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ABSA 2009: Community effort at Toyota Dealer 400 Rally.

Based once again in Lydenburg the event is the penultimate round of the South African Absa Off Road Championship. Although the overall championships in both the Production and Special Vehicle categories have been settled a number of classes are still in limbo, and the race is an important outing for those with title aspirations.

First run in 2003, the Toyota Dealer 400 has rapidly grown into a blue chip race, and in 2005 was the candidate event that saw South Africa win a place on the FIA Cross Country World Cup calendar in 2006 and 2007. Much of the success of the event can be attributed to a community effort from, authorities, land owners, businesses and residents in Lydenburg and surrounding areas.

"Fanie Erasmus, the dealer principal at Lydenburg Toyota, has done a fantastic job of marketing the event to the people of Lydenburg and surrounding areas," said Richard Schilling, president of the MSA Off Road Car Racing Commission. "Fanie and his team at Lydenburg Toyota have engendered a family spirit that is a feature of the event."

Schilling added that this family spirit was illustrated by the role played in the event by Hoerskool Lydenburg pupils. The events prize giving catering is undertaken by pupils with the proceeds going towards school funds.

Race director Willie du Plessis, from the South African Motor Sport Club (SAM), also had high praise for the co-operation from local authorities. SAM has been associated with the event since its inception.

"With Fanie Erasmus playing a facilitating role we have always enjoyed a happy relationship with the Thaba Chweu local authority, and with Mpumalanga local government officials," said du Plessis. "We work closely with municipal authorities and with police and traffic departments and have always enjoyed tremendous support. We also have a good working relationship with landowners and farmers in the region, and their co-operation has been a major factor in the success of the event over the years."

The prologue to determine start positions for the race will start from the Lydenburg Rugby Club at 12h30 on October 2. It will finish at the Toyota spectator point on the outskirts of Lydenburg on the R540 main road to Dullstroom.

The race will start at 08h00 at Lydenburg Toyota on October 3 and will finish at the Toyota spectator point. The designated service point will also be located at the Toyota spectator point. Du Plessis added that, as in the past, the event would be spectator friendly. Numerous spectator points along the route are within easy reach of the start, and are accessible via major roads. Access to all spectator points as well as the Toyota spectator area is free of charge.

2009/09/17 | 16:46 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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