Motorite Racing's Hutchison and Stassen win off road championship
Date : 2012-11-26
Hutchison, champion in 2007 and 2009, and first-time champion Stassen dominated the final round in wet and slippery conditions, winning Friday’s 57-kilometre prologue and cruising to a well-deserved victory in Saturday’s 340-kilometre race.
It was their second win of the eight round season, which also saw them victorious in the marathon Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana in June. They were one of three crews still in contention to take the title at the start of the weekend, but quickly asserted their authority and were unchallenged in the end as their rivals ran into problems.
“Conditions on the first loop were as difficult as I have ever encountered,” said the experienced Hutchison. “It was very wet after heavy overnight rain and the water and mud made life very difficult. There was no traction so the car was sliding all over the place, and without windscreens on our cars visibility was a big problem.
“We were absolutely determined not to let this victory elude us. We’d all put so much of our lives into winning this championship and we just kept our heads down and hoped for the best.
“Winning the team’s fourth overall and fifth class championship in just eight years is a proud achievement for all of us and we couldn’t have done it without the enthusiastic and generous support of our sponsors,” said the former quad bike champion, who is also the team manager.
The unique BAT Venom, with its moulded buggy-type body and seven-litre Chev V8 engine is the latest in a long line of locally-designed and built off road racers specially commissioned by the privateer team. “We’ve always won the championship when we’ve started the season in a brand new car and being able to maintain this unique record is the best way we could repay Motorite for their generosity and faith in us,” Hutchison added.
Team-mates Nick and son Ryan Harper had a less successful day in the second Motorite BAT Venom. After starting fifth among the class A cars they lost time in the first of the two 170-kilometre loops that made up the race route when they beached the car on a termite mound and then had to stop to change a flat wheel. Gearbox problems 22 kilometres into the second loop forced them out of the race.
“It was a disappointing end to the season for us,” admitted Harper Snr. “It was only our third race in the new BAT Venom and after our back-to-back third places in the previous two rounds we were hoping to finish the season on a high. Congratulations to Evan and Danie on a magnificent achievement in the Venom’s first year. The car’s a winner and we look forward to the new season with confidence.”
Motorite Racing is the motor sport division of Motorite Insurance Administrators, the largest independent mechanical breakdown insurance and full maintenance plan service provider and administrator in South Africa. Motorite supports Rhino Force (www.rhinoforce.co.za), an organisation endorsed by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) that is engaged in the fight against rhino poaching. Both Motorite Racing cars carry the Rhino Force logo and spread the message among the off road racing community around the country. Their wire rhino mascot is an established feature in the service park.
Evan Hutchison & Danie Stassen
|Nick & Ryan Harper
Evan Hutchison & Danie Stassen
Nick & Ryan Harper