Consistency has been the name of the game for the leaders in the Special Vehicle Championship as well as the Side x Side National Championship in the 2019 South African National Cross Country Series (SACCS). With the season reaching the halfway mark at the Toyota 1000 Desert Race (TDR 1000) on 21, 22 and 23 June in Selebi Phikwe, Botswana, the number of points scored will play an important role in the second half of the season.
With two of the six rounds of the 2019 SACCS now something of the past and four rounds remaining with double points up for grabs at the TDR 1000, the rest of the season looks extremely exciting. Although the leaders have gathered all the points they could up to now, it does not mean that titles are cast in stone. Anything can still happen, and history has shown that things can change particularly at the TDR 1000.
In the Special Vehicle Championship, Lance Trethewey/Adriaan Roets (LT Earthmovers BAT) are on a winning streak after staking their claim at the first two events of the season. This means they are leading the overall standings as well as the Class A championship and a hat-trick will look good in the record books. They lead John Telford/Victor Ntsheke (Calcamite BAT), who have also scored consistently so far this season, by 19 points. The Botswana desert, however, has a way of turning the tables and although there is a good possibility these standings will look the same after the event, there is also a chance that it could look different.
The defending Special Vehicle Navigator’s Champion, Sandra Labuscagne-Jonck, has moved in behind the wheel of the Class A winning Total Agri Porter with husband, Jaco, reading the notes. Although the couple are still getting to grips with their racing partnership, they have persevered and are third in the overall standings, eight points behind Telford/Ntsheke.
Taahir and Talha Moosajee (Tyre Rack Stryker) started the season on a high note but could not score at the recent Berg 400. They are fourth on the overall standings, 10 points behind the Jonck couple. Clint Gibson/Boyd Dreyer who started their season at the Berg 400 are in fifth while reigning Class P champions Nic Goslar/Andrew Massey also had a late start to the season and are sixth overall.
The standings in the Class A championship look exactly the same as the overall standings where Trethewey/Roets lead Telford/Ntsheke by 19 points with the Joncks in third place, a further eight points adrift. The Moosajees are fourth and trail the Joncks by 10 points with Gibson/Dreyer rounding out the top five, a further 13 points back. The rest of the teams could not finish an event so far this season but scored five points for starting and will have a tough battle to get back in the game.
Nic Goslar/Andrew Massey missed the season opener at Dullstroom, but a Class P victory at Winterton sees them leading the class ahead of Keith Makenete/Ntaote Bereng after also only participating in the most recent event.
The SxS Class received National Championship status this year and that raised the bar of competition. Teams must complete the full race distance and grinding battles for the titles were seen at the first two rounds. The TDR 1000 will be an extreme test for teams and their Can-Am Maverick SxS vehicles and interesting results can be expected.
The Mostert brothers, Werner and Leon, are the leaders after taking the first two victories of the season. They lead Gerry van der Byl/Andrew Katay by nine points and this gap is too small for comfort as is the gap of only two points between the runners-up and Peter Walter/Shaun de Villiers in third place. With only 11 points covering the teams on the SxS podium, fierce racing is on the cards at the upcoming TDR 1000. Ashley Bradbury/Timmy Botes are also within striking distance and are 13 points adrift.
Three days of racing, long distances and the gruelling Botswana desert will contribute to the challenge for the SxS National Championship competitors and the double points on offer, will be much appreciated.