• Special Vehicle championship to tighten up even more at penultimate round

The Harrismith 400, round five of the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS) that takes place on Friday and Saturday, 14 and 15 September in the eastern Free State, will reward consistency with a healthy amount of points and could easily tip the scales in the Special Vehicle championship title chase.

The overall winners will be adding their names to the list of new winners of the Harrismith 400, the penultimate event of the season, and an intense chase for victory and points towards the titles can be expected.

In Class A, Stefan van Pletzen/Jaco Pieterse (Live Lesotho Chenowth) missed out on the Harrismith 400 victory last year when they had to settle for second place. They have already won twice this season including taking the victory at the recent Atlas Copco 400 in Bronkhorstspruit and getting on to the top step again, might just be what the doctor ordered for their title chase.

They will, however, need to keep it clean and tidy if they want to catch the ever consistent Coetzee Labuscagne and daughter Sandra Labuschagne-Jonck (4×4 Mega World ARB Porter) who lead the overall and Class A standings despite only having won once this year. The father and daughter team will also have to fend off John Telford/Victor Ntsekhe (BAT Warbird) who, except for not finishing one event, finished as the Class A runners-up at each of the other races to date. They trail the leaders by a mere six points and this will motivate them to continue their sterling performance although time is running out to make a dash for the title.

Werner Kennedy/CJ van Pletzen (Live Lesotho Porter) were the last finishers at this event last year but lying fourth in the Class A championship will serve as inspiration to make it to the finish line, no matter what. They are just behind their team-mates in the standings and it will be interesting to see if team orders come into play at the end of the season.

KwaZulu-Natal crew André and Ralph Voigts (Voigts Group BAT Venom), winners of the Battlefields 400, have only competed once this season and based on their performance pose a real threat and could move into the top five in the championship. Lance Trethewey/Adriaan Roets (LT Earthmovers BAT Venom) have not yet got out of the blocks, but if they do, they could run with the frontrunners and cause an upset. Like Trethewey/Roets, Talha and Taahir Moosajee (Dunlop Stryker) have yet to open their scorecards.

In Class P, Keith Makenete/Ntaote Bereng (BAT Spec 2) will be locking horns with Nic Goslar/Joe Lima (SA Clinics Zarco Magnum). Goslar leads the Class P drivers’ standings and another good result will see him take a firm grip on the title while Lima can better his current third place in the navigators’ standings.

In the Interprovincial Side-by-Side Challenge, Nico du Rand will have a new partner in the Can-Am with Henry Köhne giving the instructions this time. Du Rand can extend his lead in the class but will have to battle it out with regulars Werner Mostert/Rob Green (Can-Am Maverick X3 XRS) who have been competing and scoring as consistently as the leaders while Ernest Roberts/Stuart Creevy (Can-Am Maverick) will be looking to add more points to their first set of points claimed at Bronkhorstspruit.

On Friday, 14 September competitors will take on the short 40 kilometre qualifying race at 13:00 to determine the starting grid for Saturday when the action will start at 08:00. The route will consist of a 170 kilometre loop to be repeated twice. Race headquarters as well as the start/finish and designated service park will be situated at the Eeram Farmers Complex.

Access to the various spectator points along the route as well as the Eeram Farmers Complex, is free.