South African off-road team Red-Lined Motorsports Adventure guaranteed their place in the 2023 Dakar Rally thanks to a superb victory recently in the “Road to Dakar”, a qualifying event held at the Kalahari Desert 1000. But as well as competing in national and international off-road events, including the Dakar, the Baja and the Africa Eco Race, the Motul-backed team offers driver, navigational and technical training to people who want to improve their off-road skills. They even make their own vehicles, offering drivers and teams a complete turnkey, race-ready package. We caught up with Michelle de Kock, who looks after marketing for the Kyalami-based team, to find out more.
Michelle, could you tell us more about the team’s recent successes and the Road to Dakar victory?
Our team enjoyed a splendid, if in part heart-breaking run, at the biggest event on the SACCS calendar, the Kalahari Desert 1000. All four Red-Lined entries finished this super-tough Kalahari 1000 marathon event, with two teams finishing within the top ten and one of the crews mounting an incredible ‘come from behind’ Road to Dakar win. Conrad Rautenbach and Riaan Greyling were the best of the Red-Lined finishers in seventh overall with a calculated and trouble-free run in what was a really tough race. Eben Basson and Gerhard Schutte had an amazing comeback run from a 15-minute qualifying penalty on their Desert Race debut, to eventually finish ninth overall and win the illustrious Road to Dakar prize, which gives them a free entry into the 2023 Dakar.
That’s a superb finish, but you mention heartbreak, too. What happened?
Ernest Roberts and Henry Kohne were incredibly unlucky after an amazing drive when they suffered huge heartbreak as they had a front driveshaft failure just 30km from the finish line, and all this while lying a very impressive eight overall! This unfortunate mechanical failure robbed them of certain Road to Dakar success as they enjoyed a 32min lead at the time. The team however dug deep with some emergency repairs on route and eventually finished in13th overall. Philip Botha and Roelof Janse van Vuren continued their incredible finishing record by completing this marathon event in 15th overall and extended their unbeaten run to 11 finishers from 11 starts. It wasn’t however without some drama along the way with the guys rolling their race car on the final day.
How has the off-road season been for Red-Lined so far?
These past few months has seen us perform well at not only the third round of the Inland Championship but also at both the second and thirds rounds of the South African Championship. We have also had an exciting three months with our racing events, a somewhat busy assembly line, some new car sales, and then some new additions to our logistics fleet. A big shout out to our technical team for their quality preparation during this time and once again to all our partners such as Motul for their continued support.