ON TOP FROM DOWN UNDER: Fresh from Australia for the Nkomazi 450 in their SA-built Ford Ranger are John Purshouse (top) and Murray Hynes.Images: John Purshouse
A third international team will race in the coming 2015 Nkomazi 450, Round 4 of the South African National Cross-Country championship, to be based in Malalane in Mpumalanga over August 7/8.
They are Australian crew John Purshouse/Murray Hynes, making their Production Vehicle debut for the event in the premier Class T in the ex-factory Ford Ranger in which Manfred Schroder/Japie Badenhorst won the 2014 Toyota Dealer 450 in Mooi River, KZN.
SECOND IN CHAMPS
The Australians will join Germans Jurgen and Max Schroder and Portuguese crew Rómulo Branco/João Serôdio, the latter crew involved with the Nissan Navara squad.
The Schroders will race in Class T for cars above four litres with independent rear suspension; the Portugueses scored a debut win on the RFS Endurance race in Class S for vehicles up to four litres with solid rear axles and are second in the Class S championship.
The Ranger, built by Neil Woolridge Motorsport in Pietermaritzburg, was sold to Purshouse after the Mooi River event and took Purshouse, a former Australian rally champion, and Hynes to a win on the 2014 West Australian Mogumber 240 and fourth overall in the 2014 Australasian Safari rally.
FRESH CHALLENGE WANTED
The pair were leading the week-long Safari after two days before mechanical problems on Da 3 dropped them to the back of the field. A stirring fight back over the nextfour days of racing through the West Australian Outback saw Purshouse and Hynes just miss out on a podium finish.
Purshouse recalled: “That was the last Australasian Safari and we looked further afield for another challenge with good structure and skilled professional competition.
"We're proud to be joining the SA Cross-Country championship and will also compete in the Vryburg Endurance and Atlas Copco Gold 450 later in 2015.”
Former South African champion Schroder will prepare the Ford Ranger for the Australian pair. His wide experience will also be invaluable to the Australian crew as they adapt to South African conditions.
'WELCOME TO THE FOLD'
South African National Off-Road Racing CEO Richard Schilling commented: “The decision by Purshouse and Hynes to compete in South Africa is further evidence of the high status the series enjoys in international cross-country racing.
“We're delighted to welcome them to the fold and I hope we will see other Australian and European teams follow them here.”
Race HQ, the start/finish, and the service park for the Nkomazi 450 will be at Riverview Preparatory School on the outskirts of Malalane. The weekend will be made up of a 100km qualifying race on Friday August 7 to determine grid positions and two laps of 175km on Saturday, August 8.
There will be free public entry to race HQ with a wide variety of refreshments and entertainment available. There will also be free viewpoints along the route and spectator guides will be available at race HQ and Malelane Toyota.
Qualifying will start at 11.30am on August 7, the race at 8.30am on August 8. There will be a compulsory 20-minute service halt after the first lap.