NKOMAZI - ARE YOU READY? Johan and Werner Horn and their Toyota Hilux are ready to do battle in the Nkomazi 450 over August 7/8. Image: Supplied
From wide open spaces in Botswana to a tight and technical route in Mpumalanga - that's the challenge awaiting crews at the Nkomazi 450, Round 4 of the South African Cross-Country championship, in Malalane over August 7/8.
The series is all about diversity and the difference between Toyota 1000 Desert Race conditions and the Malalane event is chalk and cheese.
The Nkomazi 450 is also one of three sprint races on the calendar with the weekend made up of a 100km qualifying race to determine grid positions and two laps of about 175km.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and the service park will again be at Riverside Preparatory School on the outskirts of Malalane. From the start the race route will travel clockwise behind Malalane towards Jeppes Reef.
Crews will then head back towards Malalane Estates across the Kaalrug road with this section offering varying terrain; a bushy mountain section will lead into 60km of forest - a tough challenge.
The route then heads back towards Malalane, underneath the N4 highway at Kaalrug. This takes crews through sugar-cane fields and runs along the railway towards a laid-out spectator section just past the clinic on the outskirts of Malalane.
Race director Adri Roets warned: “The terrain is in complete contrast to Botswana, tight and technical to test crews. For the most part the route will be dry and dusty but, because of irrigation, the sugar-cane section will be wet and slippery.
“The spectator section near the clinic should be popular with enthusiasts but, compared to Botswana, will require a completely different mind-set.”
Roets added that, as was the case with all Cross Country events, the route was spectator-friendly. There will be easy access to spectator points close to Malalane and entrance to these areas is free.
There will also be free entry to race HQ with the local community providing a wide range of refreshment stalls and other entertainment.
Race programmes will be available from Malalane Toyota and at race HQ.
The qualifying race 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 at the end of the first of the two loops.