Maiden Off Road wins in Sun City 400


This weekend's Sun City 400 national Off Road event saw what could be the making of two future stars when youngsters Christiaan du Plooy and Henk Janse Vuuren won their first Production Vehicle race in an RFS BMW X3.

It was also a winning start for the Pretoria youngsters as they won the Donaldson Prologue that determined grid positions for the race.

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Christiaan du Plooy and Henk Janse Vuuren cruised to their first Production Vehicle victory.Championship leaders Duncan Vos and Rob Howie were relegated to seventh place after a penalty.

In the end, Du Plooy and Janse van Vuuren reached the finish line a good two minutes ahead of Anthony Taylor and Chris Birkin (Castrol Toyota Hilux).

Du Plooy exclaimed "It is an awesome feeling. It hasn't sunk in yet, but it was a trouble free weekend for us."

There was also a first podium finish for Ruwacon Ford Ranger crew Louw de Bruin and Riaan Greyling. De Bruyn is a former Special Vehicle category champion but this was his first Production Vehicle category podium finish.


Championship leaders Duncan Vos and Rob Howie, in the second Team Castrol Toyota, had a less than spectacular time and were penalised 15 minutes for a designated service park transgression at the end of the first of the two 175km loops that made up the race.

The incident dropped Vos and Howie down to seventh place. The penalty also put an end to a run of three wins in a row for the Castrol Toyota crew.

It also saw du Plooy/Janse van Vuuren and Taylor/Birkin make inroads into what had been a comfortable championship lead for Vos and Howie. Going into the race Vos and Howie held a 33 point lead over Taylor and Birkin.

Taylor and Birkin were hit by a puncture on the second loop, but du Plooy and Janse van Vuuren effectively won the race on the Friday prologue.

On a tight and dusty route running at the front of the field was a huge advantage for the RFS crew.

Fourth placed Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, in the Ford Racing Ranger, also benefitted from the penalty dished out to Vos and Howie. They finished comfortably clear of Pikkie Labuschagne and Rikus Erasmus (Ruwacon Toyota Hilux) who overcame an overnight five minute penalty which dropped them way down the start order to force their way into the top five.


In the Special Vehicle category, KwaZulu-Natal crew Lance Trethewey and Carl Wichmann (LT Earthmovers BAT) scored a maiden national championship victory when they finished 57 seconds clear of Atlas Copco BAT crew Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson.

What makes it more spectacular is that Trethewey and Wichmann finished the first of the two 175km loops that made up the race without brakes. They were then hit by a puncture on lap two but, hampered by dust that made overtaking a risky business, van Staden and Lawrenson could only close to within a minute of the KZN crew.

It was, however, a good weekend for van Staden and Lawrenson with provisional scoring taking them into the overall lead in the Special Vehicle championship.

Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT) arrived at Sun City with a four point championship lead, but could only manage fourth place behind Mark Corbett sand Julien Hardy in the Century Racing CR4.

For Corbett and Hardy, who designed the CR4, it was their best result of the season. For Hutchison and Stassen, however, it was a disappointing result.

The next round of the championship is the 4x4 Mega World 400 at Carnival City on August 31 and September 1.

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