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The battles in the Special Vehicle Category of the South African Rally-Raid Championship (SARRC) have increased in intensity during the season, and although the overall leaders have created a little breathing space for themselves, they are not home safe yet. Anything can still happen at the upcoming Parys 400 that takes place on 18 and 19 August and forms Rounds Four and Five of the 2023 season.

With two full rounds of the SARRC taking place on the weekend, teams will be forced to race according to careful planning and a sensible strategy to be able to finish both events and accumulate as many points as possible towards the Overall Special Vehicle Championship as well as the Class A and Class G championships.

The defending overall and Class A champions, Tim Howes and Gary Campbell (Tim Drew Property Developers BAT Spec 4) opened their scorebook at the opening round of the season with full marks and are currently in the lead, having completed both the following events and scoring points. The team have opened a gap to the rest of the field although another win will ensure less stress with their aim of defending their title successfully.

John Thomson/Maurice Zermatten (Zarco Challenger) missed the first round but bagged a healthy dollop of points winning in Botswana, which moved them into the overall and Class A runner-up position. They are within striking distance of Howes/Campbell and this battle can go down to the wire pending the outcome at Parys.

LC de Jager and Rikus Hattingh (Porter) make a welcome return to the SARRC after missing most of the 2022 and 2023 seasons and will be depending on beginner’s luck.

The only other entrants for the Parys event, the tenacious Makenete brothers, Keith and Andrew will only be competing in Round Five of the championship on Saturday, 19 August.

An interesting situation has developed at the front of Class G where the Moto-Netix Racing team-mates of Glen Theron/Craig Galvin and Ian and his father, Werner Mostert, both in similar Can-Am Maverick vehicles, have earned the same number of points in the class championship while Theron/Galvin are four points and one position ahead of Team Mostert in the overall standings. Another win will lift the spirit of the Mosterts as reigning Class G champions as will a maiden win this season for their team-mates. This situation can result in an interesting approach for both teams at Parys.

Geoff Minnitt/Rodney Burke (Hydro Power Equipment Can-Am Maverick) are currently third in the class championship and they would like to follow their victory in Botswana up with another win. They are close enough to the battle at the front to get involved, and leading the class is very much on the cards for the team.

Ewald van Rensburg/Johan Scheepers, also in a Can-Am Maverick earned the silverware for a victory earlier this season and they would like to make up for not scoring points in Botswana as will team-mates Francois and Neil de Wit.

Both Parys 400 events will consist of a short Pirelli Qualifying Race starting at 07:30 each morning to determine the starting order for the main race that follows on both days at 09:30. After the qualifier on Friday, teams will take on a 173 kilometre loop which they will have to complete twice to be deemed finishers while a different 190 kilometre loop awaits them for the Parys 400, Round Five on Saturday. The Start/Finish, the Designated Service Point (DSP) and the Rally Headquarters will be situated at the Parys Afridome where the podium ceremonies will also take place on both days.

Spectators and enthusiasts can follow the Parys 400 on the RallySafe App that can be downloaded from the iStore and Google PlayStore or on Facebook: saccsauto; Instagram: saccs_auto and Twitter: @SACCS.Auto

Published by: SA National Cross Country Series – Charmaine Fortune

Photography by: Plan C Productions

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