The roll of honour at the 2020 South African Cross Country Series awards ceremony, held in Johannesburg last week, reflected a combination of old hands and a couple of new faces.
The likes of Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Glyn Hall and the Toyota Hilux crews of Henk Lategan/Brett Cummings, Giniel de Villiers and Total Excellium Toyota Hilux duo of Chris Visser/Danie Stassen are no strangers when it comes to walking away with silverware. But this year they were joined by a few new faces.
Hall was on hand to collect the trophy as Toyota South Africa walked away with their 13th successive South African Manufacturers Championship, by dominating Class FIA and the overall Production Vehicle category in the 2020 season. The Toyota Gazoo Racing squad went through the season almost unbeaten, conceding only one win to the experienced former champions Visser/Stassen, with defending champions Lategan/Cummings clinching their second consecutive title on the penultimate event, the Ford Parys 400.
In Class T matters were a little different, going into the final two rounds of the championship, the Ford Parys 400 and the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Vaal 400, a slender ten points covered the top four contenders and the battle lines were drawn. In the end victory went to former champions, Johan and Werner Horn who wrapped up the Class T championship in the Malalane Toyota Hilux that started its competition life as a factory entry. A solid performance by the Red-Lined crew Terence Marsh/Letshego Zulu (Nissan Navara) and Wors Prinsloo/Andre Vermeulen in the Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Ranger rounded off the top three.
On the Special Vehicle front and chief among the new faces were KZN crew Tim Howes/Gary Campbell (Tim Drew Property Development Zarco), in their first full season of national championship racing, who took the overall and Class A Special Vehicle honours ahead of another KZN crew Clint Gibson/Alaric Smith (Dirt Sport Stryker) and Sandra Labuscagne-Jonck/Jaco Jonck (Total Agri Porter), with the Jonck couple and Gibson/Smith finishing second and third in the Class A championship. The Class P title went to Trace Price Moor and Shaun Braithwaite (Tip-Top Milk BAT). Guy Henley and Leonard Cremer in the Century Racing CR2, who only competed in the TOTAL AGRI 400, were runners up.
The Side x Side Class G championship, which now forms part of the Special Vehicle category, was won by the consistent Nico du Rand/Rikus Hattingh followed by Theo Erasmus/Edward Odendaal and defending champions Werner and Leon Mostert (Elf Can-Am Maverick) in a season littered with mechanical gremlins.
Du Rand/Hattingh, who finished every race this season, where the highest placed Glass G competitors in the overall Special Vehicle category, level pegging with the Joncks, who pipped them to the post for third place in the overall Special Vehicle Category on the count out of the most number of wins.
The award for the highest placed lady competitor in the SACCS Championship went to newcomer, Rustenburg based, Taye Perry who will be competing alongside Brain Baragwanath in a Century Racing CR 6 in the 2021 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.