Castrol Team Toyota’s Duncan Vos and Rob Howie and Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy finished third and fourth in their Class SP Toyota Hilux 4x4s in the inaugural Nkomazi 400 cross country race which ended in the Mpumalanga Lowveld town of Malalane on Saturday afternoon.
The second round of the Donaldson South African Cross Country Championship was won by former champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst (Ford Ranger) from Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau (Toyota Hilux).
The local community of Nkomazi, which incorporates Malalane, across the Crocodile River from the Kruger National Park, turned out in their thousands to support the event, which took place in unseasonably overcast and mild conditions. Local Toyota dealer Malalane Toyota was prominent in staging the event in the area and it turned out to be one of the best race weekends ever enjoyed by the cross country racing community.
With five Toyota Hilux 4x4s in the top six – Johan van Staden and Mike Lawrenson were fifth and Malcolm Kock and Johan Burger finished sixth – Toyota won the manufacturers’ team prize for the second event in a row.
Toyota also won Class D with Jason Venter and Vincent van Alleman crossing the finish line at the Riverview Primary School in Malalane in ninth place overall in their Hilux.
Punctures for both Castrol Team Toyota Hilux 4x4s prevented a possible 1-2 in Friday’s 66-kilometre prologue that determined the start order for Saturday’s race, with reigning national production vehicle champions Vos and Howie coming in fourth and team-mates Taylor and Murphy finishing seventh in the prologue.
“It was a tight and quite technical route with little opportunity to overtake,” reported Vos. “There was a lot of dust in the early part of the route and slippery roads, muddy patches and morning mist all added to the challenge. We had a clean run and must be satisfied with our third place under the circumstances.”
Taylor commented: “It was a very enjoyable event with a route that was new to all of us and which was both interesting and challenging. Starting seventh was always going to make finishing in the top three difficult and the guys who finished ahead of us all had a good day. We pushed as hard as we could under the conditions and were happy to make up three places by the finish.”
The next round of the championship is the Toyota Sugarbelt Dealer 400 in KwaZulu-Natal on May 17 and 18.
Toyota Motorsport Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Supplier and Technical Partners
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Castrol, Toyota Financial Services, Imperial Toyota Group, Innovation Group, Bosch, Donaldson, Edgecam, Ferodo, NGK, SKF and Spanjaard.