information supplied by: Off Road Commission
RFS MAGALIES 400 NAMED ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP EVENT OF THE YEAR
Photographer: Danie van Jaarsveld
There will be plenty of cause for celebration at the RFS Magalies 400, the opening round of this year’s Absa Off Road Championship, at Tarlton International Raceway on March 9 and 10.
Last year’s RFS Magalies 400, the final race of the season, was last night voted ‘Event of the Year’ at the Absa Off Road Championship prize-giving at the Johannesburg Country Club in Woodmead. A reshuffle of championship dates this year sees the RFS Magalies event kick off the season.
Absa, via Absa Vehicle and Asset Finance, have been involved with the national series since 2002. The championship is a jewel in the Motorsport South Africa crown and is acknowledged as the most competitive domestic off road championship in world motorsport.
The Absa Off Road Championship also laid the foundation for South Africa’s success at this year’s Dakar Rally. Imperial Toyota pair Giniel de Villiers and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz finished third in the world’s toughest race, with team-mates Duncan Vos and Rob Howie 11th and Century Racing pair Mark Corbett and Francois Jordaan finishing a creditable 24th.
“There is no doubt that Absa and Absa Vehicle and Asset Finance have played a lead role in the development of South African off road racing over the last decade,” said SA National Off Road Racing Association chairman Richard Schilling. “Without their commitment and hands on approach to a major sponsorship, off road racing in this country could not have reached the heights which were reflected by the Dakar Rally results.
“All of us in off road racing acknowledge the role Absa and Absa Vehicle and Finance Asset have played in our sport, and we look forward to another highly successful season.”
Last year’s RFS Magalies 400 was organised by the SA National Off Road Car Racing Association with race director Adri Roets at the helm of the organising team. The same team will organise this year’s event with much of last season’s infrastructure still in place.
“The ‘Event of the Year’ accolade is a feather in the RFS cap and for Adri and his team,” Schilling said. “I am sure this year’s race will be equally successful.”
Apart from sponsoring the RFS Magalies 400 the Pretoria based Retirement Fund Solutions run a two car team in the Production Vehicle category of the Absa Off Road Championship. The company also sponsors the annual RFS Motorcycle Econorun in Mpumalanga.
The Imperial Toyota and Century Racing teams were also honoured at last night’s function. The two teams were presented with Milestone Awards for their performances on the Dakar Rally.
Toyota also lifted the South African Manufacturers’ Championship award while two teenagers walked away with ‘Highest Placed Newcomer’ awards. Jason Venter finished third in the Class E driver championship with co-driver Vincent van Alleman second in the co-driver championship with both youngsters in their first year of national off road racing.
“With the Special and Production Vehicle titles going all the way to the final event, 2011 provided for an exciting season,” Schilling said. “Our congratulations go to the overall and class winners and I don’t think there is any doubt that this season is going to be just as tough and competitive.”