- DONALDSON CROSS COUNTRY TEAMS HEAD INTO THE UNKNOWN
- Donaldson Cross Country Championship teams will be heading into the unknown when the season opens with the RFS 450 in the Free State on February 28 and March 1.
After being based at the Tarlton International Raceway near Krugersdorp for a number of seasons, the RFS event moves to Harrismith and virgin territory will provide crews with a challenging start to the season. Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park will all be based at the La La Nathi resort on the outskirts of Harrismith.
Route director Adri Roets said the course would take competitors in an anti-clockwise direction towards Lesotho via the Sterkfontein Dam. The route would follow the escarpment towards Montrose before doubling back alongside the N3 to race headquarters.
“It is lovely cross country terrain and competitors are going to enjoy it,” said Roets. “As you would expect from that part of South Africa there is a little of everything, and it is not going to be an easy ride.
“The grass is very long at this time of the year, and there are a number of river crossings. More rain is expected in the region, and the event could turn out to be a wet one.”
Under the new race format introduced in the Donaldson Cross Country Championship this season, the race will be made up of two 175 kilometre loops with a compulsory 15 minute halt at the end of the first leg. The qualifying race to determine race grid positions has been increased in length to 100 kilometres.
Roets added that the route for the qualifying race would be made up of 40 percent of the outward leg of the course, and 60 percent of the inward leg. The qualifying race will also start and finish at La La Nathi.
“The route is spectator friendly with several road crossing,” said Roets. “The spectator points are all easily accessible and provide for exciting viewing.”
The RFS 450 also breaks new ground in that it will be run in conjunction with rounds of both the Northern Regions and KwaZulu-Natal Cross Country Championships. Regional events have been run in conjunction with national races on numerous occasions, but this will be the first time both regional championships simultaneously share the stage with the Donaldson Cross Country Championship.
The qualifying race on Friday, February 28 will start at 12:00 and the race on Saturday, 1 March at 08:30.