Red-Lined’s complicated Parys weekend
Red-Lined Motoring Adventures closed its 2019 SA Cross Country Racing year off at an initially dusty and then muddy Parys 400 over a rain, hail and World Cup Rugby affected final weekend. The team started with three cars on Friday, but decided to withdraw its newest car on Saturday, before Ernest Roberts and Henry Köhne retired, leaving Dakar duo Thomas Bell and Patrick McMurren to cruise to the finish.
It’s a complicated story to tell, but quite simple in the end — Bell and McMurren started the race aboard their brand new Dakar racer in Friday’s Time Trial, but when it rained so hard with 100mm falling overnight to render the route a mud bath, team boss Terence Marsh made the call to withdraw the new machine from the race to be sure it was ready to ship to the Dakar this week.
“The last thing we needed was to muddy up Thomas and Patrick’s brand new Sabertooth Red-Lined Navara VK56, so we withdrew it from Saturday’s race and Letshego Zulu and I decided to let Thomas and Patrick rack up the muddy miles and get some last minute Dakar practice in our Red-Lined car. “We have missed a whole lot of races anyway and have no championship pretensions, so it was an easy call.”
“We have to salute Terence for his great gesture to let us carry on in his car — we did not want to tarnish our brand new car and decided to stop, so thanks to Terence and Letshego for their splendid sporting call! “We had a good race — the second loop was much drier after the race was stopped to allow us all to watch South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup and we picked up a couple of punctures and slipped down the field. Still, we got some great seat time in ahead of the Dakar — bring it on!”
For Roberts and Köhne and the JCP Roofing Red-Lined Navara, it was a case of what could have been. “We had been well up the top ten all weekend when we paused to watch the rugby,” Ernest explained. “Sadly shortly after that, we hit a bit of bad luck — after cresting a flat out blind rise, my Navara came down hard on a massive rock in the middle of the road and severely damaged our left front suspension lower control arm and we were out. “Sad, but that is racing!”
“Overall we never quite achieved the results we’d have anticipated, but this weekend served its purpose well,” Red-Lined CEO Terence Marsh concluded. “Thomas and Patrick’s brand new Dakar car is still shiny and new and ready to ship this week and they still had all the seat time they needed and an unfortunate incident stopped Ernest and Henry from delivering another great rookie result. “Now it’s all eyes on Dakar — we have some exciting plans for the Saudi race — watch this space!”