Off-road route to tantalise the most sophisticated taste buds

Round four and five of the South African Rally-Raid Championship, the penultimate event of the 2022 season, will be located at NAMPO PARK in the Bothaville area of the Free State on Friday September 30 and Saturday October 1.

This year the event also forms part of the inaugural NAMPO ALFA Livestock, Hunting and Outdoor Expo and is sure to attract attention to the sport, the stakeholders, sponsors and the magnitude of the spectacle.

Despite the area being renowned as the maize capital of South Africa, the terrain on offer includes diverse and versatile race routes, which include fast open sections with a good mix of technical areas around an old pan, an unused coal power station and old, grass covered mine dumps. The route heading towards the mighty Vaal River offers a good combination for skilful race craft through a field of irrigation pivots, a healthy mix of bush, soft sand and open sections that promise to excite the experienced and not so experienced in their quest for victory.

Round four on Friday and round five on Saturday share a common 10km dash-for-supremacy, Pirelli Qualifying race before branching off to the east and west of NAMPO PARK on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Keith and Andrew Makenete.

On both days of the weekend, the top ten competitors in the individual Pirelli Qualifying Races draw for their starting positions, and pending prevailing conditions could influence race strategies and end of day results.

The compact race programme on the weekend calls for an early start, with the leading competitor out of the blocks for the start of the qualifying race at 07:30. The main race on both days starts at 09:30

The route on Friday will comprise a 10km Pirelli Qualifying race, followed by a loop of approximately 166km, to be completed twice, to the east of NAMPO PARK, while the route on Saturday, October 1 will again consist of the short Pirelli Qualifying Race followed by a loop of approximately 172km to the west of the park, also to be completed twice.

A 30-minute compulsory service break will be implemented between loops one and two on both days at the designated service park (DSP) situated at NAMPO PARK, where competitors will have the opportunity to attend to personal and technical matters before heading out on the final racing section of the day.

Variawa and Stassen.

“Barring for some minor changes to the 2021 routes, competitors will be traversing familiar terrain albeit in the opposite direction. The one major change we are all hoping for is a change in the weather, and that the icy cold, wet, slippery and windy conditions of last year envelop us with sunny spring conditions,” said route director, Rudi Muller.

Spectating along the route is welcome and free of charge. Public entry to the NAMPO ALFA Expo and DSP will be controlled by the event organisers with public parking and pedestrian entry via the north entrance to the park, subject to an admission fee.

Public amenities will be well catered for and spectators will have access to all event activities including access to the DSP area.

Source: SACCS
Images: Andre Schoeman 

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