BRONKHORSTSPRUIT 400 2020: SACCS TEAMS IN RACE MODE - EXCITING RACING AND CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS AWAIT AT BRONKHORSTSPRUIT 400

BRONKHORSTSPRUIT 400 2020: SACCS TEAMS IN RACE MODE - EXCITING RACING AND CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS AWAIT AT BRONKHORSTSPRUIT 400

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After a forced break of more than five and a half months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lock-down situation in South Africa and the world, the South African National Cross Country Series (SACCS) is ready to resume with the Bronkhorstspruit 400 taking place this weekend, 14 and 15 August, in the Bronkhorstspruit area on the outskirts of Gauteng. 

The Bronkhorstspruit 400 forms the second round of the 2020 championship which will comprise five rounds, and the battle will be on for every single available point in both the Production Vehicle Category as well as the Special Vehicle Category that now also includes the Side-by-Side (SxS) Class.

In the FIA Class of the Production Vehicle Category, the three Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux teams will again be in action with the pressure on the category leaders, Henk Lategan/Brett Cummings who will not only aim for a second consecutive victory this season, but a hat-trick of Bronkhorstspruit 400 victories. Due to limited international travel, the experienced navigator, Juan Möhr, will stand in for Spaniard Alex Haro, and will read the notes for Giniel de Villiers. Shameer Variawa/Dennis Murphy will also aim to add more points towards their championship onslaught with a good result.

It will only be a second outing in the FIA Class for the Ford Castrol Cross Country Team who will put their two Ford Rangers in the hands of the Woolridge brothers, Lance and Gareth, in the field. After their first taste of an FIA Class podium earlier this year, Lance and navigator Elvené Vonk will hope to expand their experience while Gareth and Boyd Dreyer will make their debut in the FIA Class.

Chris Visser/Danie Stassen (Total Excellium Toyota Hilux) missed the podium at the season opener and will aim to make up for lost points while Marius and wife Jolinda Fourie (Ford Ranger) will also tackle the race with points behind their name.

A look into the left-hand drive Century Racing CR6 cabin with Brian Baragwanath behind the wheel, will reveal South Africa’s own ‘Desert Rose’ Taye Perry in the navigator seat. Perry, who completed the Dakar Rally earlier this year in the motorcycle category, will read the notes for the former quad champion and Dakar Rally podium finisher. Möhr navigated for Baragwanath earlier this season when they fought back from the back of the field to complete the top five in the FIA Class and with more testing kilometres behind the wheel of the left-hand drive two-wheel drive vehicle, points are on the cards for these two bikers.

With the limited number of rounds remaining in the championship, teams will give it their all to earn the maximum amount of points possible. Any points will be the first on the scoreboard this season for Red-Lined Motorsport’s Ernest Roberts/Henry Köhne who will be in action in a brand new Nissan Navara. Johan van Staden again teams up with son Sean (Elf Renault Duster) while Clint Weston/Gerhard Snyman (Schalk Burger Motorsport King Price Xtreme) will also hope for better luck, they were halted by a tree at the Mpumalanga 400, and points at Bronkhorstspruit will be welcomed.

Former Class T champions and current class leaders, Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux) will remember this event last year for the close battle with Gary Bertholdt/Geoff Minnitt (Total Excellium Toyota Hilux). In 2019 they were, however, fighting for the final step on the podium and both teams will hope to be fighting for the top step at this year’s event.

After finishing third in Class T in Mpumalanga in February, Wors Prinsloo/André Vermeulen (Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Ranger) will aim for another podium result while this will be a good opportunity for Terence Marsh/Letshego Zulu (Red-Lined Motorsport Nissan Navara) who earned points with their fourth place earlier this year after a tough battle from the back of the field.

In the Special Vehicle Category, only three teams have entered in Class A with Tim Howes/Gary Campbell (Zarco Magnum), who are currently second, standing a chance to take the overall lead in the category if they claim good points. Sandra Labuscagne-Jonck and husband Jaco Jonck (Total Agri Porter) can also move up from their sixth place and a trouble-free race will be a bonus while André Fourie and Hendrikus Pienaar (BAT Spec3) can use the Bronkhorstspruit 400 to open their scoresheet.

The battle between the Side-by-Sides in Class G will continue while the teams will also hope to better their standings in the overall Special Vehicle Championship. Dean Bradbury/Timmy Botes earned a maiden victory for their Canon Rotex at the season opener and another win will cement their lead in the SxS Class Championship while they can better their third place in the overall Special Vehicle Category.

They will not only be chased by Nico du Rand/Rickus Hattingh (Can-Am Maverick) who are currently third, but also by the defending champions, Werner and Leon Mostert (Elf Renault Can-Am Maverick) who are yearning for an incident free race as well as their first points. Kent Rutherford, this time round accompanied by the experienced Gerhard Schutte, (Red-Lined Motorsport Can-Am Maverick) can better his current fourth place and move onto the podium if all goes according to plan.

It will be a first outing this season for Peter Walter/Shaun de Villiers (Can-Am Maverick) as well as for the accomplished world adventure athlete and track racer, Simon Murray who will be teaming up with Achim Bergmann. Murray will be adding SxS racing in the SACCS to his list of adventures that includes the 2018 Dubai 24 Hour where he was a class winner as well as the Gulf 24 Hour where he won the LMP3 Class in 2019.

The Bronkhorstspruit 400 starts on Friday, 14 August at 13:00 with the 67km Qualifying Race that determines the starting order for the race on Saturday when teams will have to complete the 150km loop twice. The action will start at 08:30 on Saturday with a compulsory 30 minute service break at the Designated Service Park (DSP) before tackling the final loop.  No spectators will be permitted at the venue as well as on the route as per COVID-19 Regulations.

Enthusiasts, followers and supporters can follow the racing action on the RallySafe App which can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store and Google Play Store for iOS and Android devices.

Images: Nadia Jordaan

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