The infamous 'Rumble in the Jungle' spilled over into the Absa Off Road Championship this week with a couple of racing heavyweights squaring off.
And, as one would expect from a couple of seasoned campaigners, both are talking a good fight in the war of words. Pulling on the gloves are multiple South African champions Richard Schilling and Buks Carolin who will both compete in Class S in this year's championship, which kicks off with the Nissan Dealer 400 in Darling on March 19 and 20.
The only problem is that neither Schilling nor Carolin can, at the moment, comfortably fit into the space frame cars utilised in Class S - and this has led to the slightly corpulent pair squaring off in the 'Battle of the Bulge.' It is a battle that will leave Schilling and Carolin a little lighter around the middle, and a little lighter in the pocket, with Sunfield Home set to benefit from a friendly wager between the two overweight racing drivers.
Schilling who will be driving the Plastotech Raceco and Carolin the Nashua Mobile Raceco have wagered R1 000 a race that each will finish ahead of the other in every Class S outing this season, with the loser handing over R1 000 to Sunfield Home.
The two former champions are on the comeback trail after a couple of seasons on the sidelines, and the bet is as much about the spare tyres they are carrying around their middles, as it is about who has the beating of who out in the bush.
The two drivers have over a number of years supported Sunfield Home and the R1 000 wager will be in operation for the first four races of the season. Thereafter matters will get a little more serious for the one who carries a little extra around the tummy at the weigh-in before every race.
"From the fifth race onwards the bet becomes a double or quits affair," said Schilling. "I don’t intend losing and will be going on a strict diet and training regimen to make sure I shed a little excess weight.”
“By the Nissan Dealer 400 I’ll be raring to go, and the combination of superior fitness and superior talent will put Buks in his place.”
That is fighting talk. Carolin is not one to back away from a challenge, however, and was ready to throw a few counterpunches of his own.
"The man is dreaming," he said. "Richard is trying to talk a good fight, but I know my opponents and he is far too fond of the good things in life.
"The thought of roadwork, gym every day, the sweatbox and a careful diet will see him go walkabout. The only talent he needs is the ability to sign his name on a cheque at the end of every race. After that he can head for the nearest restaurant to drown his sorrows.”
Friends and colleagues of the former champions are divided as to which of the two will best handle the challenge. "Both have their strong points and their weak points,” said one, “but for my money the only winner will be Sunfield Home."