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ABSA South African Championship 2007 Special-Newssection

This is the single-news section of the special of the ABSA South African Offroad Championship series 2007. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

ABSA 2007: Derrick Irving enters Toyota 1000 Desert Race

It will be a case of now for something completely different for one of the most successful race drivers in South African motorsport on the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race this weekend. Multiple kart and saloon car champion Derrick Irving will have his first taste of off road racing when he tackles the Botswana classic, being run for the 27th time this year, which starts in Botswana on Friday. The event is round four of the Absa Off Road Championship with Irving, partnered by co-driver Grayham Bishop, thrown in at the deep end in the IDM Cement Toyota Hilux, running in Class E, owned by former track racer Jaco Swanepoel.

Business commitments have kept Swanepoel out of the event, and he offered the vehicle to Iain Pepper, another veteran racer, who has had to pull out at the last moment. Irving has stepped into the breach and is preparing himself for a shock. "When I was offered the drive I jumped at it," said Irving. "I have never done this sort of racing before and it was too good an opportunity to pass up. I think I am in for a helluva shock, but I won’t be trying anything heroic."

Irving said the main object would be to "keep it on the island" and make it to the finish in Gaborone on Sunday afternoon. He added that preparing off road vehicles for Swanepoel and Fabio Tafani had given him an insight into off road racing. "I won’t be going in completely cold," he said. "I know what to expect but, even so, it is going to be tough and I will be leaning heavily on Grayham’s experience."

The event will get underway on Friday with documentation and scrutineering. A 50 kilometre prologue to determine start positions for the race proper will be run from 12:00, with the start and finish a short distance from race headquarters at Game City. The race proper will start at 08h00 on Saturday with the Designated Service Point (DSP) situated at Lentsweletau. The route follows a circular pattern from the start and finish at Game City, with numerous spectator points.

Survivors will start the final leg of the event at 07:30 on Sunday morning and will follow the same route as the previous day to the finish at game City in Gaborone. The first car is expected at approximately 14h00.

2007/06/13 | 18:37 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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