|With three close championships the Special Vehicle category in the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS), the two remaining events on the calendar are scheduled for an explosive climax.
Consider the following: the overall standings see three drivers separated by 14 points, three teams in the Class A championship are separated by 10 points and the difference between three teams in Class P is a single point. All this adds up to drama over the remaining two events with the Sun City 400 first on the agenda.
Victory on the recent Harrismith 400 saw reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen regain the lead in both the overall and Class A championship. It gives the King Price Extreme BAT Viper pair a little breathing space in both championships – but not much.
Hutchison (113) leads the overall driver points ahead of Marius Fourie (104 – PHB BAT) and Stefan van Pletzen with 99 points in the Live Lesotho Chenowth. On the co-driver front Stassen has a 19 point lead over Jolinda Fourie (94) and Jaco Pieterse (89) with both Ms Fourie and Pieterse having missed an event.
The Class A positions are ominously a little closer. Here Hutchison has a nine point lead over Fourie among the drivers with van Pletzen only a point behind, while Stassen is out in front where the co-drivers are concerned with Ms Fourie breathing down Pieterse’s neck.
It is also not too late for the father/daughter team of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne (4×4 Mega World Porter) to have a say in the final overall and Class A tallies. After a dodgy start to the season the pair have produced good results on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race and the Harrismith event, and more of the same in the remaining two races could see the Labuscagne’s apply a little pressure on those teams ahead of them.
With 60 points on offer on the remaining two events the overall and Class A champions are likely to come from one of Hutchison/Stassen, the Fouries and van Pletzen and Pieterse. All that means is that none of the teams at the top of the pile can afford mistakes on the run up to the finale.
The situation in Cass P is a different ballgame. Werner Kennedy and Thinus Venter (Live Lesotho Aceco) and John Telford/Victor Ntsekhe (Calcamite Hellcat) are level pegging in the overall championships with 44 points, with Nic Goslar and Andrew Massey (SA Clinics Zarco Magnum) on 42 points.
In the Class P championship Kennedy/Venter and Telford/Ntsekhe also have the same number of points, but this time the difference between Goslar and Massey is one point. It doesn’t get much closer than that and all it means is the three teams will be living on their nerves at Sun City.
The championship positions in the Special Vehicle stakes are enough on their own for cross country enthusiasts to make their way to the Pilanesberg for the Sun City 400. It is a race which never disappoints and combined with a weekend jaunt at a world class resort is an attractive proposition for motorsport lovers.