ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP GEARS UP FOR MORE GROWTH
With a new season looming the Absa Off Road Championship is looking for further stability and growth in 2011.
The season opens with the Adenco 400 in Darling, in the Western Cape, on March 11 and 12 and the championship will again comprise eight events throughout South Africa and Botswana. The Absa series is a jewel in the Motorsport South Africa crown and the South African National Off Road Car Racing Association (SANORCRA) will again take a proactive stance in administering the championship.
"Last year was a difficult one with the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament interrupting the calendar in mid year," said SANORCRA chairman Richard Schilling. "Despite the disruption the championship went through a highly successful phase with the sport showing encouraging growth at regional and national level.
"This year we are back to normal, with one exception the calendar has a familiar look about it and we will again be proactive in ensuring that the championship continues to grow."
Schilling added there was a solid base from which to operate, and SANORCRA would continue to work closely with principal sponsor Absa and partners Donaldson Filtration Systems, Ford and Toyota. The association would also continue to keep open channels of communication with event and team sponsors and competitors.
Where the calendar was concerned, Schilling said the only major change was in terms of the Atlas Copco Battlefields 400 on May 20 and 21. After many years of being based at the Eston Farmer's Club near Pietermaritzburg, the event this year has moved to Dundee in the KZN midlands.
Schilling added that selected Northern Regions and KwaZulu-Natal regional championship events would continue to run in conjunction with national championship races. The experiment in 2010 had proved to be successful, and was one of the reasons for continued growth at grass roots and national level.
"It was encouraging to see a number of regional competitors coming through to race on a regular basis in national events," said Schilling. "We will continue to nurture the sport at grass roots level, but the overall prognosis for off road racing is good and we are in for another cracking championship season."
The Absa series will also continue with the policy of a full-time race director, permanent clerks of course, chief marshal, chief medical officer and MSA Steward. Adri Roets will again act as race director, Joe Fourie and Rex Boreham will continue to share clerk of the course duties and Francois Jordaan will act as permanent MSA Steward. There will also be a full time chief marshal in Theuns Beer, and Rolf Schana of MMC will oversee all medical requirements.
"The system provides uniformity and stability in terms of event organisation," said Schilling. "All are vastly experienced and have a good relationship with other race officials and competitors."