SA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP…PRESENTED BY ABSA IT’S BAT VERSUS THE REST ON THE SUN CITY 400 The SA Off Road Championship for Special Vehicles…presented by Absa has become a raging battleground with the locally designed and constructed BAT vehicles taking on the might of the American Jimco and Chenowth imports. The Sun City 400 (September 26 and 27) will see battle resume between the rival factions and it’s anyone’s guess as to which will rein supreme after 390km of tough racing in the Pilanesberg area. Seven BAT vehicles have been entered in Class A and Class B with two times FIA World Group N Rally Champion and the leading light in the New Dimension X-raid BMW team that made its debut on Dakar 2003, Belgian Gregoire de Mevius making his first appearance in South Africa in the Audi V8 powered Adrenalise Corporate Entertainment BAT. Apart from the de Mevius/Andrew ‘VZ’ van Zyl entry there are another four BAT vehicles entered in Class A, which include Nissan Sugarbelt 400 winners Gerald Mundell/Billy Bond (Prolong BAT), Danie Marais/Andrew Utterson (Intelegence Telecoms BAT), former Special Vehicle champion Mark Corbett/Jason Bruwer (Century Property Developments BAT) and Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 winners Gary Bertholdt and Brandon Harcus. The formidable BAT contingent can expect tough competition from Nissan Dealer 400 and Oven Fresh Biscuits 500 winners Atang Makgekgenene and Mike Stangl in the Total SAM Racing Jimco, Toyota 1000 winners John Weir-Smith and Geoff Minnitt (O’Hagan’s/Kopanong Hotel Superteam Jimco), husband and wife Gerhard and Kobie du Plessis (Liebherr Jimco), John Moore and Fred Werner (Shell Connix Chenowth) and the Nashua Mobile Racing squad. The two-car Nashua Mobile Racing team has been going through a development phase in preparation for a full attack on the championship in 2004 and came close to winning the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 when Greg Daus and Archie Rutherford (Chenowth) finished just behind Mundell and Bond. Terence Marsh and Trevor Ahier (Jimco) finished third overall on the Tarka 400 and the team is confident of a good result. Class S championship contenders Frikkie Botha and Melvill Priest have acquired Greg Harvey’s 2002 championship winning Jimco and make their Class A debut on the Sun City 400. Class B looks to be developing into a BAT benefit with KwaZulu Natal pair Clint Gibson and Mike Brown (Praesidium Financial Services BAT) picking up back-to-back wins on the last two events. They can expect a tough battle with the likes of Special Vehicle and Class B championship leader Giel Nel (LUK Africa Truggy), Francois Smit (Franic) and Marcus Taylor and Marc de Chalain (Rollerbak Racing JRE) who have each had one class win this season. However, all eyes will be on the new locally designed and constructed Zarco Lite of Hendrik Fourie and John Thomson, which makes its competition debut on the Sun City 400. The Zarco Lite is powered by a VW engine and features 99% local content. Gareth Wark has had a torrid time in the Class B O’Hagan’s/Kopanong Hotel Superteam Mighty Mag, which has invariably lead races before being forced into retirement with steering problems. No sooner has the Superteam solved one steering related problem then another rears its head but it would appear that a solution has finally been found. The Class S numbers have been reduced following Botha and Priests’ move to Class A and it will now be left to the class championship leader Nic Goslar and new co-driver Warren Bowe (O’Hagan’s/Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco) to fight it out with Botswana businessmen Mohammed Noor and Mohammed Moultsen in the Supa Veg Raceco. The Sun City 400 gets underway with a 40km Prologue at 13:00 on Friday, September 26. The main event, which consists of three laps of a 130km route, starts at 08:00 on Saturday, September 27 with the first car expected at the finish at the Sun City Sports Complex at 13:00.

Original article from Car