LICHTENBURG, North West - A stirring fight back saw Francois Conradie and Jaco van Aardt come from outside the top 10 to take overall, special vehicle and Class P honours from the Lichtenburg 250.
GOING LIKE A BAT: Francois Conradie and Jaco van Aardt in their BAT, overall winners of the Lichtenburg 250 overall, Special Vehicle and Class P honours. Image: Yolanda Markram
It was Round 3 of the Northern Regions Cross-Country championship over DATES the weekend.
Conradie, Van Aardt and their BAT, after a disappointing run in the qualifying race that determined grid positions, started 14th. By the end of the first of the two 100km loops they had worked up to fifth.
SECOND LOOP, MORE PROGRESS
Qualifying winners Francois Smit and Craig Galvin (Zarco) had problems and dropped down the order. The overall lead was then held by Production Vehicle crew Dirk Putter and Koos Claasens (Toyota Hilux) who lost wads of time after the first loop correcting steering problems.
Conradie and Van Aardt continued to make progress on the second loop. With 50km to go they had chased down Kobus Fourie/Sidriaan de Villiers, in another BAT with Smit and Galvin holding on for third.
Conradie/Van Aardt, Fourie de Villiers and Smith/Galvin led home the Class P brigade with veteran former National champion Giel Nel and Ferdie Pieterse fourth in a Zarco Truggy. Fifth were Werner Kennedy and Thinus Venter (Raceco), who led the Class P championship by five points from Andre and Zelma de Beer (BAT) going into the race.
WIN FOR A VETERAN
The De Beers won the Barberspan 500 after coming from the back of the field. This time, however, they were among the Class P non-finishers along with the fancied father/son combination of Tony and Michael Gouveia in another BAT.
Class B championship leaders Marthinus and Tiaan le Roux (Sandmaster), 30km from the finish, were among those who fell by the wayside with gearbox problems. That handed the win to veteran former champion Wolf-Pieter Pfumfei (Sandmaster/WPP) with John Evans and Suma Smit second and third in Sandmasters to give the team a clean sweep.
His first Production Vehicle victory and with it Class E honours went to David Huddy/Mike Fehrsen (Nissan Hardbody) who race under the wing of former National champion Buks Carolin. They were comfortably ahead of Class D winners Reagan Austin/Warren Vos in a Toyota Hilux.
After consecutive overall and Class D wins the law of averages caught up with Dylan Venter/Vince van Allemann (Hilux) who were forced to retire with transfer case problems.
Third overall were Bertus Kriel/Anton Muller in a Ford Ranger.
...AND THE CLUBMANS
Austin/Vos and Andre Geldenhuis/Victor Fincham (Isuzu KB) were the only finishers in Class D. In Class E the Huddy/Fehrsen and Kriel/Muller combinations were followed home by Andries Mynhardt/Hein Kruger (Ranger), Rob Reid/Bodo Schwegler (Mitsubishi Pajero) and Theuns du Toit/Arnold Nortje (Hilux) with Putter and Claasens eventually limping home sixth.
The Clubman category was won by Gert Steyn/Johan Burger (Hilux), the only finishers in the category.
FIRST VICTORY: Production Vehicle Class E honours went to David Huddy/Mike Fehrsen (Nissan Hardbody) who
race under the wing of former National champion Buks Carolin. Image: Yolanda Markram