The Prologue to determine starting positions for the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, round two of the S.A. Off Road Championship, presented by Bankfin, ABSA'S specialist vehicle finance division, was cancelled today. A cane fire in the Mid-Illovo area...
The Prologue to determine starting positions for the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, round two of the S.A. Off Road Championship, presented by Bankfin, ABSA'S specialist vehicle finance division, was cancelled today.
A cane fire in the Mid-Illovo area made the route impassable for half of the 88 car field forcing the organisers to cancel the 50 kilometre section.
The organisers decided to seed the competitors based on last year's championship positions and the results of the season opening Nissan Dealer 400 in the Western Cape.
The seeded start benefits a number of competitors who had problems prior to the Prologue being cancelled.
Reigning S.A. Production Car champion Duncan Vos and Mike Griffiths rolled their Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody when a right rear tyre deflated. Damage to the Nissan was superficial but the incident cost them some twenty minutes.
Newcomer to off road racing, Rotax Max World Karting champion Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin rolled their Class E Castrol Toyota Hilux in a tight forestry section. The gearbox housing, bodywork and windscreen were damaged and technicians immediately set about repairing the damage. Cronje finished third overall in his Production Vehicle debut in the recent Nissan Dealer 400.
Based on the seeded starting positions last years Nissan Sugarbelt 400 Production Vehicle winners Giniel de Villiers and Francois Jordaan, who happen to set the fastest time in the Prologue prior to it being cancelled will be first away in the Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody.
They will be followed at, one minute intervals, by team mates and Nissan Dealer 400 winners Hannes Grobler and Richard Leeke in another Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody and Neil Woolridge and Ken Skjoldhammer in the V6 powered Team Ford Racing Ranger.
Husband and wife Gerhard and Kobie Du Plessis from Wolmaranstad will start fourth in the Liebherr Jimco Porsche.
Last years Nissan Sugarbelt 400 Special Vehicle winners, John Weir-Smith and Geoff Minnitt will start fifth in the O'Hagan's Kopanong Hotel Jimco and will be followed a minute later by Nissan Dealer 400 Special Vehicle winners Atang Makgekgenene and Mike Stangl in the SAM Racing Jimco.
Reigning Production Vehicle champions Duncan Vos and Mike Griffiths are the biggest benefactors, and will start seventh in the third Class T Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody.
2002 Toyota 1000 Desert Race winner Greg Daus and co-driver Archie Rutherford will start eight in the Mitsubishi V6 twin turbo Nashua Mobile Chenowth and will be followed by KZN crew Gerald Mundell and Billy Bond in the Prolong BAT.
Rounding out the top ten are former Nissan Sugarbelt 400 winner Cliff Barker and co-driver Vic Campher in the Barker Performance Products Land Rover.
The main event consisting of three laps of 130 kilometres each gets underway at 08:00 tomorrow at the Beaumont Eston Farmers Club near Pietermaritzburg with the leading vehicle expected at the finish at approximately 14:00.