The stakes will be high for Special Vehicle category teams locked in stalemate situations at the top of the overall and class championships when they head for the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, round three of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, from June 26 to 28.
The iconic event is the halfway mark in the season, and could be a turning point in the overall and Class A and Class P title chases.
As matters stand all three championships are deadlocked and, as the song goes, something’s got to give.
Former champions Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen (Motorite BAT Viper) and Lance Trethewey/Geoff Minnitt (LTE BAT Venom), are locked together at the top of the overall and Class A championships.
Both crews have scored a win and a second and find themselves 20 points clear of Brett Parker and co-driver VZ van Zyl – who won the Desert Race with Greg Daus way back in 2002 in the Sizanani Plastics Jimco.
Based on results on the RFS Endurance and Sugarbelt 450, the Hutchison/Stassen and Trethewey/Minnitt combinations look to be the class horses in the field, and the danger for Parker/van Zyl and the crews behind them is that the championship could turn into a two horse race.
Third placed Jimmy Zahos and Zaheer Bodhanya (Cobalt Racing Stryker) are 35 points behind the two leaders, with fourth placed John Thomson/Maurice Zermatten (Zarco Magnum) a further three points adrift.
There will be plenty of local support for Botswana drivers Keith du Toit and Mogrey Mabille who will be out in BAT models.
Du Toit, who finished on the podium with Keith Solomon in 2013, will be partnered this time by Robbie Coetzee with the experienced Zelda Niemand co-driving for Mabille.
The qualifying race on June 26 to determine grid positions will be run over 100 kilometres and will start at 11:30.
Heats one and two on June 27 and 28 will be run over two laps of approximately 250 kilometres – with a compulsory 20 minute stop after the first loop – and will start at 8:30.