A total of 80 entries have been received for the third round of the Absa Off Road Championship, the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, which gets underway in Botswana this Friday, June 11 with the Special Vehicle brigade again topping the list with 41 entries versus the 39 received in the Production Vehicle category.

Nissan is represented by 14 works and privateer entries in the Production Vehicle category while Toyota’s challenge will come from four factory backed Castrol Toyota Hiluxes and nine privately entered Hiluxes and Land Cruisers. The rest of the Production Vehicle field is made up of a lone Chevrolet, four Ford Ranger, three Mitsubishi, two Land Rover and two Isuzu entries.

On the Special Vehicle front the now ageing Raceco’s dominate the entry list with ten entries, nine of which are entered in Class S for unlimited space frames with beam or trailing arm front suspensions, while American rival chassis builder Jimco is represented by five entries and the locally designed Zarco Lite and BAT chassis by five and four entries respectively.

The rest of the Special Vehicle field is made up of a selection of locally built chassis including Wolf-Peter Pfumfei’s WPP, John Rowe’s JRE, a gaggle of Sandmasters and a lone motorcycle engined Ultimo.

Crews face a tough time on this year’s Toyota 1000 Desert Race.

According to race organisers, the Four Wheel Drive Club of Southern Africa, the route is overgrown following unseasonal rain and with low overhanging branches shattered windscreens will be the order of the day as far as the Production Vehicle entries are concerned. The 41 Special Vehicle crews can expect an uncomfortable ride with body piercing thorns entering their open cockpit machines and invariably lodging themselves between the seat and the driver and co-drivers backs.

The Toyota 1000 Desert Race starts with a 45-kilometre Prologue at noon on Friday. Racing Section 1 gets underway at 08h00 on Saturday with the first vehicle expected at the overnight stop at 15h00. On Sunday the race restarts at 08h00 and the winning crew is expected at the finish at Game City in Gaborone at 14h00.