Atlas Copco, which runs a three-car team in the series, has stepped into the breach to sponsor the Sugarbelt 400, round three of the Absa Off Road Championship, in KwaZulu-Natal on May 21 and 22. The Atlas Copco Sugarbelt 400 was left without a...
Atlas Copco, which runs a three-car team in the series, has stepped into the breach to sponsor the Sugarbelt 400, round three of the Absa Off Road Championship, in KwaZulu-Natal on May 21 and 22.
The Atlas Copco Sugarbelt 400 was left without a sponsor when Nissan withdrew from motorsport at the end of the 2009 season. The event is the only national championship off-road race in KZN and, based at the Beaumont Eston Farmer's Club on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, is traditionally one of the toughest and best supported events of the year.
The race, organised by the Natal Off Road Motor Club, was voted the best event of the year by competitors in 2009 and the Atlas Copco sponsorship is a major boost for the Absa Off Road Championship. Atlas Copco now joins other blue chip sponsorship partners in Absa, Ford, Donaldson Filtration Systems, and Toyota in a championship that is a jewel in the South African motorsport crown.
"The success of our teams in the championship and the marketing and public relations opportunities offered by a professionally run series prompted our decision to sponsor the Sugarbelt 400," said Bernie Hanaray, General Manager Atlas Copco South Africa Compressor Technique Division. "We are looking forward to a great event and a close working relationship with the MSA Off Road Car Racing Commission."
Atlas Copco, with its headquarters in Stockholm, in Sweden, has more than 130 years of experience and the group's global span reaches more than 160 markets with 34 000 employees. The company is a world leader with products and services ranging from compressed air and gas equipment to generators, construction and mining equipment, industrial tools and assembly systems.
Atlas Copco is also committed to aftermarket and rental activity and works in close co-operation with customers and business partners. The company vision is to become and remain 'First in Mind - First in Choice.'
"There is a close relationship in the technology of Atlas Copco products and that of the vehicles used in the Absa Off Road Championship. We see sponsorship of the Atlas Copco Sugarbelt 400 as an extension of our marketing strategy, particularly in relation to the automotive sector,'' Hanaray said. "The event and the success of our team in the series has enabled us to build and maintain awareness in Atlas Copco and our products."
The three-car Atlas Copco team is made up of Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen, the father and son pairing of Nick and Ryan Harper and veteran Bodo Bertholdt, father of Gary, and Philip Herselman who is a Business Line Manager in the Compressor Technique Division of Atlas Copco South Africa. Bertholdt/Vermeulen campaign the Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux in the Production Vehicle category while the Harpers compete in the Atlas Copco BAT in Class A and Bertholdt senior and Herselman in the Atlas Copco BAT in Class P in the Special Vehicle category.
Bertholdt junior and Vermeulen made history last year when they won the Highveld 400 at Carnival City on the East Rand. It was the first overall victory for a privateer team on a national event since the inception of the premier SP Class.
"We are over the moon to have a company like Atlas Copco join our other blue chip partners in the Absa championship," said MSA Off Road Car Racing Commission president Richard Schilling. "It again endorses the strength of our championship and our sport and augurs well for the future.
"It also highlights the marketing opportunities offered by off road racing and as a commission we are aware of the responsibility we have to grow the sport in the future." Race headquarters, the start/finish and designated service point will again be located at the Beaumont Eston Farmer's Club. The route will be spectator friendly with numerous viewing points all within easy reach of race headquarters.
Access to the start/finish and spectator points will be free of charge.