Glenharvie, Saturday – Motorite Racing finished the Donaldson Cross Country Championship on a high note when they won the Special Vehicle category on the Atlas Copco Gold 450, the final event of the season, which ended here today.
Hutchison and stand-in navigator Rodney Burke cruised to victory in the Motorite BAT Viper with the pair around half an hour ahead of second placed John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten in a Zarco Magnum. Hutchison’s triumph followed an outright win on the RFS Endurance and victories on the two heats that made up the Toyota
1000 Desert Race earlier in the year.
It was a welcome result for Burke who was deputising for Hutchison’s regular co-driver, Danie Stassen, who was on ‘maternity leave’ after his wife gave birth to a daughter earlier in the week. Burke normally sits alongside Colin Matthews in the Century Racing CR3, but car preparation for next year’s Dakar Rally saw the pair sit-out this event
“It was a good event and a tight track and plenty of rocks kept you on your toes,” said Hutchison. “We lost in car communication at one stage but Rodney did a professional job, and it was good to finish the season on a high note.”
On an event that produced a high rate of attrition among the Special Vehicle brigade with only four finishers, Swaziland based driver Thomson and Zermatten produced their best result of the season. It was their fourth Class P win of the season, with the pair assured of the championship when Matthews and Burke withdrew from the race.
The pair finished the first of the 162 kilometre loops that made up the race with no brakes. There was also some late drama for the pair when they had a blow out three kilometres from the finish.
A Class P crew also took the final podium position with Guy Henley and Martin Hermida around 15 minutes behind Thomson and Zermatten in one of the new Century CR-T cars. A puncture and a damaged brake pipe slowed Henley/Hermida on the first lap, but they reported a clean run on loop two.
The last of the classified finishers were Australian driver Dave McShane and South African rally co-drivers champion Elvéne Coetzee. The pair had an adventurous time of it in a Motorite BAT Venom, with McShane contemplating a full season in the Donaldson series next season.
Among those who failed to see out the full distance were qualifying race winners Sarel van Biljon and Philip Herselman in the Atlas Copco BAT. The pair gave the event sponsors a boost with their qualifying race success, but their race ended in disappointing fashion with a broken sideshaft.
Pics : SANORA
Evan Hutchison / Rodney Burke
John Thomson/Maurice Zermatten