Mpumalanga moved to Sun City August 23th

The Toyota Dealer 400, round five of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, will be run at Sun City on August 30 and 31. The event, scheduled to be run in Mpumalanga on August 23 and 24, will carry additional contingency funding from Sun City. The...

The Toyota Dealer 400, round five of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, will be run at Sun City on August 30 and 31.

The event, scheduled to be run in Mpumalanga on August 23 and 24, will carry additional contingency funding from Sun City. The Mpumalanga race was cancelled by the MSA Off-Road Car Racing Commission, after forestry officials refused to grant permission to use roads in the White River/Sabie areas because of fire hazards.

Piet Swanepoel, president of the MSA Off-Road Car Racing Commission, said the switch from Mpumalanga to Sun City had been an easy decision to make. The Sun City 400 was a round of the national championship until 1996, and earlier this year the Sun City 200 was run as a regional event.

"The Commission observed the regional race with a view to the event forming part of the Bankfin Off Road Championship in 2003," Swanepoel said. "It conformed in all respects to the criteria set down for national events and, despite the short notice, we had no hesitation in rubber stamping the change in venues.

"Sun International will also evaluate the Toyota Dealer 400 with a view to providing full backing for a Sun City event in 2003, and we welcome the additional funding they have provided."

Swanepoel added it was hoped Sun City's proximity to Johannesburg, Pretoria and other major centers would draw large numbers of spectators. "The championship, sponsored by Bankfin, the specialist vehicle finance division of ABSA Bank, is highly competitive, there will be plenty of action and the lure of Sun City is an added attraction," he said.

"It is disappointing that the Mpumalanga event had to be cancelled," Swanepoel said. "It would have broken new ground for off-road racing, but it is important that the Bankfin Off Road Championship be run over the full complement of eight races."

The Toyota Dealer 400 will be organised by Adri Roets and his team from Off-Road South Africa. "It has been a bit of a rush, but we are fortunate in that after the Sun City 200 most of the infrastructure was already in place," Roets said.

"The timetable will be the same as for the Mpumalanga event, and at the moment we are putting the finishing touches to what should be a very good race in challenging conditions."

The route for the Toyota Dealer 400 on August 30 and 31, round five of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, will have about it a touch of all things to all men.

The course for an event that replaces the Toyota Dealer 400 scheduled for Mpumalanga on August 23 and 24 will provide competitors with a few problems. At the same time, however, it will be spectator friendly for spectators.

Organised by Adri Roets and his team from Off-Road South Africa, the event will be based at the Sun City sports complex on the fringes of the main entrance to the popular Pilansberg resort. The Designated Service Point (DSP) will also be located at the sports complex, and with bar and restaurant facilities will also provide competitors and spectators with all the home comforts.

"The route is based on the Sun City 200 regional event run earlier in the year, combines a bit of everything and is going to be a tough test," said Roets. "The start and finish will be at the sports complex, with the course made up of a single 115 kilometre loop which competitors will complete three times.

"There will be plenty of action at the DSP, with the route spectator friendly in that there are plenty of good vantage points within easy reach on tar and good gravel roads."

A 40 kilometre prologue on August 30 will determine grid positions for racing section two on August 31. The prologue will start at 13h00 and will be run in classes.

The main event will get underway at 08:00 on Saturday morning, August 31 with the first vehicle expected at the finish at 14:00.

-msa-

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