NEW SPONSOR AND NEW NAME FOR SOUTH AFRICAN OFF ROAD RACING
A new sponsor and a new name will take off road racing in South Africa into a new era in 2013.
Donaldson Filtration Solutions will take over sponsorship of what will now been known as The Donaldson Cross
Country Championship. At a function in Johannesburg it was announced Donaldson would replace Absa, who bowed out at the end of last season after an association lasting more than a decade, as principal sponsor of the South African championship.
A worldwide provider of filtration solutions and replacement parts, Donaldson previously sponsored the Donaldson Prologue at Absa national championship events. The new agreement cements a long standing association between Donaldson and the South African National Off Road Racing Association (SANORA).
“When the opportunity arose to increase our participation in the sport, we jumped at it,” said Donaldson managing director Rob Simpson. “Under SANORA Cross Country racing in South Africa has a high international profile and the sport is closely aligned with our industry.
“The dusty conditions encountered in The Donaldson Cross Country Championship provide the ideal platform to showcase our superior products and technical capabilities.”
Simpson added that Donaldson and SANORA shared a common vision for the future of the sport, but were respectful of each other’s role in taking The Donaldson Cross Country Championship to new heights. This was a key ingredient to ensure a fruitful and sustainable partnership.
“Our ultimate aim is to provide our customers with filtration solutions that enhance equipment performance, protect the environment and improve people’s lives,” Simpson said. “Cross Country racing enjoys excellent media and television coverage, and presents us with numerous marketing and brand awareness opportunities.’
Donaldson’s increased involvement with the Cross Country racing will not be confined to The Donaldson Championship. Funds will also be channelled to the Northern Region and KwaZulu-Natal Cross Country Regional Championships to nurture the sport at grass roots level.
SANORA chief executive officer Richard Schilling said Cross Country racing was in the privileged position of being able to replace one committed sponsor with another. Donaldson’s previous involvement with the sport had simply been elevated to a higher level.
“We have had a very good working relationship with Donaldson in recent years, and this will continue in the future,” Schilling said. “Through the exploits of the Toyota Imperial and other teams on the Dakar Rally Cross Country racing in South Africa is enjoying a high international profile.”
Schilling added that the change in nomenclature off road to cross country racing was part of a SANORA programme to bring the sport in South Africa into line with international trends. Changes to rules and regulation in The Donaldson Cross Country Championship would also be implemented to make it easier for South Africans to compete in international events.
“We are also hoping to attract more overseas competitors to our championship,” said Schilling who is also a member of the FIA Cross Country Commission. “We have an excellent relationship with the FIA and the organisers of the Dakar Rally, and the short and long term future for our sport is very promising.”
The first round of The Donaldson Cross Country Championship will be the RFS 400, based at the Tarlton International Raceway near Krugersdorp, on March 1 and 2. Seven other events will be held throughout South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho.