With two rounds of the SA Rally-Raid Championship now something of the past and five rounds still remaining, those teams who have been finishing and scoring consistently in the Special Vehicle Category, are reaping the rewards with solid positions laying the foundation for the events still to come.
It has, however, not been an easy start to the 2022 season with the recent Toyota Gazoo Racing SA (TGRSA) 1000 Desert Race testing teams and their vehicles to the limit over three days and almost a thousand kilometres in the Upington area in the Northern Cape. A handsome amount of points were up for grabs for teams who completed the distance of the marathon event and new overall leaders emerged after the trying conditions.
After a tight battle in Upington between former champions, Tim Howes/Gary Campbell (Timdrew Properties BAT Spec 4), who rolled their vehicle in the process, but got going again, and Trace Price Moor/Shaun Braithwaite (Tip Top Milk BAT Venom), it was Howes/Campbell who walked away with the overall and Class A laurels to be the new category leaders. Their 68 points are 13 more than runners-up (Price Moor/Brathwaite) and this battle will is likely continue during the rest of the season.
The Mostert father and son crew, Werner and Ian (Moto-Netix Racing Can-Am Maverick) added another Class G Side-by-Side (SxS) victory to their first of the season and their 41 points place them third on the overall podium and still leading Class G. They lead fourth-placed Geoff Minnitt/Gerhard Snyman (Hydro Power Equipment Can-Am Maverick SxS), who were early class leaders at the TGRSA 1000 Desert Race, by seven points.
Ernest Roberts/Henry Köhne (JCP Steel Supplies) are currently fifth, but the team now compete in the Production Vehicle Category as do 10th placed Dewald van Breda/Johann du Toit.
Lood du Preez/Chris Visser Jr (Farmers Meat Stryker) added more points to their tally by finishing third in Class A in Upington and the team are now sixth (29 points) followed by Class G SxS newcomers, Glen Theron/Craig Galvin (Can-Am Maverick) who jumped to seventh place overall (24 points) after finishing a tough desert race in fifth place.
Quintin Lessing/Noel Acton (18 points) won Class P at the TGRSA 1000 Desert Race and are eighth (18 points), three points ahead of Sandra Labuscagne-Jonck and Jaco Jonck (BAT Viper) who could not finish the marathon event due to mechanical issues.
Competitors receive a five point bonus for starting a race and these points can make a difference in the class championships. Howes/Campbell (78 points) are leading the Class A championship with 13 points still separating them from Price Moor/Braithwaite (65 points) while Du Preez/Visser Jr (51 points) are on the podium and within striking range of the two leading teams.
The Jonck couple are fifth (25 points) and will overtake Roberts/Köhne soon while Willem du Toit/Victor Fincham (Porter), who scored points at the season opener, but had to surrender in front of their home crowd due to gearbox problems, are sixth (19 points) although a healthy dose of points in the coming rounds could move them into the top five soon.
Van Breda/Du Toit are seventh (17 points) while Nicholas Pienaar/Carl Swanepoel and LC de Jager/Rikus Hattingh (Porter) are on five points each.
The Mosterts are leading the Class G SxS championship (70 points) with Minnitt/Snyman (59 points) not too far behind and newcomers, Theron/Galvin (32 points) in a strong third place after only competing at Upington. Marko Himmel (King Price Xtreme Can-Am Maverick) struggled in the desert and could not finish the race. He is fourth (25 points) with his navigators, Swartz and Schoonbee on 20 and 5 points respectively, while the defending SxS champions, Cecil and Elardus Larney (10 points) have yet to get their championship onslaught off the ground.
Lessing/Acton are the Class P leaders (25 points) with Keith and Andrew Makenete (BAT Makmobile), who did not compete in the desert race, second (15 points).
The third round of the SA Rally-Raid Championship will take competitors to the Bronkhorstspruit area in Gauteng on 19 and 20 August.