The Special Vehicle Category of the TGRSA 1000 Desert Race, the second round of the 2022 SA Rally-Raid Championship that took place this past weekend (24 to 26 June) at Upington in the Northern Cape, was won by Tim Howes and Gary Campbell in their Tim Drew Properties BAT Spec 4 after a battle throughout the race with runners-up, Trace Price Moor/Shaun Braithwaite (Tip Top Milk BAT Venom).
The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA (TGRSA) 1000 Desert Race, the only marathon event on the SA Rally-Raid calendar, challenged teams over a distance of 880 kilometres on a damp route after recent good rains.
Just under four minutes separated Howes/Campbell and Price Moor/Braithwaite, both competing in Class A of the Special Vehicle Championship, after two days of racing with one day and 326 kilometres to go and the leaders planned to keep it on all four wheels after they landed on their roof during Day Two of the race.
In the end the former champions took the sensible approach to keep their noses clean and claimed the overall Special Vehicle Category victory as well as the Class A win despite nursing a flat, and later, disintegrated tyre for the best part of the final 163km loop on the last day. Price Moor/Braithwaite overcame some trouble to still finish second with Lood du Preez/Chris Visser Jnr (Farmers Market Stryker) third in Class A and sixth overall.
Du Preez/Visser Jnr could not complete the race on Day One and started Day Two way down the field where perseverance saw them finishing fourth in Class A. A good day in the field on the third and final day resulted in them stepping onto the Class A podium and walking away with silverware and a healthy amount of points.
The Class G Side-by-Side (SxS) category was won by the father and son duo of Werner and Ian Mostert (Moto-Netix Racing Can-Am Maverick) after a disastrous start to their race. The team could not complete the 43km Pirelli Qualifying Race that determined the starting order for the first loop on Friday and had to tackle the 171km loop from the back of the field. They eventually completed the first day as the third Class G SxS team and after a trouble-free second day, Team Mostert caught up and were leading the class. They then stuck to their guns on the third and final day to claim the Class G victory and finished third on the overall podium.
They were followed by Geoff Minnitt/Gerhard Snyman (Hydro Power Equipment Can-Am Maverick SxS) who had a consistent race despite losing time with punctures during the course of the race. The final place on the Class G podium belonged to newcomers on the national racing scene, Glen Theron/Craig Galvin (Moto-Netix Racing Can-Am Maverick SxS) who rounded off the overall top five after a tough, but successful event.
It was a steep learning curve for Class P competitors from East London, Quintin Lessing and Noel Acton in the Century CR-T. The team completed the 43km qualifying race, but could then not finish Loop One while they struggled with clutch problems on Day Two and again had to call it a day. Starting towards the back of the field on the final day, they conquered the desert to take the Class P laurels and finished seventh overall.
There was disappointment for Sandra Labuscagne-Jonck (KEC Racing BAT Viper) who, together with stand-in navigator, Zaheer Bodhanya, were third in Class A and fourth overall after Day Two despite various challenges only to be forced to retire on the final day due to gearbox problems. Labuscagne-Jonck‘s regular navigator, husband Jaco Jonck, tackled the first day in the desert with his wife, but had to withdrew as he fell ill with food poisoning.
Two more Class A teams also could not complete the 2022 TGRSA 1000 Desert Race – LC de Jager/Rikus Hattingh (Porter) experienced mechanical issues during the race and did not continue on the final day while local Upington businessman, Willem du Toit and navigator, Victor Fincham (Porter) had to retire due to a gearbox problem.
The defending Class G champions, Cecil and Elardus Larney (Fox Africa Can-Am Maverick SxS) as well as Marko Himmel/Francois Schoonbee (King Price Xtreme Can-Am Maverick) did not start on the last day.
The TGRSA 1000 Desert Race was again a test of endurance and durability and the route and event was thoroughly enjoyed by the SA Rally-Raid competitors.