COMMUNITY EFFORT AT ATLAS COPCO SUGARBELT 400 Some minor but significant changes to the route for the Atlas Copco Sugarbelt 400, round three of the Absa Off Road Championship in KwaZulu-Natal on May 21 and 22, will provide competitors with an...
COMMUNITY EFFORT AT ATLAS COPCO SUGARBELT 400
Some minor but significant changes to the route for the Atlas Copco Sugarbelt 400, round three of the Absa Off Road Championship in KwaZulu-Natal on May 21 and 22, will provide competitors with an even tougher challenge than is normally the case.
The event will again be run over a figure of eight course with an east loop of 100 kilometres and a west loop of 93 kilometres. The east loop will also double up as the route for the Donaldson Prologue to determine race grid positions, and during the race competitors will tackle the second loop twice.
"The bulk of the route remains the same as last year, but there have been a couple of subtle changes," said clerk of the course Rex Boreham. "The changes add an extra challenge to what is always a very arduous event."
Boreham added that the east loop ran primarily through cane fields with the west loop made up of cane fields, timber plantations and savannah. And, unlike Gauteng and other parts of the country, there has been little rain in the area and conditions are expected to be dry.
The race will also incorporate a round of the KZN regional championship with an entry of more than 80 vehicles expected. Three other national events over the rest of the season will also incorporate rounds of the Northern Regions championship.
The event is again based at the Beaumont Eston Farmer's Club on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, and is organised by the Natal Off Road Motor Club with hands on support from the Eston and Mid Illovo farming communities. Under Vere Hein a band of volunteers provide the route survey and route marking teams, event marshals and fire fighting equipment and teams.
"If ever an event thrived on community participation, this is it," said Boreham. "The help and co-operation we get from local farmers and businessmen is unbelievable.
"The donation from the MSA Off Road Racing Commission is also ploughed back into the community with the funds allocated to local schools.
Race headquarters and the designated service park (DSP) will again all be located at the Beaumont Eston Farmer's Club which will also be the hub for documentation and the prize giving. The Donaldson Prologue will start at 11h30 on May 21 and the race at 08h00 on May 22.
During the race competitors will pass through the DSP twice with the compulsory 15 minute stop at the end of loop two. If competitors stop at the DSP at the end of the first loop they will be doing so in race time.
As usual the event is spectator friendly with numerous vantage points within close proximity of race headquarters where enthusiasts can catch the action. Public entry to the start/finish, designated service park and spectator points along the route is free.