The calendar for the 2005 MSA Off Road Car Racing Championship has been finalised and includes events in five South African provinces and two neighbouring countries.

The season kicks off with the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 in KwaZulu Natal on March 18 and 19. The popular Natal Off Road Motor Club organised event has traditionally been the second event on the calendar but fire risks and cane farming operations had to be taken into account, hence the move to earlier in the year.

The Nissan Dealer 400 will again take place in the Darling area on the Cape West Coast but this time the Cape Motor Cycle and Car Club organised event will take place from April 22 to 23. The organisers are considering a request from the MSA Off Road Car Racing Commission Exco to stage the Prologue closer to Cape Town on the Friday with the main event in the Darling area on the Saturday.

The only 1000km event on the calendar, the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, will again take place in Botswana from May 27 to 29. The Four Wheel Drive Club of Southern Africa organised event has assumed cult status with an ever-growing Motswana audience and the fact that this year’s event was won by Botswana born Atang Makgekgenene is likely to attract even larger crowds in future.

Off Road South Africa will organise the fourth round of the championship, the Sun City 400, which is scheduled for July 1 and 2 and will again be run in the Pilanesberg area. A feature of the event is that the route is laid out in a compact area, which makes for excellent spectating.

The Lesotho Sun 400 will take place from August 5 to 6 and no doubt again be a true test of man and machine. The Lesotho Off Road Association admits that this year’s inaugural event may have been a touch too difficult and slow and has undertaken to add some faster sections to the route, which should please competitors.

The sixth round of the championship, the Mafikeng 500 in the North West Province is organised by the Mafikeng Motor Club and is scheduled for September 9 and 10.

The penultimate round of the championship will be the Toyota Dealer 400 in Lydenburg on October 14 and 15. The SA Motorsportklub (SAM), which organises the popular Sasol Rally, has introduced a number of innovations for this year’s event and will continue to do so in future.

The Koepel Club organised Carnival City Casino 400 will round of an action packed season on November 18 and 19. The Gauteng based event offers excellent spectating opportunities including the 5km stadium section within the complex and will no doubt be a huge attraction.

“The MSA Off Road Car Racing Commission Exco’s objective is to have representation in as many provinces and key markets as possible so as to provide sponsors and participants with the maximum return on investment as far as media and public exposure is concerned,” said MSA Off Road Car Racing Commission President, Piet Swanepoel. “In future consideration will be given to including events in the Free State, Limpopo Province and in the Eastern Cape but that will mean having to add events to an already busy calendar.”

“From a competitor perspective we have structured the calendar in such a way as to give them four weeks, excluding the week of the race, between events to source spare parts from overseas and prepare their vehicles for the next race.”

18-19 Mar, Nissan Sugarbelt 400, KwaZulu Natal

22-23 Apr, Nissan Dealer 400, Western Cape

27-29 May, Toyota 1000 Desert Race, Botswana

01-02 Jul, Sun City 400, North West Province

05-06 Aug, Lesotho Sun 400, Lesotho

09-10 Sep, Mafikeng 500, North West Province

14-15 Oct, Toyota Dealer 400, Mpumalanga

18-19 Nov, Carnival City Casino 400, Gauteng

Original article from Car