Eastern Cape: Event length reduced due to fuel prices

EASTERN CAPE RACE REDUCED TO 500 KILOMETRES The Eastern Cape round of the Absa Off Road Championship on April 18 and 19 has been reduced from 1 000 kilometres to 500 kilometres. The race, round two of the championship, was originally scheduled...

EASTERN CAPE RACE REDUCED TO 500 KILOMETRES

The Eastern Cape round of the Absa Off Road Championship on April 18 and 19 has been reduced from 1 000 kilometres to 500 kilometres.

The race, round two of the championship, was originally scheduled to be run over 1 000 kilometres and would be held over three days. The Motorsport SA Off Road Car Racing Commission has, however, stepped in to make the changes.

"The changes were made as a result of the recent massive fuel price hike and further increases expected prior to the event," said commission president Piet Swanepoel. "The commission and the executive committee, which ultimately made the decision, does not like to make changes during the season.

"It became evident, however, that the added expense of running a 1 000 kilometre event would impact heavily on both the factory and privateer teams."

Swanepoel added that the changes were unfortunate, but had been made in the interests of the sport and competitors. Cutting the event by a day would also provide a major saving in terms of accommodation and staff costs.

The event will still start in Port Elizabeth on Friday, April 18 with documentation and scrutineering at the Kings Beach Garden Court. The prologue, to determine start position for the race proper, will start from the King's Beach parking area in close proximity to the Garden Court, and will be run over a distance of 70 kilometres in the Coega/Uitenhage areas.

The race proper will start at King's Beach at 08h00 on Saturday, 19 April with the route, made up of two legs, covering a distance of approximately 430 kilometres. The first leg will take in Coega to Rocklands and will return to the designated service points (DSP) at King's Beach.

There will be a compulsory 15 minute stop for all cars before the start of leg two. This will take competitors into the Longmore Forest region, for many years an integral part of the Volkswagen Rally, before the finish back at King's Beach.

"The change in plan is disappointing but has made our job a little easier," said race and route director Joe Fourie from the Algoa Motorsport Club. "We had already found the 1000 kilometres so all that has really happened is that the event has been condensed from three days to two days, with the route and the action remaining as tough as ever."

Fourie added that the Coega, Rocklands and Longmore Forest areas provided for some superb off road racing terrain. He promised a route that would be interesting, demanding and a true test of skill and endurance.

"The route will also be spectator friendly," said Fourie. "There will be easy access to good viewing points and we are looking forward to a successful event."

-credit: absa

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