and-son Quintin and Kallie Sullwald tightened their hold on the Special Vehicle championship by finishing second in the 2014 Vryburg 450.
It was Round 6 off the National Cross-Country championships that finished on Saturday (Sept 13).
Overall victory went to reigning champions Evan Hutchison and birthday boy Danie Stassen (Viper) to just keep alive their championship hopes with this their first win of the season. The tense duel saw them finish just 20sec apart.
'LONG TIME COMING'
The Sullwalds (BAT Venom) were happy to consolidate their championship standings, now more than 30 points. With 25 points for a win and with only two events still on the calendar, the Sullwalds are currently in the box seats.
Hutchinson said: “This win was a long time coming but it was time for a little luck to run our way. We had a good battle with the Sullwalds - now we need an equally strong finish to the season.”
A string of crews picked up punctures and everybody complained about the dust and heat which hovered in the high 30’s the whole weekend. The Sullwalds were one of the teams hit by a puncture that also broke the wheel rim.
“We battled to replace the rim - it cost us the race,” said Sullwald junior, “but for all that it was a good result for us and the other teams must do the chasing on the last two events.”
HOT AND DUSTY
The final place on the podium went to Laurence du Plessis and Gielie le Roux (Zarco) who edged out Gerhard and Hardus du Plessis (Jimco) in a sibling driver battle. The Du Plessis bothers and Hutchison are separated by only six points in the overall championship so the final two events promise some interesting racing as the trio chase the Sullwalds.
A steady run in the hot and dusty conditions and an ultra-fast route took Botswana pair Keith du Toit and Robbie Coetzee (BAT) into the top five. It was a good result, especially as it was Coetzee’s his first cross-country outing.
A rearguard action, after a disappointing qualifying, saw Wichard Sullwald and brother-in-law Byron Sykes (Stryker) rescue sixth place. It was only the second time out for Sykes and the pair were a long way behind Du Toit and Coetzee.
Seventh place overall and another Class P win went to Swaziland-based driver John Thomson and Gauteng co-driver Maurice Zermatten (Zarco). Consistency has always been their forte and it was a win that took them a step closer to back-to-back Class P titles.
Thomson and Zermatten were at the front of four Class P cars that each earned a top-10 place. They were followed by kwaZulu-Natal pair James Watson and John Thompson (BAT), Keith Makenete/Moalosi Borotho (Zarco) and Nic Goslar/Andrew Massey (Zarco).
The last of the Special Vehicle finishers were Stefan van Pletzen and Jaco Pieterse in an ageing Raceco. Perseverance also saw them into the top 10.