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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

ABSA 2009: Another tough outgoing on Nissan Sugarbelt 400 Rally.

Competitors are in for another true off road race on the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, round three of the South African Absa Off Road Championship, in KwaZulu-Natal on May 15 and 16. Race organisers have provided tough routes for the off road fraternity so far this season with the Adenco 400 in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape 400 providing stern challenges. It looks as though the Nissan Sugarbelt, again based at the Beaumont Eston Farmers Club, won’t be any different.

"This will be an off road race and not a ‘rally’ and competitors will have to work harder for results than has been the case in previous Nissan Sugarbelts," said clerk of the course Rex Boreham. "By the time they reach the finish they will know they have been in an off road race. The route is tight but the variety of terrain offers a challenge." Boreham added there had been plenty of rain in KwaZulu-Natal in recent weeks. Indications are, however, that come race weekend conditions will be dry and dusty.

As in the past the route will be made up of a figure of eight with an east loop of 95 kilometres and a west loop of 89 kilometres. National competitors will complete each loop twice and regional entrants will complete the east loop twice and the west loop once.

The race will start on the east loop which will also be utilised for the Friday prologue to determine start positions for Saturday’s race proper. The prologue ends in Mid Illovo village with a 22 kilometre liaison section on tar back to the Beaumont Eston Farmers Club.

"The opening section of the east loop is fast," said Boreham. "It then tightens up and after 12 or 15 kilometres a mixture of caneland and grassland becomes very demanding. The west loop also starts off fairly fast and then gets tighter and more demanding. About 30 kilometres of this section is through timber plantations."

The start and finish and the designated service point will all be at the Beaumont Eston Farmers Club. Both the east and west loops join behind Eston village for a common return route of 10 kilometres to the designated service point and finish.

With two wins in a row for Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford, the Donaldson Nissan factory team will be more than keen to make it three in a row on their own event. They face a tough challenge from factory and privateer teams from Ford and Toyota, and the race could develop in to one of the season’s showpieces.

2009/05/07 | 16:38 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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