Team Ford Racing, based in Pietermaritzburg is eager to impress in front of their home crowd at round three of this year’s ABSA Off Road Championship. The Nissan Sugarbelt 400 will take place in Eston, Kwa-Zulu Natal on 16 and 17 May, and is sure to attract an enthusiastic audience.

Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer are optimistic ahead of the upcoming event having taken second place overall on the previous outing.  The duo, competing in their SP Ford Ranger, will be looking to continue with their good form by taking another podium finish in Natal.

“We always enjoy this event,” comments Woolrdige. “The local fans really support us and we’ll be doing our best to give them something to cheer about. The Ranger proved to be a strong package on the previous event and we are confident that we can again compete at the front of the field.”

Woolridge and Skjoldhammer are currently lying in joint second place in this year’s Production Car Championship, just two points adrift of the leading crew.

Mark Ferguson and Craig West piloting the sister SP Ford Ranger joined the Ford outfit at the start of the 2008 Championship and have been working hard on learning the ropes in the very competitive SP Class.

“We’re very happy with our performance to date,” says Ferguson. “The previous round of the championship in the Eastern Cape proved to be a very tough event for everyone with an unusually high attrition rate. As such we were very happy to make it to the finish and score some points in the process. The Sugarbelt will be another new event for us but we are learning all the time and we’ll be aiming to tally up some more points.”

Reigning Class E Champions Jack Peckham and Lucio Santoro competing in the Class E Ford Ranger are keen to get their championship fight back on track.

“We had a tough event last time out and unfortunately we didn’t make it to the finish,” says Peckham. “It is however early days in the championship and a good result on the Sugarbelt will put us back in contention for this year’s title.”

The Sugarbelt 400 is characterised by cane fields, forest plantations and open grasslands. Thanks to persistent rain in the area it is expected to be a wet event this year.

“The whole team is looking forward to the event,” continues Woolrdige. “The organisers have put in a lot of effort in the build up to the race and the spectators are always enthusiastic here. We expect to be faced with some tricky conditions thanks to the wet weather we’ve been having in the area. Nonetheless we are confident of a strong result.”

Team Ford Racing recognises the following sponsors for their commitment and belief in the team: Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, Time Freight, Special Steels, Ferguson investments, Hugo’s Panel Shop – Pietermaritzburg, Eibach Springs, Sign Solutions and Donerre Dampers.