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Major changes to SA Cross-Country champs

2015-02-23 09:58

2014 RFS 450 PRODUCTION VEHICLE PODIUM: 1 Taylor / Murphy Castrol Team Toyota, 2 Poulter / Howie Castrol Team Toyota, 3 Schroder / Badenhorst Atlas Copco Ford. Image: Supplied

CHARMAINE FORTUNE

The 2015 Donaldson Cross-Country championship will open with the RFS Endurance Race in Harrismith over March 27 and 28 and will bring changes to the National series.

The changes include a shorter calendar and revamped event formats and points allocation. The changes, put forward by the South African National Off-Road Association during the off-season seek to cut costs and streamline the series.

In this respect the most significant change is to the calendar: the number of events counting for the National championship has been cut from eight to six.

THREE SPRINT EVENTS

Sanora chief executive officer Richard Schilling explained: “We are duty bound to protect the interests of the championship and the changes are aimed at reducing costs for stakeholders, event organisation and competitors. The changes implemented will pave the way for the growth of Regional and National championship cross-country racing.”

The championship will have three sprint events, two endurance events and a marathon. Sprint events will be 450km, endurance races 650-700km and the lone marathon event, the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, will be run over 1000km.

All events will be run over a minimum of two loops with a compulsory 20-minute service halt after the first loop. Qualifying for grid places for sprint and marathon events will be run over 100km, that for the qualifier over 200km.

While there are no changes to classes in the Production and Special Vehicle categories, the scoring of events and the allocation of points counting towards the Donaldson Cross Country Championship has also received a facelift. Sprint and endurance events will score single points, with single points also allocated to each of the two heats that will make up the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race.

Points awarded to competitors in the Production and Special Vehicle categories, as well as the various classes, have been amended with 30 points now on offer for race winners. The practice of competitors dropping a score at the end of the season has also been scrapped - all races will count towards overall and class results.   

2015 RACE CALENDAR

Mar 27/28 - RFS Endurance (Endurance) Harrismith
May 8/9 - Toyota Dealer 45 (Sprint) Eston
June 26/28 - Toyota 1000 Desert Race (Marathon) Kalahari
August 7/8 -  Nkomazi 450 (Sprint Race) Malalane
September 11/12 - (Endurance Race) Vryburg
October 30/31 - Atlas Copco Gold 450 (Sprint race) Westonaria
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