The Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre near Benoni has joined the growing ranks of sponsors involved in the SA Off Road Championship, which is presented by Bankfin, Absa's specialist vehicle and asset finance division.

With effect from this weekend's Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana, the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre will sponsor the medical rescue helicopter on the remaining six events in the 2003 championship.

"Given the remote nature of off road racing where competitors cover vast distances over sometime very hostile terrain there is always a risk of an accident and potential injury to competitors," said the president of the MSA Off Road Car Racing Commission, Piet Swanepoel. "It is vitally important that qualified medical personnel are airlifted to the scene of an accident and that patients are stabilised before being transferred to the nearest hospital by ambulance."

"The off road car racing fraternity welcomes the support of the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre, which has joined Absa, Ford, Nissan and Toyota as corporate backers of the SA Off Road Championship," added Swanepoel.

The Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre is also the co-founder of the high profile O'Hagan's / Kopanong Hotel Superteam, which enters four vehicles in the SA Off Road Championship. Two times winners in 2002 John Weir-Smith and Geoff Minnitt spearhead the Superteam attack in a BMW 540 powered Class A Jimco and are supported by father and son Rob and Gareth Wark in a Class B Mighty Mag, Nic Goslar and Glen Steyn in a Class S Raceco and Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre managing director Andre Botha and Beans Heydenrych in a Class F Chevrolet.

"We feel that competitors deserve the best medical attention on events and our sponsorship of the medical rescue helicopter is intended to bolster the ground support provided by event organisers," said Andre Botha, managing director of the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre. "Competitors and their families can now have peace of mind knowing that medical support is just a short helicopter flight away."

"The helicopter will also be used for aerial filming when not required for medical rescue purposes, which will greatly enhance the television coverage of the SA Off Road Championship," added Botha.

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