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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: Off Road breaks new ground at Nissan Hluhluwe Nissan 400.

Absa Off road racing will break new ground via the Hluhluwe Nissan 400 in KwaZulu-Natal on April 13 and 14. After years of being based at Eston, on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, where it ran as the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, the race has found a new home. Once again the event is the second on the Absa Off Road Championship calendar, and looks set to produce some highly competitive racing.

"We are delighted to see the race moved to one of the most important tourism areas in South Africa," said Absa marketing head William James. "The move to Hluhluwe gives the event a high profile and it’s a superb setting for the ultimate test of South Africa best 4x4’s."

Hluhluwe is considered the hub of tourism in KwaZulu-Natal. This charming town on the banks of the Hluhluwe River has tourism as its principal industry, and acts as a perfect base for visitors to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve and the St Lucia Wetlands area. The town is named after the thorny rope climber (Dalbergia Armata) which is found among the forest vegetation types in Hluhluwe Game Reserve. The Zulu name for this plant is umHluhluwe.

The area is intensively agricultural with timber, sugar and pineapples the major products. Hluhluwe produces over 90% of South Africa's queen pineapples, and other crops include sugar cane, sisal, cotton, tomatoes and chillies. Richards Bay, the premier bulk port in South Africa, is only 100 kilometres from Hluhluwe. Built in 1976 Richards Bay is the largest export coal terminal in the world and loads 65 million tons of coal each year.

The Nissan Hluhluwe event will be made up of north and south loops, with competitors completing each loop twice. The prologue to determine grid positions will be run over 55 kilometres with the start and finish at Hluhluwe Airfield which is also the Designated Service Point (DSP) for the race proper.

Event HQ is at the John Hassard Community Hall directly opposite the Hluhluwe Airfield. The event will start at the airfield and competitors will complete the first south loop before returning to the DSP. They will then complete the first north loop before again returning to the DSP. Crews will then complete the second south and north loops with the finish back at the airfield.

According to the organisers the terrain is typical bushveld with sugar cane and pineapple field sections as well as gum plantations. A Nissan Hluhluwe 400 Expo will be held at Intercity Nissan, in Empangeni, on Thursday, April 12. Empangeni's modern amenities serve the surrounding sugar, timber, cotton and cattle farming communities. The Expo will give local enthusiasts the opportunity to take a look at some highly interesting machinery, and to chat to crews and technical personnel.

2007/03/29 | 11:39 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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