|ABSA 2011: Manufacturers share South African ABSA Championship spoils.|
If variety is the spice of life, the South African "Absa Off Road Championship" is doing its best to keep pace with the old adage. At the halfway mark of the championship the Production Vehicle category on the four events run so far has been won by a different manufacturer.
BMW, Ford, Nissan and Toyota have all had a bite at the cherry with the equation completed when reigning South African champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst won the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in the Team Ford Ranger TDCi.
The opening event of the season, the Adenco 400 in the Western Cape, was won by Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege in the RFS BMX3. The Regent Racing pair of Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson then gave Nissan a win on the Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga, with Duncan Vos and Rob Howie winning the Atlas Copco 400 in KwaZulu-Natal in the Team Castrol Toyota Hilux.
"The results so far are indicative of just how competitive the Absa series is at the top end of the scale," said South African National Off Road Racing Association chairman Richard Schilling. "At each race there are half a dozen or more potential winners in both the Production and Special Vehicle categories, and that has to augur well for the future of the sport."
Schilling added that SANORA would continue to look at innovative ways to continue to take the sport forward. A new feature on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana saw the introduction of a ‘Super Challenge’ whereby competitors who fell out of the race on day two, could rejoin the field on the final racing section and would be eligible to score half points.
"The idea was to give competitors a second bite at the cherry, and to provide additional interest for the thousands of spectators who support the Toyota Desert Race," said Schilling. "The concept needs some fine tuning, but we will continue to look at ways and means of making off road racing more attractive and exciting for competitors and enthusiasts. The Absa Off Road Championship is currently on solid ground, but we have to look to the future."
The next round of the championship will be the Sun City 400 in the Pilanesberg on July 29 and 30.
2011/07/07 | 16:25 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/FORTUNE