Welkom in the Free State, and the Phakisa Raceway will welcome the SA Rally-Raid Championship competitors on 6 and 7 October for the Renergen 400, the sixth and penultimate round of the series. And with the titles in both the Production and Special Vehicle Championships still up for grabs and extremely small margins of points separating competitors in the standings, all eyes will be on this intense two-day event.
Renergen, a renewable energy producer, has been involved in the SARRC as a sponsor of various high profile teams, and it is an honour to introduce the company as the main sponsor of the Free State event.
The Renergen 400 is a Super Event and will comprise of a short Pirelli Qualifying Race on Friday, 6 October followed by a 58 kilometre loop on the same day with two more loops concluding the race on Saturday 7 October.
At 10:15 on Friday, teams will take on the 15 kilometre qualifier that will start at the Phakisa Raceway using half of the track before exiting towards Odendaalsrus. Competitors will encounter fast tracks in the vicinity of the racetrack and will cross the R70 towards Phakisa where they will then make use of the other half of the track to finish at the race tower.
The qualifier determines the starting order for loop one that starts three hours later at 13:15. This 58 kilometre loop will follow the qualifying route before veering off to traverse fast tracks around the mealie fields towards Harcos Chicken Farm before crossing the R70 towards Riebeeckstad, from where it will return to Phakisa via the mine dump next to the town.
Competitors can expect fast-flowing tracks on the mine property with some technical sections, where the imprudent could be caught off-guard. More twisty mealie fields await, before they enter the raceway for the final sprint to the finish on the racetrack.
The results from day one on Friday, will determine the starting order for the first of the two 164 kilometre loops that are on the menu for Saturday.
The racing action will kick off on the racetrack at 08:00 on Saturday morning from where teams will make their way towards the R30. The route will run adjacent to the Nyala Shaft mine dump before heading towards the small farming town of Bultfontein from where fast tracks along mealie fields will take them towards Theronia Silostrat Depot before crossing the R710. Competitors can expect some twisty cultivated fields before joining the canal road where they will have to be wide awake for the next 20 odd kilometres and be on the lookout for narrow gates and concrete bridges next to the twisty and technical tracks.
The route then splits from the canal track to traverse more fast tracks around mealie fields. It crosses the R30 again before making its way towards the mine dumps of the Bambanani mine shaft and includes a few narrow bridges over ditches. It then heads towards Flamingo Lake next to the airport via a short decontrol on the R30 where teams will tackle a maze of tracks around the lake, and the navigators will have their work cut out for them, to ensure they keep on the right track.
The adrenaline will keep flowing as they approach a lot of water next to the tracks, around another mine dump after crossing the R710. With the finish line almost in sight, the route will take teams behind the Welkom cemetery before crossing the R30 with a few technical sections providing a last adrenaline rush before making use of the racetrack for the final sprint to the finish.
There will be a compulsory 30 minute decontrol at the Designated Service Point (DSP) before teams take on the same loop again before they receive the chequered flag at the finish and join in the podium ceremonies.
With the Renergen 400 being the penultimate round of the 2023 SARR Championship and the tracks in the Free State allowing for some fast and action packed racing, the event promises to keep competitors, their teams as well as spectators and enthusiasts entertained over the two days.
Published by: SA National Cross Country Series – Charmaine Fortune
Photography by: Plan C Productions
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