The ever growing ranks of the premier SP Class in the Production Vehicle category of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship will gain another recruit at the Sun City 400, round five of the series in the Pilanesberg on July 26 and 27.
After a topsy turvy start to the season in a Toyota Hilux running in Class E – which included a roll on the Toyota Dealer Sugarbelt 400 – Luke Botha and Kevin Durston have taken the plunge. The pair will tackle the rest of the season in the SP Class and will make their debut in the Force Fuel Toyota Hilux on the Sun City event.
“Our E Class campaign was one of constant turmoil and we have taken the plunge into the SP Class ranks much earlier than anticipated,” said Force Fuel executive Luke Botha. “In preparation for a full campaign in the category next year, we will use the four remaining events this season as a learning curve.”
SP Class entries at Donaldson Cross Country Championship events are now approaching the 30 mark. Apart from four factory cars from Team Castrol Toyota and Ford Racing the rest of the SP Class entries are in the hands of privateers.
“Toyota and Ford have done a good job in making cars available to privateers, but the growth in the SP Class is indicative of the lure of cross country racing and the high level of competition in the Donaldson series,” said South African National Off Road Racing Association (SANORA) president Richard Schilling. “The recent success of the Imperial Toyota and other South African teams on the Dakar Rally in South America has also had a ripple effect.
“We are also starting to feel the benefits of bringing our championship into line with international rules and regulations. The bottom line, however, is that the Donaldson Cross Country Championship is the most competitive of its kind in the world and with hard core support from privateers there is a rosy future for our sport.”
The partnership with fuel supplier Force Fuel has also produced another successful cross country championship partnership. Force Fuel this season joined long-time Donaldson Cross Country Championship partners Ford and Toyota as fuel supplier to the national and Northern Regions championships.
The ‘mobile fuel station’ operated by Force Fuel at national and regional races provides competitors with both ULP95 and 50ppm diesel. Tankers are located in a demarcated area in the pits with fuel available for purchase by all race teams, support teams and race officials.