The Toyota Desert Race 1000, round of the South African National Cross Country Series (SACCS) that took place over three days 21, 22 and 23 June, and almost a thousand kilometres at Selebi-Phikwe in Botswana this weekend, was a real test for the big and powerful cars in the Special Vehicle category with extremely tight routes, lots of trees and thick dust adding to their challenge.
In the end it was Lance Trethewey and Adriaan Roets (LT Earthmovers BAT) who took the overall victory in the Special Vehicle category. They posted the fastest time after the Qualifying Race on Friday and were again fastest after the racing section on Saturday. A different route awaited the teams on the final day and although it was again tight and punishing not allowing for any mistakes, Trethewey/Roets held it together to take the overall victory in the category while they also claimed the Class A win.
Experience and patience played an important role in the outcome of the final TDR 1000 results. Clint Gibson proved that he had what it takes to finish on the podium when he and Alaric Smith (Dirt Sport Stryker) claimed second place overall after working their way up from fourth. They also claimed the runner-up result in the Class A championship.
John Thomson, who alternated between two navigators, Clint McNamara and Maurice Zermatten in the Zarco, raced patiently to ensure reaching the finish line. Their determination was rewarded with third place overall and in Class A.
After a great start to their first TDR 1000 adventure, the young Moosajee brothers, Taahir and Talha (Dunlop Stryker) dropped back to fourth place on the overall standings after three days of tough racing. Finishing their first Botswana event and walking away with a healthy haul of points towards their championship challenge, made their efforts worthwhile.
They were followed by three Class P teams with Nic Goslar/Andrew Massey taking the victory after spending a total of 14 hours and 20 minutes in their SA Clinics Zarco. This was a great present for Massey who spent his birthday on Saturday in the navigator seat in the Botswana bush. The 2018 winner, Julio Ferreira, who teamed up with Johan Basson in the Aceco this year, finished sixth overall and walked away with the silverware for their runner-up result in Class P.
Botswana racer, Lepsy Mosope, made his home-crowd proud when he finished the TDR 1000 with navigator, Stewart van Graan in the Zarco. They were third in Class P and seventh overall. It was only Van Graan’s second TDR 1000 after he finished this gruelling race in 1989 with his dad in a buggy. Mosope has participated previously in the motorcycle and car categories.
There was heartache for John Telford/Victory Ntsekhe (Calcamite BAT) who finished third on Saturday, but a broken front control arm on the first of the two loops on the final day, forced them to a halt. It was the first race they could not finish from the last 21 races they competed in. Their 17 podium finishes are testimony of their reliability and consistent performance.
There was also disappointment for Keith du Toit/Xander Mare (White Star Racing BAT), Ralph and Andre Voigts (Dirt Sport BAT) who managed to score points towards the championships during the weekend, but could not complete the full race distance while Sandra Labuschagne-Jonck and husband, Jaco (Total Agri Porter) as well as Zaheer and nephew Lais Bodhanya (Jimco) had a difficult TDR 1000 and could only complete the Qualifying Race on Friday.
The TDR 1000 also claimed its victims in the Side x Side National Championship with four teams, all competing with Can-Am Maverick SxS vehicles, managing to complete the full racing distance over the three days. The victory went to brothers Werner and Leon Mostert who were the fastest after the Qualifying Race on Friday and finished second on Saturday. This result and accompanying points will boost their lead in the championship standings and the national title will be their main focus during the second half of the season.
They were closely followed by the paraplegic young racer, Wickus Haasbroek and his navigator, Jurgens Smith who finished just over six and a half minutes behind them. It was their first TDR 1000. Christo Rose/Dirk Swart rounded off the SxS podium after completing their first outing in Botswana successfully. The ex Botswana driver, Michael Tilney and Ryan Peinke finished fourth in the SxS category.
The winners on Saturday, Dean Bradbury/Rikus Hattingh had to call it a day after the first of the two loops on the final day as did Dewald van Breda/Johann du Toit and Markus Labuschagne/Neil Putter. They all, however, scored some points towards the SxS championship during the weekend, but will have to tackle the TDR 1000 again to chase the elusive finishers medal.