22 June 2011, Pretoria – Round four of the Absa Off Road Championship will see crews heading across the border for the Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race. The event marks the half way point in this year’s championship and gets underway on Friday 24 June with the proceeding 1000km being amongst the toughest routes crews face throughout the season.
Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst from the Ford Factory team, have had their fair share of challenges this season, but are hoping to turn it around this weekend.
“We’re extremely happy with where we stand right now,” says Visser. “We had a very successful test in the build up to this event. The car proved its metal and we are confident that we will be able to turn our luck around.”
The Botswana-based event is known for its treacherous conditions and with a substantial amount of rainfall in the build up to the event, the route could prove even more demanding than usual.
“We’re expecting thick bush and possibly even muddy areas along the route,” continues Visser. “If you are able to finish on the Desert Race then chances are you will finish well, so our primary goal will be to bring the car home and if all goes well, we will do that in a strong position.”
Teammates Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable will have an even tougher time of it. Woolridge broke his trapezium bone in four places on the previous event and has not yet fully recovered from his injury. With three days of racing and 1000km to traverse, the young contender will have a trying outing.
“There couldn’t be a worse event to drive with an injury,” comments Woolridge. “It normally takes at least six weeks for a break to heal, and with this type of injury sometimes longer. We’re only at five weeks now. Nevertheless I am determined to give it a go. I’ll have to strap the hand up and battle through the pain, but I hope to make it all the way to the finish.”
The Desert Race is one of Botswana’s biggest sporting events of the year, attracting thousands of spectators over the three day period. The incredible popularity of the event, coupled with the demanding nature of the route, makes it the event of the season.