Ermelo 400 route preview

ERMELO TOYOTA 400 OFF-ROAD RACE PROMISES TO BE ENJOYABLE FOR ALL The Ermelo Toyota 400, the final round of the SA national off-road championship for motorcycle and quad competitors that will take place on 26 and 27 October, should be the...

ERMELO TOYOTA 400 OFF-ROAD RACE PROMISES TO BE ENJOYABLE FOR ALL

The Ermelo Toyota 400, the final round of the SA national off-road championship for motorcycle and quad competitors that will take place on 26 and 27 October, should be the highlight of the 2007 national off-road racing calendar for more than one reason.

This race will determine the various national class champions and most titles are balanced on a knife's edge. This race does, however, not only cater for national competitors. Bike and quad riders who have participated in a national or regional event in the past or who have done a few fun races in the past are welcome to participate. The organisers of the Ermelo Toyota 400 promise a well-marked route in a beautiful countryside with forests, large dams and mountains and a well- organised race that will be safe and enjoyable for all.

On Saturday evening (27 October), the event will be rounded off by a prize giving in the Ermelo Civic Centre with seating for 500 people with entertainment including a live band. There is already lots of activity at Sheepmoor - the heart of the action for the race. The race route has been finalised, pre-ran by several capable quad and bike riders and as the first rains have already fallen, the anticipated dust problem has receded.

This coming week sees the beginning of the route marking which will be done exactly according to the rule book while additional rally style arrows will also be used. The emphasis will be on the marking of danger points as the organisers want to eliminate injuries as far as possible. In the case of an injury, a full-time doctor in a helicopter, several ambulances and qualified MSA medical staff will be available.

The route will consist of two loops - the shorter loop will start at the De Rust Guest House. It is a very scenic route that will travel through valleys, over white sandstone mountains and through forests and will end 60km later at the De Rust Guest House. This loop will not be too technical, but it will be quite rocky, twisty and challenging. The frontrunners are expected to average a speed of no more than 50 km/h on this loop which will have to be completed twice by both national quad and motorcycle competitors.

The longer loop will be faster and even more scenic. It will also start at the De Rust Guest House and will pass underneath the main Piet Retief / Ermelo road to the north, climbing several hills and then traversing through spectacular savannah grass fields and dense forests around the shores of Jericho and Morgenstond dams to end at the guest house again.

This loop will have a refuel and service point exactly at the halfway mark with adequate facilities for service crews and spectators. The longer loop will be significantly faster than the short loop. For safety reasons, motorcycle and quad competitors will not share the same loop at the same time.

Riders on both loops will not be without help as officials will be situated at least 15 kilometres apart while farmers will be covering 10 kilometre sections of the route. In total 39 farms will be traversed which entails the opening of some 112 gates before the race commences.

Riders with GPS's can make use of the facility to download the route prior to the race. This will, however, just serve as a backup as the organisers are ensuring competitors that it will be virtually impossible to get lost with the high standard of route marking that will be done.

The organisers strongly recommend that all participants complete documentation and scrutineering at Ermelo Toyota on Friday afternoon. Those competitors who are unable to do so, can do documentation and scrutineering on Saturday morning from 05h00 to 07h00am (motorcycles) and from 07h00 to 08h00 (quads) at the start / finish venue at the De Rust Guest House, 39km east of Ermelo on the Piet Retief road. Food and refreshments will be available at De Rust Guest House throughout Saturday.

-credit: etkomm

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