Sizzling end to off-road champs

2011-11-14 10:09

Veteran privateers upset the establishment in the final round of the national off road championship, the RFS Magalies 400 run at the Tarlton International Raceway on Saturday, November 12, 2011.

Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux, Hilux privateers from the North West, limped across the line with two flat wheels to second place and top honours in the production vehicle championship.

The pair managed to lift the silverware despite failing to win a race during the season, although solid finishes and three podium positions secured their dream result after a two-day event was run in 30 degrees Centigrade-plus temperatures and extremely dusty conditions.

The pair was passed four kilometres from the finish by Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege who recorded a win in their first time out in their V8-powered BMW. Their vehicle was only completed the day before the race with a “test session” turning into a convincing win.


Pikkie Labuschagne and Rikus Erasmus, also in a Hilux, secured the final podium position after completing the 340-km route.

Visser and le Roux were one of seven teams who started the day with a mathematical chance of winning the championship: among them were reigning champions Chris Visser (Jannie’s brother) and Japie Badenhorst in their Ford Ranger.

“We would love to have won this race, but we’ll take the championship as compensation,” joked a delighted Visser afterwards.

The drive of the day, however, belonged to former champion Duncan Vos and Rob Howie (Toyota Hilux) who finished in fourth place. After a disappointing prologue Vos and Howie, who will compete in the Dakar Rally next year, started 11th among the Production Vehicles and 26th on the road.

The top five was completed by outgoing Class D champions Deon Venter and Ian Palmer (Toyota Hilux), who came in ahead of Louis Weichelt and Francis Boersma (Toyota Land Cruiser).

Hermann and Wichard Sullwald

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: Father-and-son crew Hermann and Wichard Sullwald took top honours in the special vehicle championship.

Cliff Weichelt and Johan Smalberger (Toyota Land Cruiser) were third in Class D ahead of champions Jack and Sarel Oosthuizen (Land Rover) who finished every race this season.

The Class E honours went to Dirk Putter and Koos Claassens (Toyota Hilux) ahead of Diederik Hattingh/Buks Cilliers (Toyota Hilux) and teenagers Jason Venter and Vincent van Alleman (Toyota Hilux). Unofficial scoring gives the drivers’ championship to Hattingh and the co-driver title to Claassens.


In the Special Vehicle championship, the father-and-son crew of Hermann and Wichard Sullwald sneaked in via the back door for a win.

These Sullwalds started the day lying third in the championship behind reigning champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald and former champion Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen. However, drama unfolded throughout the day as first Hutchison/Stassen and then Kallie and Quintin Sullwald ran into problems.

The Sullwalds came home 36 seconds ahead of another family team of Nardus and Louis Alberts, who were making only their third appearance of the season, while third place went to Johan van Staden and James Rossouw, who took their second podium finish of the year.
Fourth place was enough to give the Class P title to Archie Rutherford and Mike Lawrenson. The Class B honours went to the father-and-daughter pairing of Coetzee and Sandra Labuschagne.