Series under new management

WINDS OF CHANGE IN OFF ROAD RACING The Absa Off Road Championship is under new management. Long-serving Motorsport South Africa Off Road Car Racing Commission president Piet Swanepoel has severed his ties with off road racing to concentrate on...

WINDS OF CHANGE IN OFF ROAD RACING
The Absa Off Road Championship is under new management.

Long-serving Motorsport South Africa Off Road Car Racing Commission president Piet Swanepoel has severed his ties with off road racing to concentrate on other aspects of his motorsport involvement. In the interim veteran competitor and administrator Richard Schilling, a former MSA president, has taken over as caretaker president of the off road commission.

"New avenues have opened up for me in motorsport, and I am looking forward to meeting new challenges," said Swanepoel who is a former national rally and off road champion. Swanepoel is also active as clerk of the course in various circuit racing championships.

"The parting of the ways with off road racing has been amicable, and my services will be available on a consultancy basis" said Swanepoel. "I am happy that I leave behind me a championship that is often referred to as a jewel in the MSA crown."

Schilling said that in the wake of Swanepoel's departure, the MSA Off Road Car Racing Commission was being restructured. This included the appointment of a new executive committee.

"Despite Piet's departure it is business as usual," said Schilling. "We thank Piet for the work and dedication he put into the sport over the years, but now have an ideal opportunity to review the workings of the off road commission.

"It is likely there will be some changes with these aimed at meeting the commercial and sporting demands and challenges that face off road racing in the short and long term."

Schilling added the commission had a sound working relationship with Absa, the sport's principal sponsor. This applied also to Ford, Nissan and Toyota who are also partners in off road racing and augured well for the continued growth of the sport.

Absa marketing head William James said Swanepoel would be missed. He was confident, however, the sport would continue to go from strength to strength under the revamped commission.

"Richard is a highly experienced competitor and administrator, and has good people working with him," said James. "He has the ear of fellow competitors and I don't think there is any doubt the sport is in good hands."

James will also head the newly formed marketing committee. The committee's mandate is to add a "new dimension" to off road racing in terms of sporting and commercial matters.

The next event on the championship calendar is the Eastern Cape 500 on April 18 and 19. The race is round two of the Absa Off Road Championship and will be based in Port Elizabeth.

-credit: msa

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