Reigning Special Vehicle champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen overcame a potential disaster to score what was ultimately a comfortable win on the RFS Endurance Race, the opening round of this year’s Donaldson
Cross Country Championship, which ended in Vryburg today.

It was the perfect start for the Motorite BAT Viper crew, but they were given a scare via a gearbox problem after Hutchison/Stassen won the qualifying race to determine race grid positions. The problem was fixed and
Hutchison/Stassen cruised to victory more than 12 minutes ahead of Atlas Copco BAT pair Sarel van Biljon and Philip Herselman.

“We sorted out the gearbox scare, and had a clean run today,” said Hutchison. “It was a fast and dusty route, but we have to be satisfied with the best possible start to the season.”

There was also plenty of space between van Biljon/Herselman and third placed Keith Makenete/Greg Godrich (BAT) who slipped back one slot after starting the day in second place. It was the first podium finish in
Makenete’s career.

There was a fair bit of movement up and down the leader board during the two 245 kilometre loops that made up the race. The husband and wife team of Marius and Jolinda Fourie (PHB BAT) disappeared off the radar after
starting the day in fourth place.

Jimmy Zahos and Zaheer Bodhanya, in the Cobalt Racing Stryker, moved the other way and, after finishing ninth on the qualifying race, they produced a strong performance to work their way up to fourth at the finish. Botswana
crew Keith du Toit and Robbie Coetzee (White Star Racing BAT) were also on the move and after starting 10th on the road completed the top five.

Du Toit and Coetzee were given a little help when former South African champions Quintin and Kallie Sullwald, in the Motorite BAT Venom, were hit with a 10 minute penalty for a jump start. That dropped the Sullwalds, who
missed the whole of last season, down to sixth place.

Australian Dave McShane and Leander Pienaar (Fox Racing Porter) were next up and well clear of a tremendous battle for eighth place and Class P honours between newcomers Willem du Toit/Bertus Goussard, in
a CR-T, and reigning champions John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten in a Zarco.

Swaziland driver Thomson and Zermatten started the day around seven minutes clear of du Toit/Goussard who chipped away at the lead. They eventually finished just 12 seconds clear of Thomson/Zermatten to take a
maiden national class victory.

Stefan van Pletzen and Jaco Pieterse (Chenowth) also dropped down the order but hung onto 10th place ahead of Lourens/Carien Booysen (BAT) and John Telford/Victor Ntsekhe in the Calcamite Hellcat. That also gave the
Calcamite pair third place in Class P.

The next race on the Donaldson calendar is a one day Super Sprint event on May 7 in Vredefort.

Race report provided by SA National Off Road Car Racing Association