Malalane, Mpumalanga - The third round of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship saw reigning Production Vehicle champions Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy get back to winning ways.
The pair scored their second win of the season on the Nkomazi 450, which proved a huge relief for the Class T Castrol Hilux crew after their non finish last time out in Mooi River.
"We never got out the car the whole weekend, and that is the key to winning races," said Taylor. "It was a tough route but we kept it smooth and never made any mistakes."
However, most of the cheers in Mpumalanga were reserved for home town crew Johan and Werner Horn, in the Malalane Toyota Hilux, who had the local community in raptures with their second podium finish in a row.
This left Johan notably stunned: "We would have laughed had anyone suggested before the season we would be on the podium twice in three races," he said.
The final podium place went to Atlas Copco Nissan Navara pair Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson after a steady drive, while Mike Whitehouse and George Myburgh (Regent Racing Nissan Navara) came home fourth to secure their second Class S victory in a row.
Taylor and Murphy inherited the lead early on the first of the two 175km loops that made up the race. Team-mates Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie lost a front wheel when studs came loose and, once in the lead, Taylor and Murphy were in complete control.
Two father and son combinations dominated the Special Vehicle category on the Nkomazi 450.
Former SA champions Quintin and Kallie Sullwald, in the Elegant Fuel BAT Venom, strolled to a convincing victory to reignite their challenge in the overall and Class A title races. The Sullwalds failed to make it to the finish last time out on the Toyota Dealer 450, but cruised to their second win of the season.
The Sullwalds had plenty to spare over another father and son combination in Gerhard and Hardus du Plessis in a Jimco. The du Plessis pair started the day with a 15 point lead in the two title chases, but kept the momentum going with their third podium finish in three races.
For Hardus du Plessis, who is only 16, three podium finishes in his first three races is a remarkable achievement. Again, however, the youngster simply shrugged his shoulders and said his dad did all the hard work.
Third place went to Lance Trethewey and Geoff Minnitt in the LTE/Mortimer Toyota BAT Venom, with the pair overcoming a dodgy qualifying race to stage a strong comeback. It was their first podium in a car recently bought from reigning champion Evan Hutchison.