|What||Morocco Desert Challenge Final Report|
|When||Saturday 20 April 2019|
Hennie happy to reach Moroccan finish line
Hennie de Klerk and Johann Smalberger’s Moroccan Sahara dune adventure is complete. The South African crew ended sixth on Saturday’s final stage to drive their TreasuryOne Amarok onto the finishers rostrum in an academic 23rd place overall at Oujda-Saïdia Saturday afternoon to conclude a treacherous 3 000km eight-day race across the Sahara Desert as de Klerk added an African finisher’s award to his Dakar rookie trophy earned in the dunes of the South American Atacama Desert and Andes Mountains last year.
"Wow that a race of extremes!” Hennie de Klerk admitted. "There were the highs of the first few days when we were running near the front of the field, the low of losing time when I raced with a tummy bug followed by another high the next day when we were seriously back on the pace and then the major downer the next day when the diff and one of our shock absorbers gailed to leave us with over 24 hours of time penalties. Then it was back to a high as we showed good pace as we nursed the car home."
"It was an incredible week for the whole team,” navigator Johann Smalberger added.” We experienced extremes of terrain from fast, twisty WRC-like tracks to tyre munching rocky roads and of course, the dunes that sorted the men from the boys, but Hennie’s Dakar experience and relentless Namibia dune training meant we cruised through where many got so stuck that organisers suggested competitors pack enough water as they could not rescue all competitors stuck in the dunes!
"The weather also had its extremes,” team manager Roy Obery explained. “The desert was stifling hot some days, but cool in the evening and then came the unrelenting wind and the dust that forced its way into every nook and crevice. “Then the desert dropped as far as five below zero as we worked our way back towards the coast and the hot showers organisers promised, were no where to be found!"
“Overall, our TreasuryOne team delivered brilliantly throughout,” Hennie de Klerk concluded. “It started with a mad rush across Europe when we had to go to Rotterdam instead of Barcelona to fetch the race bakkie after the ship docked late, “in the race, Stuart and Justin from WCT pulled out all the stops, especially to sort that diff and get the car back together for the next days stage.
“It was also frustrating for us knowing that we would have been really quick with four serviceable shocks on the car, but it was still pleasing that the results were still there, even with one hand tied behind our backs. “It was also frustrating when most of our front-running rivals crashed out of contention and we were so far back after penalties, but then again, we were not alone in being punished for a small technical issue as several front runners were around us in the final results.
“On reflection, we ran well every day and if you deduct our time penalty, we'd have finished in the top five, so in a manner of speaking it was a job well done. “We have now raced the deserts of South America and Africa so now our next stop is Asia — bring it on!"
Issued on behalf of TreasuryOne Motorsport
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