With spring approaching and after five months of no racing due to the COVID-19 world pandemic, the South African National Cross Country Series (SACCS) received the green light from Motorsport South Africa (MSA) to restart the 2020 championship in August. This means the Bronkhorstspruit 400 will take place on Friday and Saturday, 14 and 15 August and will form the second round of the championship with exciting racing on the cards for this event as well as for the second half of the year.
The SACCS championship will comprises five events to be hosted between August and October.
“The coronavirus crisis has had a significant impact on all of us and adjusting to the new landscape of hosting sporting events will be a challenge, but we are poised for the season ahead. The championship which started with the Mpumalanga 400 in Dullsroom in February will include the Bronkhorstspruit 400, the Nampo 400 on 18 and 19 September with the final two rounds to be hosted in Parys on 23, 24 and 25 October,” SACCS CEO Archie Rutherford announced.
The Nampo 400 is a new event on the calendar and promises to be a challenging affair in and around the mielie-fields of Bothaville and surrounding areas. To combat the time lost in the early season SACCS has introduced the now popular double-header concept with the championship culminating with two events in Parys on the same weekend.
“Although the two Parys events take place on the same weekend, each round will be run and scored individually and will comprise a qualifying and main race. Round four will follow the customary format of a qualifying race on Friday with the main race on Saturday. The final round on Sunday will incorporate an early morning qualifying race followed by the main race consisting of two loops of approximately 170km a little later in the day,” Rutherford added.
Strict COVID-19 regulations are in place for the Bronkhorstspruit 400 to be run from the Soetdoring Function Venue just outside Bronkhorstspruit on the brink of the Gauteng border. The patience and compliance of competitors, crews and officials will be rewarded by the fact that the 2020 Cross Country Championship can continue, even though things will be done somewhat different to the past.
SACCS has kept abreast with the times and technology over the years with race administration mainly being done electronically for some time now. To limit personal as well as surface contact and maximise social distancing, the Safety Plan and rules and regulations for the event include various changes, one of which is no spectators will be allowed at the event. The number of crew members will also be limited while enthusiasts and supporters will only be able to follow the event via various social media platforms which include Facebook, Telegram, Instagram and RallySafe.
And while the wheels are being prepared to roll again, the final preparations for the Bronkhorstspruit 400 are being put in place. On Friday, 14 August the 45 kilometre Qualifying Race will commence at 13:00 after electronic self scrutineering and documentation. The Qualifying Race will determine the starting order for the main race on Saturday.
All the activities will take place behind closed doors at the Soetdoring Function Venue where Race Headquarters, the Designated Service Park (DSP) and the Start/Finish for the event will be situated on both days.
On Saturday competitors in all the classes of the Production Vehicle Category as well as the Special Vehicle Category, that includes the Side-by-Side National Championship, will take on a 170km loop from the Soetdoring Function Venue. At the end of the loop, there will be a compulsory 30 minute de-control at DSP before the race commences at 12 noon when competitors will repeat the 170km loop to finish after a total of 385 kilometres.
With the first points on the scoreboard after the Mpumalanga 400 that took place earlier this year, the teams and crews are looking forward to competing again and to get the various championships going. The supporters, followers and enthusiasts can look forward to lots of news and information from the exhilarating action before, during and after the event.
Although the circumstances and conditions have changed, SACCS is looking forward to continuing the season on the same level of professionalism – be it on the race route, in DSP, adhering to COVID-19 Regulations and coverage of each event.
“For now, we have to sacrifice the on event support of the many cross country enthusiast, however, we hope to be able to allow fans to attend events in the latter part of the year, ” Rutherford concluded.