|ABSA 2010: Regional entries boost Atlas Copco Sugarbelt 400 startlist.|
Regional entries have boosted to 88 the number of cars that will come under starter’s orders at the Atlas Copco Sugarbelt 400 in KwaZulu-Natal on May 21 and 22.The event is round three of the Absa Off Road Championship and around three of the KZN regional championship. In a move by the MSA Off Road Car Racing Commission to give added impetus to regional off road racing a number of events will this year double up with national championship races.
The KZN regional entries are spearheaded by current Class A leaders Lance Trethewey and Richard Horner who will team up in a BAT with the pair competing in both the regional and national races. Daniel Brookes, who is second among the drivers, will team up with Paul Gonlag in a BAT with Adam Jewell, who is second in the co-driver title race sitting alongside Rob Gibson in an Acetech Zarco.
Other top crews in Class A include Dave and Jane Gurney in a GMP and Gavan and Darren Gray in another BAT. Regional competitors will complete two of the three loops that make up the national championship race.
The Class B field is headed by current championship leader Graeme Petersen (Dragonfly) who will face stiff opposition from Rob Hanbury (Mighty Mag), Brett Gurney (Smith), Rob Gurney (Mighty Mag) and James Watson/Brian Berkeljon in a Sandmaster.
Other top names in Class B include former national Production Car Class E champion Manfred Schroder and former SA rally champion Tony Ball. Schroder will be out in a Mighty Mag and Ball in a JRE.
The Cricket Class, an entry level category, should be interesting with championship leader Jim Rushton having to fend off Gareth Woolridge and Warren Confait who are joint second. Woolridge is the son of former SA champion Neil Woolridge, who heads the factory Ford Racing challenge in the Absa Off Road Championship, with older brother Lance a graduate from the category.
Lance is now racing in the national series and scored his first ever Absa championship win on the recent Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga. Woolridge will again be partnered by veteran Ward Huxtable on the Sugarbelt 400.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service point (DSP) will all be located at the Beaumont Eston Farmer’s Club on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg. There are also numerous spectator points along the route and public access to these areas as well as the start/finish and DSP will be free.
The Donaldson Prologue to determine grid position for the national race will start at 11h30 on May 21 and the race at 08h00 on May 22.
2010/05/17 | 11:47 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS