The rough and tough recent Mpumalanga 400 once again proved to be a staunch test for many a crew, with a high attrition rate and a route strewn with stories of woe and broken-down rally raid race cars. Breaking down was however the furthest thing from racing driver Philip Botha’s mind. Not only did he successfully complete the event in his Red-Lined Penta VK56 Evo 2 but he went on to extend their unbroken finishing record beyond the incredible 10 000km mark since their first ever race back in August 2020.
This time driving alongside Riaan Greyling for the first time as his regular navigator Roelof Janse van Vuren was away on business, Botha went on to finish his 15th consecutive race. He has now completed an incredible 41 racing stages and racked up an astounding 10,300 kilometres of non-stop racing since his debut just 19 months ago.
“Rumour has it that we have broken all previous rally raid championship rookie finishing records,” Philip Botha admitted. “And it’s something we are hugely proud of as a team, but we’d never have done it if it weren’t for Terence Marsh and his wonderful Red-Lined team. “When we approached Terence just under two years ago, as rank amateurs who had never raced anything before, and told him that we wanted to race the Dakar in the future, he told us in no uncertain terms that to finish first we first have to learn to finish.
“So, we took his words to heart. “The next thing we were out testing a Red-Lined VK50 which we bought and began training and preparing for our first race. “Right from the beginning, we took baby steps, covering distance and acquiring experience, which was Terence’s strict brief. “We gradually upped the pace as we progressed and then we stepped up to a more sophisticated VK56 Evo 2, when the time was right. “And now we are not only regular finishers but have become more competitive amongst a world class field within the South African Rally Raid Championship.
“It’s been an incredible adventure with a fantastic and dedicated team where we have developed from raw rookies into a reasonably competitive amateur racing team. “We remain focussed on our Dakar dream, but we now know that we can go there believing that we can do it.” And that record? “Well, we never set out to break any records and fully understand that it could all change tomorrow, but for now we are really proud of it. “It’s a pretty significant feat to have finished every time we have started in over 10 000 km of racing. “Thanks so much to Red-Lined Motorsport for helping make our dreams come true!”
“We are hugely proud of what Philip and Roelof have achieved,” Red-Lined Motorsport’s CEO Terence Marsh concluded. “We love the challenge of developing rookie crews, with minimal or no experience at all, to seasoned and competitive teams ready to participate anywhere in the world. “The Penta boys have been star students and have remained dedicated and focused on our strategy throughout their journey as the results so well prove. “Now we look forward to further adventures with them, and more importantly help them realise their dream of competing in the Dakar. “That’s what it’s all about!”
*Red-Lined Motorsport Adventures competes with premium strategic partners, the Penta Motor Group, BFGoodrich, Motul, Dragon Energy, Jonnesway Tools, Expand a Sign and Wheel Collision.
Resource: Motorsport Media (www.motorsportmedia.co.za) & Red-Lined Motorsport