All systems go for Desert 1000

The highlight of this year’s SA Cross Country racing season arrives this weekend, with the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana set to test crews and vehicles over three days of tough competition.

The Production Vehicle category will see tough competition, with Gazoo Toyota Hilux teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy, Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings currently tied at the top of the overall and FIA Class points ladder. Their closest competitors in the premier class are Shameer Variawa and Juan Möhr in the Gazoo Toyota Hilux and Ernst Roberts and Riaan Greyling in the Red-Lined Motorsport Nissan Navara.

Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable (Castrol Ford Ranger) lead the Class T division, chased by teams like Johan and Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux), Jacques van Tonder and Sammy Redelinghuys (Ford Ranger) plus Gary Bertholdt and Geoff Minnitt in the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux.

The defending Class S champs David Huddy and Gerhard Schutte (Nissan Navara) will lead the class going into the Desert Race, challenged by Jannie and Pieter Visser (Toyota Hilux).

The Special Vehicle category will see Lance Trethewey and Adriaan Roets in the LT Earthmovers BAT as victory favourites, this after winning the first two races of 2018. Challenging them in Class A will be Sandra and Jaco Jonck (Total Agri Porter), John Telford and Victor Ntsekhe (Calcamite BAT), Keith du Toit and AN Other (White Star BAT), Taahir and Talha Moosajee (Dunlop Stryker), Ralph and Andre Voigtt (Voigts Group BAT), Clint Gibson and Alaric Smith (Dirt Sport Stryker).

Class P will see Julio Ferreira and Johan Basson in the Aceco take on Lepsy Mosope and Stewart van Graan in their Zarco, Nic Goslar and Andrew Massey (SA Clinics Zarco) for victory.

The competition in the SideXSide Class, that now has national championship status, will be really tough as a total of nine teams – all competing with CanAm Maverick SxS vehicles – have entered. The Mostert brothers, Werner and Leon, have won both events thus far this year and will be the team to beat.

Chasing them will be crews like Markus Labuschagne and Neil Putter, Christo Rose and Dirk Swart, Dewald van Breda and Johann du Toit. The Toyota Desert Race 1000 will start at 1pm on Friday, with a 60km qualifying race that will determine the starting order for the race the following day when a 440km route will await them.

The leading vehicle will leave the Sam Sono Stadium in Selebi-Phikwe on Saturday at 8.15am, where race headquarters, the start/finish plus the designated service point (DSP) will be situated. This will happen again on Sunday for the final racing section of approximately 400km.

Teams who cannot complete the race on Saturday, will be allowed to start on Sunday. The race can be followed on the RallySafe app. The app also allows users to follow the race closely, keeping users informed with standings, location of each vehicle, split times and other relevant information.

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