|ABSA 2012: Second South African cricket legend to join off road racing sport.|
Ace fielder Jonty Rhodes is to co-drive for South African champion Archie Rutherford in the SA Warranties Nissan Navara at the "Gold 400", the final round of the South African "ABSA Off Road Championship", on the West Rand on November 23 and 24.
With off road racing casting a wide net to promote the sport Jonty will follow in the footsteps of fellow cricket legend ‘Vinnige Fanie’ de Villiers, rugby Springbok Stefan Terblanche and Paralympics swimmer Natalie du Toit.
Rhodes, who also played hockey for South Africa, played in 56 Test matches and 245 One Day Internationals (ODIs). He scored more than 2 500 runs in his Test career and nearly 6 000 runs in ODIs - but it was for his fielding that Jonty was best known.
Rhodes shot to fame at the 1992 World Cup with his run out of Pakistan star Inzamam-ul-Huq in Brisbane. The following year Jonty, a specialist at backward point, took a world record five catches against the West Indies and in 1999 was voted one of Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year.
Since his retirement in 2000 Jonty has been much in demand as a fielding coach. He has worked with the Proteas and the Mumbai Indians who compete in the IPL T20 tournament.
The SA Warranties Nissan Navara runs under the Regent Racing umbrella with Terblanche and du Toit both scoring top 10 finishes in their stints alongside Rutherford. Team principal Terence Marsh, himself a former professional cricketer, is hoping for a hat-trick of top 10 finishes.
"Top 10 finishes for Stefan and Natalie proved the sport celebrities are not there simply for ballast," said Marsh.
"At international level all top sportsmen and sportswomen have one thing in common, they are highly competitive and Jonty is no exception. He wants to go one better than Stefan and Natalie but, apart from that, he will be a popular ambassador for our sport and we are delighted with the role the celebrities have played in taking off road racing to a wider audience" he added.
Rhodes will also be the guest speaker at the prize-giving after the Gold 400 which breaks new ground in the ABSA Off Road Championship. It is the third new event on this year’s calendar, and both the Production and Special Vehicle championships will be decided at the race.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park will all be located approximately 70 kilometres from Johannesburg at the Kloof Country Club in Glenharvie. The Donaldson Prologue to determine race grid positions will start at 12:30 on November 23, and the race at 08:30 the following day.
2012/11/12 | 13:57 CET | ARTICLE: MR/FORTUNE/QUICKPIC