Former champions win Vredefort Super Sprint
Vredefort – Motorite Racing scored a second win in a row when former South African champions Quintin and Kallie Sullwald, in a Motorite Racing BAT Venom, won the Special Vehicle category at the Vredefort Super Sprint here over the weekend.
The race, round two of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, was a new innovation on the calendar with the one day event run over two 100 kilometre loops. Making a comeback to racing after sitting out the whole of last season, the recently married Quintin and his father Kallie came from fourth at the end of the first lap to eke out a 12 second win ahead of Jimmy Zahos and Zaheer Bodhanya in the Cobalt Racing Stryker.
The win for the Sullwalds made up for a disappointing outing for reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen in the Motorite Racing BAT Viper. After finishing a minute behind Sarel van Biljon/Philip Herselman (Atlas Copco BAT) on the first lap, Hutchison and Stassen lost nearly 15 minutes replacing a broken engine belt 10 kilometres into the second loop.
“With the road opening up after the first lap we were confident we could catch Sarel and Philip, but losing 15 minutes in a sprint race is a death knell,” said a disappointed Hutchison with the Motorite pair eventually classified 14th overall and 10th in Class A. “We had a clean run after replacing the belt but the dust made it difficult to pick up places.
“We managed to salvage a few points and while the sprint format is a good concept, I think a race like this should be run over two different loops.”
The Sullwalds were fourth behind van Biljon/Herselman, Hutchison/Stassen and Stefan van Pletzen/Jaco Pieterse (Chenowth) at the end of lap one, and had Zahos/Bodhanya breathing down their necks. With van Biljon/Herselman retiring with a broken side shaft and Hutchison/Stassen out of the picture, the Sullwalds overhauled van Pletzen/Pieterse and then held off the challenge from Zahos and Bodhanya.
“It was a bit tight at the end but we didn’t have any major issues,” said Quintin. “We are just happy to be back in the Donaldson fold, and a win was a bonus for us and the Motorite team.”
The Motorite team and other crews will now go from one extreme to the other. From a one day 200 kilometre sprint teams will next tackle the Toyota 1 000 Desert Race in Botswana, the only marathon race on the calendar, from June 24 to 26.
“The Botswana outing serves up a whole new challenge,” said Hutchison. “There are also 60 points up for grabs over the two heats, so it is important from a championship point of view.
“Despite the Vredefort result for Danie and I there is a lot of confidence in the team. Both crews are former winners of the Toyota Desert Race so we know what to expect and how to prepare for it.”