Penultimate round venue moved due to Mpumalanga fire

The fire ravaged White River area in Mpumalanga has been declared out of bounds for all motorsport activity for the foreseeable future, which has resulted in a change of venue for the Toyota Dealer 400, the penultimate round of the SA Off Road Car...

The fire ravaged White River area in Mpumalanga has been declared out of bounds for all motorsport activity for the foreseeable future, which has resulted in a change of venue for the Toyota Dealer 400, the penultimate round of the SA Off Road Car Racing Championship...presented by Absa.

Event organisers SA Motorsport Club (SAM), which also organise the annual Sasol Rally in the area, were advised today that forestry owners were working round the clock to salvage whatever timber they could and that reforestation of the fire-damaged area was underway.

"Last year's Toyota Dealer 400, which was scheduled in August, was moved to the Pilanesberg area due to the drought conditions and attendant fire risk in Mpumalanga and for that reason we rescheduled this year's event on October 24 and 25," said MSA Off Road Car Racing Commission President, Piet Swanepoel. "Having to again relocate the event is a major blow to SAM, which has already put together a challenging route but we have to respect the wishes of the forestry owners."

"The White River -- Sabie -- Graskop area is prime rally and off road racing country and it is in our best interest to cooperate with the forestry owners during what is a very difficult time for them," added Swanepoel. "Hopefully we will be able to stage an off road race in the area once the forests have been rehabilitated."

The Toyota Dealer 400 will remain in Mpumalanga, which is a key market, and will now be based in the Lydenburg area.

"Naturally we are disappointed that the event will not take place in the White River area but are satisfied with the decision to base the event in the Lydenburg, said Toyota vice president of marketing communications, Francois Loubser. "We have a strong dealer network in Mpumalanga where models in our Land Cruiser and Hilux ranges are top sellers, and we see the event as an ideal opportunity to increase goodwill and awareness in these brands in an important marketplace."

"Basing the Toyota Dealer 400 in the Lydenburg area means that it is more readily accessible for spectators from Gauteng and from major centres in Mpumalanga including Sabie, White River, Nelspruit, Belfast, Groblersdal, Middelburg and Witbank," added Loubser.

Final details as to the location of the Toyota Dealer 400 headquarters and the route will be announced shortly.

-msa-

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Series Other rally