Gauteng 400 route, format changes announced

ROUTE AND FORMAT CHANGES FOR FORD CARNIVAL CITY 400 Changes to the route and format look like turning the Ford Carnival City 400 on November 18 and 19, the final round of the Absa Off Road Championship, into an even more challenging event. Not...

ROUTE AND FORMAT CHANGES FOR FORD CARNIVAL CITY 400

Changes to the route and format look like turning the Ford Carnival City 400 on November 18 and 19, the final round of the Absa Off Road Championship, into an even more challenging event.

Not that the event needs beefing up where those still in contention for South African titles are concerned. All but one championship - including the prestige Manufacturers Championship and the overall drivers and co-drivers championships in both the Production and Special vehicle categories - will be decided on an event organised by the Koepel Club.

"The event was run for the first time in 2001, and this year we will be breaking from tradition," said event organiser Willie Prinsloo. "About 75 percent of the route is new and has not been used on previous Carnival City events.

"We have made a huge effort to produce a route that is a challenge for both the Production and Special Vehicle crews, and we think we have come up with the right balance."

Willie added that indications were that the route would be substantially slower than in previous years. And, if there are significant rainfalls in the area, the route could become even more of a challenge.

"There are long sections of winding and virgin terrain, rocky outcrops and numerous water crossings," Willie said. "There are also plenty of fast sweeping roads in agricultural areas and, once again, the sting in the tail is the mountain section around Heidelberg."

In another break from tradition this year's route has been re-engineered to form a figure of eight. This will be made up of a south loop of around 144 kilometres, and a north loop of 98 kilometres.

"Competitors will be required to complete each loop twice, and will also negotiate the stadium loop at Carnival City at the end of each lap," said Willie. "The prologue format has also been changed and competitors will now have to complete a 45 kilometre route that includes the stadium section."

One thing that has not changed, however, is making the route spectator friendly. There and plenty spectator points, all of them easily accessible from race headquarters at Carnival City, and will allow enthusiasts to get a close up view of what should be some spectacular racing.

An added bonus for off road enthusiasts will see the final round of the Northern Regions Championship for cars and quads run in conjunction with the national event. There will also be a club bike event with the regional competitors required to complete one south and one north loop of the route.

"With additional funding this year from Ford, we have been able to go that extra mile from an organisational point of view," Willie said. "We are looking forward to a tremendous event, and the situation regarding the various championships is, for us, the cherry on top of the cake."

-msa-

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