Dusty #TeamHilux Rally-Raid delivers excitement in Bronkhorstspruit
Image: Andre Schoeman

The inaugural #TeamHilux Rally-Raid Bronkhorstspruit concluded on Saturday 20 August, at the Soetdoring Restaurant near Bronkhorstspruit in Gauteng, after an exciting event that saw TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA’s Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings take overall victory in the Production Vehicle Category.

They had teammates Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy for company, just 21sec behind, in second place. Third overall went to #TeamHilux Rally-Raid hosts, Johan and Werner Horn, in a Toyota Hilux T1+, similar to that used by the two works crews ahead of them.

The Class T1+ battle was a tough affair, but Lategan and Cummings prevailed despite opening the road on Day two of the event. The pair recorded a clean run in their TGRSA Toyota Hilux, closely followed by teammates De Villiers and Murphy. The two TGRSA crews were in a class of their own, with third-placed Johan and Werner Horn some 7min 9sec behind the winners by the time they reached the finish at the Designated Service Park (DSP).

Guy Botterill and co-driver Simon Vacy-Lyle finished in fourth place in Class T1+, driving another TGRSA Toyota Hilux, while the NWM Ford Castrol Team’s Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer rounded out the top five in the class, despite struggling with an overheating rear differential and side-shaft problems during the final loop of the race.

In Class T1.2 for rear-wheel-drive FIA cars, South Africa’s Ernest Roberts and co-driver Henry Köhne (JCP Steel Supplies CR-6) were the pick of the bunch, with the visiting French crew of Mathieu Serradori and Loic Minaudier showing their class to take second place in their Century Racing CR-6, 1min 12sec behind the flying Roberts. Lance Trethewey and Leonard Cremer (King Price Xtreme CR6) rounded out the Class T1.2 podium.

The dice of the weekend may have been between the top crews in Class T1, where stalwart Chris Visser and co-driver Albertus ‘Blikkies’ Venter in a Red-Lined Motorsport REVO faced off against Eben Basson and Leander Pienaar in their #TeamHilux Toyota Hilux T1. After a ding-dong battle, it was Basson/Pienaar who emerge victorious, posting the fourth-fastest time overall. Visser/Venter finished some three minutes behind the flying Basson/Pienaar, but their battle was certainly entertaining to the massive crowd who had made the short journey from Johannesburg and Pretoria to watch the action in Bronkhorstspruit.

The International crew of Daniel Schröder and Ryan Bland were third in Class T1, driving their Nissan Navara. They were followed home by a gaggle of cars grouped closely together, with Schalk Burger and Henk Janse van Vuuren (King Price Xtreme Mercedes-Benz) the pick of that bunch. Behind them came Richard Leeke and Zaheer Bodhanya in their Leeke Motorsport developed car; Philip Botha and Roelof Janse van Vuren (Red-Lined VK56); and Nicolas Pienaar and Carl Swanepoel in their Red-Lined VK50.

Class T saw youngster Jayden Els and co-driver Armand du Toit (King Price Xtreme Renault Duster) pip stalwart Johan van Staden and son Sean (KEC Racing Renault Duster) for the win, with Christo Rose and Arno Olivier taking third place in their Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Ranger.

The next round of the 2022 SA Rally-Raid Championship is the Nampo double-header near the Free State town of Bothaville, which is scheduled for 30 September and 1 October 2022. This will be round four and five of the championship, with the final double-header at Parys, bringing the season to a close.