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The Battlefields 400 will offer cross country enthusiasts a full house of entertainment

The Battlefields 400 will offer cross country enthusiasts a full house of entertainment

They say variety is the spice of life and by the time the season ends in October competitors in the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS) will have had everything, plus more, thrown at them by way of prevailing conditions at championship venues.

Round two of the Auto and Moto championships head for KwaZulu-Natal on May 12 and 13, with the Battlefields 400 based in Dundee offering a contrast in conditions from the opening round in Lichtenburg where Auto and Moto competitors often struggled to come to terms with a rocky and tight Lichtenburg route that offered little room for error. The Battlefields 400 track is expected to be far more forgiving.

“Having said that, the route is a demanding one which will be a challenge for the competitors,” said route director Adri Roets who has been putting the finishing touches to the route with local landowners and community leaders. “The route is going to be a test for competitors who will need to adapt race strategies to the prevailing conditions.

“We have tried to include a little bit of everything in the route and I think we have succeeded with a nice balance of open and tight sections.”

The route is made up of a 60 kilometre northern loop and a 100 kilometre southern loop, with both starting from the Battlefields Country Lodge on the outskirts of Dundee. The northern loop takes in cultivated lands and ridges to Nyanyato, crosses the Buffalo River and heads back to the start/finish via the ridges.

The southern loop heads along the R33 Vryheid road to the Helpmekaar and Rorkes Drift areas. This section of the route is made up of some rocky sections, cattle grazing fields and minor streams before heading back to Battlefields Country Lodge.

“The area has had good rains and competitors can expect lush vegetation,” added Roets. “The Auto championship brigade has not raced here since 2011 so the route will be fresh territory, and the Moto competitors will find a much changed course from when they raced in the area last year.”

Moto competitors will do a 20-25 kilometre Super Pole on the northern loop in the morning of Friday, May 12 followed by three laps of the southern leg in the afternoon. There will be a compulsory 15 minute service halt at the designated service park between lap one and lap two.

The qualifying race to determine grid positions for Auto championship competitors will be held over approximately 45 kilometres of the northern loop on Friday afternoon.  The race on Saturday will see the field complete the northern and southern loops twice, with a compulsory 20 minute service halt, before repeating the two loops.

The Battlefields 400 will offer cross country enthusiasts a full house of entertainment. Apart from the SAACS national Auto and Moto championships, the weekend also includes round two of the KwaZulu-Natal regional championship for cars, and an invitation race for the KwaZulu-Natal regional motorcycle and quad fraternity.

Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park (DSP) will all be located at Battlefields Country Lodge and Sports Resort on the outskirts of Dundee. Public entrance to these areas and spectator points along the route is free of charge.

For those cross country enthusiasts who are inclined to include a little sightseeing over their weekends away, Dundee is a gateway for visits to the famous Blood River, Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift battlefields and is an area steeped in South African history.

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