Hat trick history at Nkomazi 400

2013-04-15 11:46

Colin Matthews and Alan Smith carved themselves a little niche in South African motorsport history when they won the 2013 Nkomazi 400, Round 2 of the South African Cross-Country championship.

Victory in the Special Vehicle category made them the first Class P crew to score three overall victories in the championship. They also won the prologue to determine race start positions.


A puncture dropped them to second behind RFS 400 winners Clint Gibson and Gary Campbell, when within sight of the service park at the end of the first of the race's two 160km loops.

Gibson and Campbell took their turn in being hit after the 15-minute compulsory service halt which dropped them down to fourth place at the finish.

Matthews/Smith and Hermann and Richard Sullwald passed Gibson/Campbell, who finished the race on a wing and a prayer after gearbox problems and “funny noises” from the car.

“We were only 18km into the second loop when we had the puncture,” Campbell said. “It was frustrating watching the others go past but after an issue like that it is almost impossible to make up lost ground.”


The flamboyant Matthews could not resist celebrating victory with a flourish. An expansive doughnut sprayed a huge and appreciative crowd with a layer of red dust.

“That was not an easy race to win,” he said after the dust had settled on what was a new event on the championship calendar. “The route was superb but you had to work hard. The puncture was unfortunate but once we were back in the lead we knew all we had to do was keep the car on the road.”

Nick and Ryan Harper were up next then reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen with both crews put through the mill. The younger Harper suffered motion sickness and fatigue while Hutchison and Stassen had gear selection and other minor mechanical niggles.

TOP 10

Glenn Gibson/Clint Brook (BAT) completed a satisfactory day for the Gibson family and the kwaZulu-Natal contingent with seventh overall ahead of another father/son combination, Tony and Michael Gouveia, in another BAT. Brothers Daniel and Louw Zeelie (Porter) and veteran Rob Wark and Jeremy Wood (Aceco) rounded out the top 10.

Matthews/Smith won Class P by a huge margin from the Gouveias who dominated the Northern Regions championship in 2012. Wark also proved there was life in the old dog when he and Jeremy Wood took a podium place ahead of RFS 400 winners John Thomson/ Maurice Zermatten in a Magnum.