MALALANE PREVIEW

MALALANE PREVIEW

Ford Performance Targeting Strong Showing in Malalane

  • Round four of SA championship, one of three 450km sprint races
  • Chris Visser/Japie Badenhorst and Lance Woolridge/Ward Huxtable both looking for strong results
  • Race-winning ex-factory Ranger entered by Australians John Purshouse and Murray Hynes

PRETORIA, South Africa, 30 July June 2015 – The Ford Performance team is targeting a strong showing on the fourth round of the Donaldson Cross Country championship – the Nkomazi 450 that takes place in Malalane, Mpumalanga on 7 and 8 August.

The Nkomazi event is one of three 450km sprint races in this year’s six-round championship, and is always a festive yet extremely competitive affair.

For the Ford Performance crew, it will hopefully be an opportunity to salvage some championship points after a frustrating outing on the Desert Race in June where the two Class T Rangers suffered numerous driveshaft failures due to an incorrect heat treatment and hardening process by the supplier.

“The cars have been totally stripped down and reassembled after Botswana and we have made some drive train upgrades to both cars as well as some minor suspension changes.”

Neil Woolridge, team principle, points out that Malalane is a relatively short race but never the less very demanding. “Tyre wear is fierce and to complete the whole event on one set of tyres is a challenge.”

“Conditions in this event are similar to those of KwaZulu-Natal, so we are hoping for a great event,” he says. “The organisation of the Malalane race is always superb, so I’m sure we’re in for a great, festive weekend.”

Along with the two Ford Performance Rangers campaigned by Chris Visser/Japie Badenhorst (T28) and Lance Woolridge/Ward Huxtable (T34), one of the team’s ex-factory Rangers has made its way back from Australia and will be competing in the Nkomazi 450 with Aussies John Purshouse and Murray Hynes doing driving and navigating duties, respectively.

This is the same Neil Woolridge Motorsport-built vehicle that powered the factory team of Manfred Schroder and Japie Badenhorst to victory on the Toyota Dealer 450 in Mooi River last year.

Purshouse, a former Australian rally champion, and Hynes won the Mogumber 240 in their domestic championship and achieved fourth place overall in the 2014 Australasian Safari in this Ranger. They are also scheduled to compete in the final two rounds of the South African championship, comprising the Vryburg Endurance in September and the season-ending Atlas Copco Gold 450 in October.

According to the organisers, race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park for the Nkomazi 450 will be based at the Riverview Preparatory School on the outskirts of Malalane. The weekend will be made up of a 100km qualifying race to determine grid positions on Friday 7 August, and two laps of approximately 175km on the Saturday.

There will be free public entry to race headquarters with a wide variety of refreshments and entertainment available. There will also be free public entry to viewing points along the route.

The qualifying race will start at 11:30 on Friday, and the race sets off at 08:30 the next morning. During the race there will be a compulsory 20 minute service halt after the first loop.

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Ford Performance is proud to be associated with the following sponsors and partners for the 2015 Donaldson Cross Country Championship: Neil Woolridge Motorsport, Motul, Willowton Logistics, Time Freight, Sign Solutions, OMP, Ironman 4×4 and Donaldson Filtration Solutions

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Follow the team’s updates and progress on www.facebook.com/FordPerformanceSA

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