The 2005 SA Off Road Championship calendar, which features two minor changes, has been finalised.
The Natal Off Road Motor Club organised Nissan Sugarbelt 400, originally scheduled for March 19 and 20, will now take place in the Eston area near Pietermaritzburg on March 18 and 19.
The Toyota 1000 Desert Race, which is organised by the Four Wheel Drive Club of Southern Africa, will be run in Botswana from June 3 to 5 to avoid a clash with the Vodacom Power Tour event at Aldo Scribante on May 28.
The season kicks off with the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 in March and is followed by the CPMCC organised Nissan Dealer 400 in the Darling area in the Western Cape on April 22 and 23.
The Toyota 1000 Desert Race is the only marathon race on the calendar and is the sporting highlight of the year in Botswana. The event will start and finish in Gaborone each day and the designated service point will again be at Mantswabisi.
Crews then have a four-week break to rebuild their cars before tackling the deceptively tough Sun City 400 in the Pilanesberg on July 1 and 2. Off Road SA’s Adri Roets promises to again present a tough and extremely spectator friendly route.
Five weeks later the championship moves to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho where the Lesotho Off Road Association’s Lesotho Sun 400 will be held from August 5 to 6. Last year’s event proved to be one of the toughest challenges encountered by competitors in recent years with only a handful of the Special Vehicles making it the finish.
The Mafikeng 500 will take place in the North West Province on September 9 and 10 and the Mafeking Motor Club is already hard at work searching for new sections to add spice to what is traditionally a very fast event.
The Toyota Dealer 400 won the 2004 Event of the Year Award, which is a fitting reward for the efforts of organisers SA Motorsportklub, who also organise the Sasol Rally, and the team from Lydenburg Toyota who ably supported the event. The organisers intend adding new sections to the route and crews can expect an even tougher test on October 14 and 15.
The season finale will again be the Carnival City 400 in Gauteng on November 18 and 19. The Koepel organised event features a spectacular stadium course at Carnival City as well as fast open sections and a rocky mountain section, which crews compared to parts of the Lesotho Sun 400 route.
2005 SA Off Road Championship:
18 – 19 Mar, Nissan Sugarbelt 400 - KwaZulu Natal
22 – 23 Apr, Nissan Dealer 400 - Western Cape
03 - 05 Jun, Toyota 1000 Desert Race - Botswana
01 – 02 Jul, Sun City 400 - North West Province
05 – 06 Aug, Lesotho Sun 400 - Lesotho
09 – 10 Sep, Mafikeng 500 - North West Province
14 – 15 Oct, Toyota Dealer 400 - Mpumalanga
18 – 19 Nov, Carnival City 400 - Gauteng