From wide open spaces in Botswana to a tight and technical route in Mpumalanga is the challenge awaiting crews at round four of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, the Nkomazi 450, in Malalane on August 7 and 8.
The Donaldson series is all about diversity and the difference between Toyota 1000 Desert Race conditions and the Malalane event is chalk and cheese. The Nkomazi 450 is also one of three sprint races on the calendar with the weekend made up of a 100 kilometre qualifying race to determine grid positions, and two laps of approximately 175 kilometres.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park will once again be located at the Riverside Preparatory School on the outskirts of Malalane. From the start the race route travels clockwise behind Malalane towards Jeppes Reef.
Crews then head back towards Malalane Estates across the Kaalrug Road with this section offering differing terrain. A bushy mountain section which leads into 60 kilometres of forest racing will provide for interesting contrasts, and will be a tough challenge.
The route then heads back towards Malalane crossing underneath the N4 highway at Kaalrug. This takes crews through sugarcane fields, and runs along the railway line towards a laid-out spectator section just past the clinic on the outskirts of Malalane.
“The terrain is in complete contrast to Botswana, and a tight and technical route is going to test crews in more ways than one,” said race director Adri Roets. “For the most part the route will be dry and dusty but, because of irrigation, the sugarcane section will be wet and slippery.
“The spectator section near the clinic should be popular with enthusiasts, but after Botswana this race is going to present competitors with a completely different mindset.”
Roets added that as was the case with all Donaldson events the route was spectator friendly. There is easy access to spectator points within easy reach of Malalane, and public entrance to these areas is free of charge.
There is also free public entry to race headquarters with the local community again banding together to provide a wide range of refreshment stalls and other entertainment. Race programmes will also be available at Malalane Toyota and at race headquarters.
The qualifying race will start at 11:30 on August 7 and the race at 8:30 on August 8. During the race there will be a compulsory 20 minute service halt at the end of the first of the two loops.