Toyota 1000 Desert Race: Sweat and tears in the desert

Last weekend’s Toyota 1000 Desert Race through Botswana produced surprise winners over an all-new, tight, treacherous and tough terrain.

After three tough days and almost 1 000km of racing, the overall Production Category and FIA Class victors were Chris Visser and Philip Herselman in their Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux.

They were followed in the class by Shameer Variawa and Juan Möhr in the Gazoo Toyota Hilux, Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson (Elf Renault Duster), and Red Lined Nissan Navara crews Jaco van Dyk and Michel Rust plus Schalk Burger and Elvene Vonk. In the process, Van Dyk and Rust took the prestigious Road to Dakar award, which comes with a free entry to next year’s Dakar Rally.

Gazoo Toyota Hilux pre-event favourites Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy along with Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings both suffered punctures and damaged suspension after hitting tree stumps. They had to settle for sixth and seventh places in the class, respectively.

The Class T victory went to defending champions Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable in the Ford Castrol Ranger, ahead of teammates Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer in an identical Ford, Jacques van Tonder and Sammy Redelinghuys (Ford Ranger) and John and Werner Horn in the Malalane Toyota Hilux.

Fighting the dust and keeping it together brought the Class S victory for David Huddy and Gerhard Schutte in the Nissan Navara, followed by Jannie and Pieter Visser in the Toyota Hilux.

The overall Special Vehicle and Class A victory went to Lance Trethewey and Adriaan Roets (LT Earthmovers BAT). They were chased to the finish by Clint Gibson and Alaric Smith (Dirt Sport Stryker), John Thomson, who alternated between two navigators Clint McNamara and Maurice Zermatten, in his Zarco, the Moosajee brothers Taahir and Talha (Dunlop Stryker), John Telford and Victory Ntsekhe in the Calcamite BAT.

The Class P victory was claimed by Nic Goslar and Andrew Massey in the SA Clinics Zarco, ahead of Julio Ferreira and Johan Basson (Aceco), Stewart van Graan and Lepsy Mosope in the Zarco.

Four teams in Can-Am Maverick SxS vehicles finished the Side x Side category. The victory went to brothers Werner and Leon Mostert, leading home Wickus Haasbroek and Jurgens Smith, Christo Rose and Dirk Swart, Ryan Peinke and Michael Tilney.

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