Team Ford Racing is looking forward to competing in their own backyard at the second round of the Absa Off Road Championship. The Kwa-Zulu Natal based team will have many local fans cheering them when the Hluhluwe Nissan 400 gets underway on April 13 and 14.
After years of being based at Eston, on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, where it ran as the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, the race has found a new home in Hluhluwe, north of Richards Bay.
“We are looking forward to competing on the new route, especially as it is a home event for us” explains team manager Neil Woolridge. “Hluhluwe is a popular tourism hub and will give us an opportunity to show case our cars in front of an enthusiastic audience.”
Class SP Champion Woolridge will compete in the event in his 4-litre SP Ford Racing Ranger with Kenny Skjoldhammer alongside him in the navigator’s seat. “We are looking forward to another strong outing at Hluhluwe. To date the cars have shown tremendous promise and we are continuing to develop the cars all the time.” added Woolridge.
Joining them in the sister Class SP Ford Ranger will be Manfred Schröder and Ward Huxtable. The reigning class E champions made their class SP debut at the previous round and showed they have what it takes to challenge the front runners.
“We are very happy with our debut” explained Schröder. “The vehicle was fantastic and we quickly got to grips with it allowing us to be up with the front runners. I’m looking forward to competing in my home event and hopefully giving the fans something to cheer about.”
Also competing in the SP Class under the Ford banner will be Brandon Harcus and Juan Mohr. The duo also made their class debut at the previous round and were delighted with their progress.
“We’re very upbeat about the upcoming event. We had a fantastic debut and the car proved to be faultless throughout the weekend and we’re now looking forward to getting some more seat time and honing in on our skills in the class.”
Flying the flag in Class E will be Jack Peckham and Lucio Santoro in their diesel Ford Ranger. Santoro made his navigating debut at the previous round but quickly found his feet and is feeling confident ahead of the next round.
“I was very nervous at the previous round as I had never done anything like this before. Luckily I managed to get the hang of it and had a great time with Jack. The next event is a new route for everyone which may level the playing field a bit.” commented Santoro.
Event head quarters is at the John Hassard Community Hall directly opposite the Hluhluwe Airfield. According to the organisers the terrain is typical bushveld with sugar cane and pineapple field sections as well as gum plantations.
“Our cars proved to be very strong at the initial outing so we feel we are in a strong position to challenge at the front of the field from the outset. We are also looking forward to giving the local fans something to cheer about,” concluded Woolridge.
Team Ford Racing will be partnered by Rockford Fosgate, Time Freight and Harden Auto and Absolute in their quest to challenge for silverware in this year’s ABSA Off Road Championship.