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Taylor/Murphy take hat trick

2013-07-29 08:55

HAT TRICK WIN: The Toyota Hilux pair of Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy scored their third victory in a row at the Sin City 400 on July 26/27. Image: Quickpic

Charmaine Fortune

SUN CITY, South Africa – The two factory teams traded blows throughout the weekend but it was the Toyota squad that scored a technical knock-out over Ford Racing in the Production Vehicle category of the Sun City 400.

It was Round 5 of the Donaldson South African Cross-Country championship that ended on Sunday (July 28).

The Toyota Hilux pair of Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy scored their third victory in a row, and were followed home by reigning South African champions and team mates Duncan Vos and Rob Howie. Ford Racing crews Chris Visser/Japie Badenhorst and Lance Woolridge/Ward Huxtable were third and fourth with the Nissan pairing of Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau completing the top five.

The five crews finished in that order in the Friday (July 26) qualifying session to determine start positions. The win, however, saw Taylor and Murphy move into an unofficial 10-point lead over Visser/Badenhorst in both the overall and premier Class SP championship races after the crews started the day level.


Victory for Taylor and Murphy completed a perfect weekend for the pair who arrived in the Pilanesberg after winning the Sugarbelt 400 and Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race. They also won Friday qualifying to make sure they started at the front - crucial on a fast and dusty route.

Taylor said: “I guess you could say the race was won during qualifying but Duncan and Rob pushed us all the way. Running at the front of the field mostly did away with the dust problem but the pathfinder role is always difficult. Dennis did a great job the whole weekend and the two of us are working well in the car.”

The only change in the pecking order among the first five came at the end of the first of two loops that made up the race. A small overshoot dropped Visser and Badenhorst behind Woolridge and Huxtable, with the status quo restored on the second loop.

Deon Venter and Ian Palmer (Hilux) produced their best performance of the season to finish sixth with former champions Jannie Visser/Joks le Roux (Hilux) and Hugo de Bruyn/Henri Hugo  Hilux) completing the top eight.

De Bruyn and Hugo were then hit with a penalty for a jumped start that dropped them way down the pecking order. After a troubled qualifying that saw them start 34th on the road, Nissan Navara pair Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson suddenly found themselves eighth. The pair produced one of the drives of the day but only had 21sec to spare over veteran Archie Rutherford who had SuperSport presenter Derek Alberts sitting alongside him as celebrity co-driver. The setback for Bruyn and Hugo also elevated Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson into the top 10 in the Toyota Hilux.

Mpumalanga brothers Johan and Werner Horn (Toyota Land Cruiser) were comfortable winners in Class D. They were more than eight minutes ahead of a close battle for second and third between local crew Dana Vos and Henri de Kock (Hilux) and championship leaders Jason Venter and Vincent van Allemann (Hilux).

Vos and Kock started second in class after Friday qualifying with Venter and Alleman fifth. The final scoring saw Vos and Kock edge out Venter and Alleman by 26sec.

Class E honours went Douglas Fear and Kurt de Villiers (Hilux) who were comfortably ahead of reigning drivers Dirk Putter and stand-in navigator Sarel Kriek - the last of the classified finishers.
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