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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: Safer routes for South African ABSA Championship.

The emphasis in this year’s Absa Off Road Championship will be for safer and more technical routes - beginning with the first event of the season, the Adenco 400, in the Western Cape on March 20 and 21. With constantly evolving technology making cars faster and faster, in both the Production Vehicle and Special Vehicle categories, safety has become a major issue. With his in mind, the Motorsport SA Off Road Car Racing Commission has requested organising clubs to make routes for the eight events making up the Absa series more technical and more testing.

"Cars in recent years have just got faster and faster, but off road racing is not only about speed," said MSA Off Road Commission president Richard Schilling. "Off road racing should be a test of skill and endurance for both competitors and vehicles.

"The increase in speeds has led to safety concerns, and we have asked organising clubs to look at making routes more technical and more demanding." Schilling added that ideally a 400 kilometre route should take top crews a minimum of six hours. The Commission’s request has led to a quick change of plans - and a few challenges - for the Cape Peninsula Motorcycle and Car Club, organisers of the Adenco 400 in the Darling area.

Sections of the route on the Darling flats had to be reduced with a new course plotted in the mountains of the Mamre area. There was not enough distance, however, and the organisers held a crisis meeting with the Mamre community and farmers in the area.

Permission was granted to use sections of land farmed under a trust agreement. Eventually further progress could only be made if the route went through the Cloof Winery. Peter Duckitt, owner of Cloof Winery, was so keen to have an off road event pass through his property he helped race officials plot the route. Part of the course will now run past the winery and, as a bonus, there will be a spectator point with Cloof Winery products on sale.

"We owe a huge thank you to Peter and the Mamre community for the assistance they have given us," said Clerk of the Course Robert Marle. "Special mention must be made of the family who have postponed a 50th birthday celebration, and landowners who will be allowing us to cut 65 fences along the route."

Marle added there would be plenty of spectator points along the old Darling road. Some traditional spectator points - the river crossing and subway in the Darling region - have also been retained. "Competitors can expect a tough event," said Marle. "It won’t be a walk in the park and will certainly be more demanding than in recent years."

2009/03/09 | 13:45 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Charmaine Fortune

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