Hot on the heels of the tantalising Mpumalanga 400 recently held in the scenic surrounds of Dullstroom, the SA Rally-Raid Championship heads for the spectacular Natal Midlands with its abundance of sugar cane, fauna, flora, and valleys, at the end of April.
Round two of the championship, previously known as the Sugarbelt 400, will this year enjoy sponsorship from the recently announced Mpumalanga based, #TeamHilux Rally-Raid.
The #TeamHilux Rally-Raid Sugarbelt 400, which takes place on Friday, 29 and Saturday, 30 April will again be based at the Beaumont Eston Farmers Club and will be the first time #TeamHilux Rally-Raid will compete with their full compliment.
Team members, Eben Basson and Leander Pienaar did the team proud when they finished first in the vastly competitive FIA T1 Class and third in the Overall Production Vehicle Championship, against the much-admired and experienced TGRSA teams of Henk Lategan/Brett Cummings and Shameer Variawa/Danie Stassen in the FIA T1+ Toyota DKR Hilux vehicles, at the season opener in Mpumalanga.
Malalane based brothers and multiple champions Johan and Werner Horn, unfortunately missed the opening round in Mpumalanga as their all new FIA T1+ vehicle could not be prepared in time for the event.
“Needless to say it was a huge disappointment for us, which puts us on the back-foot, but we were very aware of the race against the clock, and will make every effort to remedy the situation during the season,” said driver Johan Horn Jnr.
The Horn family are no strangers when it comes to partnering with events in the Cross Country or Rally-Raid championships, with Johan Horn Snr. and his Malalane Toyota team instrumental in the inaugural Nkomasi 400 held in the Malalane area between 2013 and 2016. In 2018, Malalane Toyota again joined forces with the SA Cross Country Series (SACCS) and embarked on the Mpumalanga 400 in the Dullstroom area to establish a new and highly successful event in the championship.
“We welcome #TeamHilux Rally-Raid to the 2022 SA Rally-Raid Championship and wish them all the success they deserve with their new venture and in the championship.
“We are all conscious of the prevailing economic climate, and are most grateful to #TeamHilux Rally-Raid for their investment in our sport and in this very popular event. From experience and based on our well-established relationship, we have no doubt that this involvement will extend to other advantages for our sport and the community”, said SA Rally-Raid Championship CEO, Archie Rutherford.
Renowned for their commitment to always embrace the community, the sponsorship also includes a food aid donation from Malalane Toyota, which will be managed in conjunction with the Beaumont Eston Farmers’ Association.
“We are committed to promoting and growing the newly found #TeamHilux Rally-Raid outfit and cannot think of a better way of doing this, and to capitalise on the incomparable success Toyota has accomplished on the local and global motorsport stage, said Team Principal Johan Horn Snr.
The event, always well supported by the community, also encompasses round three and four of the KZN Regional championship, and combined with round two of the SA Rally-Raid Championship should attract a solid entry, promising more unparalleled racing action.