Champions Hutchison and Stassen win RFS Vryburg Endurance
The RFS Vryburg Endurance, opening round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, provided the stage for Motorite Racing to play out a dream start to the new season. This on the back of a series of ‘new’ themes with the recent 100% equity ownership of Motorite in the newly formed company, MotoVantage.
On Friday reigning South African champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen, in the Motorite BAT Viper, won the Special Vehicle qualifying event to determine race grid positions and then cruised to a comfortable victory in Saturday’s race. The cherry on top of the cake saw the Motorite squad voted Team of the Event at the prize giving.
It doesn’t come better than that, but just for good measure former SA champions Quintin and Kallie Sullwald chipped in with sixth place in the Motorite BAT Venom. The Sullwalds were making a comeback to the Donaldson series after sitting out the whole of last season.
Hutchison and Stassen finished the 190 kilometre qualifying event two minutes and 45 seconds ahead of Keith Makanete and Greg Godrich in an earlier spec BAT. During the race, run over a pair of 245 kilometre laps, they then opened up a gap of more than 12 minutes over second placed Sarel van Biljon and Philip Herselam in another BAT.
“You have to be happy after a start like that, and the whole team did a great job throughout the race,” said Hutchison. “But there was a time immediately after qualifying when we were a little nervous.”
During the qualifying race the Motorite BAT Viper picked up a gearbox leak. The technical crew sorted out the problem overnight, and Hutchison and Stassen had a clear run during the race.
“It was a very fast and dusty route littered with rock, you had to keep your wits about you,” Hutchison said. “The car ran like clockwork during the race and we were never under any pressure at any stage.
“It would be nice if all races were like that.”
For their part the Sullwalds were just happy to be back in the thick of matters, and to pick up some early season points. The father and son team finished fifth on the prologue and sixth in the race – but it could have been better.
During the first lap of the race the Sullwallds picked up a 10 minute penalty for a jump start. In the final results it cost them a place and they dropped to sixth.
“The penalty was unfortunate, but we were just happy to be back in the fold,” said Quintin. “We never had any real problems during qualifying and the race, and the Motorite technical crew did a great job.”
With an early lead in both the overall and premier Class A championships Hutchison and Stassen will be on a high for the next event on the Donaldson series calendar. A new innovation sees teams head for Vredefort, in the Free State, for a one day Super Sprint race over two 100 kilometre laps on May 7.
“It is going to be an interesting event,” said Hutchison. “After the start we have had to the season confidence is sky high and we will be looking to maintain the momentum.”