- Telford and Ntsekhe win close fought Class P title race
The husband and wife team of Marius and Jolinda Fourie, in the PHB BAT, cut it fine when they secured the Special Vehicle overall and Class A titles in this season’s South African Cross Country Series (SACCS).
Fourie had five points to spare over Stefan van Pletzen (Live Lesotho Chenowth) in the overall championship, and one point was the difference in Class A. For her part Ms Fourie had only one point to spare over reigning champion Danie Stassen (King Price Extreme BAT Viper) in the overall championship, and one point was again the difference between her and Stassen and Jaco Pieterse in the co-drivers’ title race.
It made for an exciting finish to the championship with reigning champions Evan Hutchison (King Price Extreme BAT Viper), the Fouries and van Pletzen/Pieterse all in contention in both title races. In the end third place on the season ending Atlas Copco Gold 400 – behind van Pletzen/Pieterse and Naeem Moosajee (Tyre Rack Stryker) – was enough to give the Fouries both championships.
A win on the Sun City 400 was crucial for the husband and wife combination in that it took both the overall and Class A championships into the final race. Hutchison finished third in the overall driver title race with Coetzee Labuscagne (4x4 Mega World Porter) and Class P champion John Telford (Calcamite Hellcat) a long way behind.
Hutchison also finished third in the Class A stakes with Labuscagne again fourth and John Thomson fifth in a Zarco Magnum. Labuscagne missed the final event after undergoing knee surgery, while Thomson and navigator Maurice Zermatten will feel they under achieved during the season.
The overall and Class A co-driver championships were desperately close. Ms Fourie took the overall title from Stassen by one point with Pieterse four points behind, and the Class A title by one point with Stassen and Pieterse tied for second.
Both Ms Fourie and Pieterse missed events during the season. Sandra Labuscagne who took over driving duties from her father at the final event was fourth and Zermatten fifth.
Telford and co-driver Victor Ntsekhe who endured an event filled with challenges were gifted the Class P title when Nic Goslar and Andrew Massey (SA Clinics Zarco Magnum) retired 50 kilometres into the Atlas Copco Gold 400. The two crews were the only ones left in the title fight, with Werner Kennedy/Thinus Venter (Live Lesotho Aceco) in third place after a disappointing end to the season when they failed to finish the final two events.
Ms Fourie took the award for the highest placed lady competitor with her husband finishing what was by far their most successful season in cross country racing. The pair finished with two victories and three other visits to the podium.