Reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen chalked up their second successive win on the Nkomazi 450, round five of the Donaldson Cross Country Motor Racing Championship, in Malelane earlier today.
It was a comprehensive victory for the Motorite BAT Viper crew who finished more than 17 minutes ahead of John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten in a Zarco Magnum. In an impressive performance Swaziland based Thomson and his Alberton co-driver won Class P, and increased their already hefty lead in the championship.
Third place on an event backed by Malalane Toyota and RCL Foods went to the father and daughter combination of Coetzee and Sandra Labuscagne in the 4×4 Mega World Porter. In warm sunny weather spectators turned out en masse and were treated to some spectacular national championship motor racing.
It was the Labuscagnes second podium in a row after finishing second on the recent Lichtenburg 450. For the former Blue Bull scrum half and his veterinarian daughter they represent the best results of their national cross country careers.
On a perfect weekend for Hutchison and Stassen the pair won the qualifying race to determine grid positions, and were never in danger throughout the race. It was a result that saw them also increase their overall and Class A championship leads ahead of Australian Dave McShane and Leander Pienaar in the Fox Racing Porter.
McShane was partnered this weekend by South African rally champion Elvéne Coetzee with the pair embroiled in late drama. Crews faced a compulsory 20 minutes service halt after the first of two 156 kilometre loops and a four minute penalty for a late departure out of the designated service park saw McShane/Coetzee finish just two seconds behind the Labuscagnes.
The Cobalt Racing Stryker in the hands of Shameer Variawa and Zaheer Bodhanya was hit with a similar penalty. Variawa and Bodhanya were the last of the classified finishers and the penalty compounded a difficult weekend for the former South African champion.
Variawa bought the car from Jimmy Zahos prior to the Nkomazi outing and was forced to retire from the qualifying race with power steering problems. The pair started from the back of the field and after a difficult first lap, Variawa showed glimpses of the talent that made him a South African champion.
The next event in the Donaldson series sees a return to the calendar for the popular Sun City 450 in the Pilanesberg on September 30 and October 1.