Champions Hutchison/Stassen start cross country title defence

It was their second successive Donaldson Cross Country Championship victory in the Motorite Racing BAT Viper and Motorite’s eighth national championship since the company entered motor sport in 2005. These include seven cross country titles (one in class B and six in class A and overall) and a rally class title, making Motorite Racing the most successful privateer team.

Hutchison, who doubles up as team manager and is the person responsible for introducing Motorite to motorsport, has won seven of these championships himself and is one of only two racing drivers – the other one is Hannes Grobler – who have won a national cross country and rally title in the same year.

He and Stassen will again be contesting the premier class A of the Special Vehicle category in the locally designed and built BAT Viper, a vehicle that showcases the world-class design and technological expertise that exists in South Africa and that has seen locally designed and built vehicles perform successfully at the highest level in overseas competitions and events, like the Dakar Rally.

Last year’s championship was a close-fought affair and went right down to the last event before Hutchison and Stassen could claim their second successive title. They were worthy winners, however, and were the only team to win more than one round of the eight-event series.

“It’s going to be just as tough again this year,” said Hutchison. “We have one of the strongest national championships in the world and teams who can hold their own with the best in the world – as South Africans have shown in the Dakar Rally for some years now.

“With the continued backing of Motorite and our other sponsors, we will be aiming to extend our successful run in cross country racing to include what we believe would be a record ninth championship in 10 years.”

The RFS 450 will start from the La La Nathi resort outside Harrismith at 11:30 on Friday with a 100-kilometre qualifying race. The main race will start from the resort at 08:30 on Saturday and will cover a distance of 350 kilometres.

Motorite Racing is the motorsport division of Motorite Administrators, the largest independent mechanical breakdown insurance and full maintenance plan service provider and administrator in South Africa.