Ford Racing’s title event – the Ford Motorite Limpopo 400, round six in the ABSA Off-Road Championship Series, saw champions Neil Woolridge and navigator Kenny Skjoldhammer break a three-way points deadlock and finish on the podium in third overall in the Class SP Production Vehicle category in their 4.0 Ford Ranger. Class E factory Ford Ranger 2.5 TD driven by Jack Peckham and navigator Lucio Santoro took a class win and extended their championship lead.
After Friday’s prologue event to determine Saturday’s starting positions, Team Ford Racing had clocked the third fastest time with a Class SP Ford Ranger at the hands of Brandon Harcus and once-off lady navigator Marcel Trethewey. However a faulty camshaft prevented the duo from starting the main event and left full responsibility on the shoulders of current class SP champions Woolridge and Skjoldhammer for the Team Ford Racing’s SP team.
Woolridge and Skjoldhammer started in 20th position on Saturday, but made light work of working the way up the field into the lead of the Special Production SP class at the end of the first 200km mark. An encounter with a sinkhole on the second lap cost them just enough time to be relegated to third overall at the end of the 400km long race.
Current Class E Championship leaders Jack Peckham and Lucio Santoro fended off an onslaught from rival competitors to once again take the laurels in class with their diesel powered Ford Ranger 2.5 TD to add to their points lead. The Class E pairing is ecstatic with their result and is looking forward to complete domination at 2007’s final two events.
The privately entered Ford Rangers of Harrismith based Kobus van Tonder and Riaan Guelpa in their Unifreight SP clocked good results at the race, by finishing in sixth overall in the premier category, while Botswana based privateer Cor van Os and Arjen Kuipers in their Barclays/Tocotex Ford Ranger 2.5 TD finished fourth in class E.
“It’s unfortunate that I found the only bit of mud in the entire area,” reports Neil Woolridge. “We were looking good for a win but I got stuck for just long enough to lose the lead. I’m still very happy with our result, and I strongly believe that we have made enough improvements to the vehicle to see us challenge for wins at the next two rounds.”
“It’s disappointing that we were forced to retire at such an early stage, but I’m extremely confident with the changes we’ve made to our cars,” said Brandon Harcus. “We’ve been developing the Ranger this year and I’m sure we can contest for wins in the future.”
“It feels great not to have to worry about my navigator anymore,” says Class E points leader Jack Peckham. “Whatever he’s using is certainly working to prevent the motion sickness he suffered from, and I’m not asking any questions. He needs to keep doing whatever it is he’s doing and the championship is as good as ours.”
Team Ford Racing would like to thank their sponsors; Ford Motor Company, Ford, Ford Credit, Rockford Fosgate, Sign Solutions, Time Freight, Harden Panel beaters, and the Ford spectators for all their support.