The 2018 Award winning Mpumalanga 400 hosted in the tourist mecca of Dullstroom for the first time last year will again set the ball rolling when the 2019 South African Cross Country Championship (SACCS) for Production and Special Vehicles and the Side by Side recreational vehicles kicks off on 15 and 16 March.
The 2019 calendar will also feature two new venues this season with all events counting towards the championships, with the season running from mid-March to early November. The tranquil town of Dullstroom, better known as one of South Africa’s premier fly-fishing locations, was a new venue on the calendar last year and earned excellent reviews.
Round two and a new event on this year’s calendar will be based on the outskirts of Winterton, in KwaZulu-Natal.
Winterton is a small town on the banks of the Tugela River in the foothills of the Drakensberg and was founded in 1905. The town is situated on the R74 between Bergville and the N3 and can also be reached via the R600 between Ladysmith and the Central Drakensberg.
The halfway mark in the championship, the majestic Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race, the only marathon event on the SACCS calendar and the largest Cross Country event in Southern Africa also breaks new ground with the event relocating from the small mining town of Jwaneng to Selebi Phikwe.
Commonly known as Phikwe this bustling town is situated in Eastern Botswana and strategically placed as the gateway to the Northern Regions. The TDR 1000 provides a major financial injection to areas in which the event is held, and the move creates the opportunity for communities to benefit from the race.
Moving closer to home, round four and five of the championship will again be run in Bronkhorstspruit and Harrismith respectively with the final event on November 1 and 2 still to be confirmed.
The SACCS championships will be made up of five 400 kilometre events and the marathon Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race. The Botswana event will retain its current 1000 kilometre format, with the five remaining races consisting of a qualifying race of approximately 40 to 45 kilometres and two loops of between 170 and 180 kilometres.
While there are no changes to classes in the Production and Special Vehicle categories, the allocation of points counting towards the Championships has received a facelift. Over and above the 30 points on offer for race winners, competitors will receive a five point starting bonus per event.
“Our main focus this season will be to contain costs without compromising the adventure, excitement and fun of cross country racing,” said SACCS chief executive officer Archie Rutherford. “Although one venue still needs to be confirmed, we are anticipating exciting and competitive championships that live up to the legacy that cross country racing has built up over the years.”
“SACCS has strong structures in place that augur well for the success and growth of the three championships under our umbrella and, as always, we will operate an open door policy when it comes to our stakeholders, partners, sponsors and competitors.”
2019 SA NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY CALENDAR
- 15/16 MARCH ROUND ONE – Mpumalanga 400 Dullstroom MPUMALANGA
- 17/18 MAY ROUND TWO - Berg 400 Winterton KZN
- 21/22/23 JUNE ROUND THREE – TDR 1000 Selebi Phikwe BOTSWANA
- 2/3 AUGUST ROUND FOUR – Atlas Copco 400 Bronkhorstspruit GAUTENG
- 13/14 SEPTEMBER ROUND FIVE – Harrismith 400 FREE STATE
- 1/2 NOVEMBER ROUND SIX – TBA
Published by: Charmaine Fortune
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