The battles in the Special Vehicle category of the South African National Cross Country Series (SACCS) have always been tough and this year is no exception.
With only two rounds of the 2019 SACCS remaining, the bar will be raised at the Lichtenburg 400, the fifth and penultimate round of the series that takes place on 13 and 14 September in the North-West Province and the outcome will play an extremely important role in setting the scene for the season finale.
With the event moved from Harrismith, due to extremely dry and windy conditions resulting in the risk for landowners being too high, Lichtenburg will be the playing field for the Spring round of the SACCS. Dusty conditions can, however, be expected and posting a good result in the Qualifying Race on Friday, 13 September will be of the utmost importance.
This is exactly what the overall and Class A leaders, Lance Trethewey/Adriaan Roets (LT Earthmovers BAT Venom) will be aiming for. After winning the final two rounds of the 2018 season as well as the first three rounds of 2019, including the marathon event in Botswana, Trethewey/Roets’ winning streak came to a halt at the recent Bronkhorstspruit 400 when mechanical issues resulted in them not finishing the race. They are however, still leading the overall and Class A standings and would like nothing better than to win the final two events and clinch the championship titles.
Although Trethewey/Roets have a comfortable points gap to the rest, they are not out of the woods yet and will again battle it out with the rest of the field. Another podium result will be just what the doctor ordered for the young Moosajee brothers, Taahir and Talha (Dunlop Zone Stryker). They will also be extremely happy with a victory and if all the cards fall into place for them, they might finish their first national season on a high note – on the podium.
Both teams will keep a watchful eye out for John Thomson/Maurice Zermatten (Zarco Challenger) and Sandra Labuschagne-Jonck and husband, Jaco Jonck (Total Agri Porter). The experienced Thomson/Zermatten will be looking to make up for lost points after not scoring at the first two events of the season. A good result might just see them moving up on the various championships points ladders.
Sandra has competed in the Lichtenburg area many times in her racing career, but it will be the first time the couple do it as a team while it will also be the first time Sandra will be behind the wheel and not reading the notes at Lichtenburg. The couple have had to face a few challenges together this season, but their adventure now takes them to relatively familiar terrain that might count in their favour.
In Class P, Nic Goslar/Andrew Massey (Men’s Clinic Zarco Magnum) will take on the rest of the field as well as their opposition in the class championship, Julio Ferreira and his navigator for the race, Mohamed Moultson in the Aceco. Goslar is leading Ferreira in the Class P Drivers Championship but will have to tread carefully as the gap is way too small for any mistakes. Due to navigators not competing on a regular basis, the Class P Navigators Championship title is within Massey’s reach and another good result can finally tip the scale in his favour.
In the Side by Side National Championship the Mostert brothers, Werner and Leon (MotoNetix Can-Am Maverick), have built up a comfortable lead, but knowing them, a good result and the possibility of another victory, will be their aim at the Lichtenburg 400. With Wickus Haasbroek/Jurgens Smith not competing in this event, Christo Rose/Dirk Swart (Can-Am Maverick) stand a chance to overtake them and move to the runner-up position in the standings. A podium result and good points will also look good on their list of achievements in their debut season in the SACCS.
Dewald van Breda and Johann du Toit winners of loop one at the recent TDR 1000 will be hoping for a repeat performance while Peter Walter/Shaun de Villiers return to the SxS NC after only participating in the first two events of the season. Both teams stand a chance of scoring good points that can move them up a few places in the rankings.
Two teams competing for the first time in the SACCS this season might be the unknown factor that can upset the applecart at Lichtenburg. Botswana based Mohammed and Ridhwan Dada will be out in the Can-Am X3 RS Turbo while regional competitors, Theo Erasmus and Edward Odendaal (Maverick) will also make their national debut at Lichtenburg.
The Lichtenburg 400 will start on Friday, 13 September at 13:00 with a Qualifying Race to determine the starting order for the race on Saturday when teams will tackle the best part of a 400 kilometre route at 08:00. All the action will take place from the Lichtenburg Showgrounds where the designated service park (DSP) as well as the Race Headquarters and the Start/Finish will be.
Enthusiasts can follow the race on the RallySafe App that can be downloaded free for iOS and Android devices. Maps, information and results are available on the RallySafe App sponsored by Toyota.
Published by: Charmaine Fortune
Picture Caption: Christo Rose and Dirk Swart
Photography by: Nadia Jordaan
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