The Dakar Rally, considered as one of the toughest in many years, is now something of the past and South African Rally-Raid competitors proved their talent while local race vehicle manufacturers and constructors showed their worth and returned from Saudi Arabia to the country with various titles and trophies in the bag.
Now it is time to prepare for the 2023 SA Rally-Raid Championship that starts in two months and an exciting season with popular venues and racing terrain are awaiting competitors. The SA Rally-Raid Championship is internationally recognised as a high-level series and is a favourite of many visiting competitors. This year will be no different and looking at the calendar, a variety of challenging terrain as well as popular events and new events are on the cards predicting an exciting season.
The championship will kick off with a return to Malelane in Mpumalanga with the opening round taking place on 24 and 25 March. This event featured on the calendar between 2013 and 2016 and was twice awarded Best Event of the Year. Malelane is the hometown of the Horn family and the brothers, Johan and Werner, have been avid competitors in the Production Vehicle Category or many years. Johan Horn Snr. is again the driving force behind this event being reinstated on the SARRC calendar.
For the second round of the series, competitors will travel to the Eston and Mid-Illovo areas of KwaZulu-Natal for the traditional Sugarbelt 400 on 12 and 13 May. This event, which ran in the area as a national championship since the early 1990’s, was cancelled in 2022 due to the flooding disaster.
After three years of not competing in Botswana, the TGRSA 1000 Desert Race will return to the diamond-mining town of Jwaneng for Round Three on 23, 24 and 25 June. This will be the only marathon event on the calendar.
The Debswana Jwaneng mine is the richest diamond mine in the world and the historical Desert Race was hosted at Jwaneng from 2014 to 2018. Competitors can look forward to be welcomed back in Botswana by local supporters, and to the biggest sporting event on their calendar.
After a break of just under two months, the SARRC will then continue on 18 and 19 August when the fourth and fifth rounds will be decided at Parys in the Free State. Competitors tackled a wet and muddy event during November 2022 at Parys and fingers will be crossed for the weather gods to play along for a dry event during August.
This year, a new race has been added to the calendar with Welkom in the Free State playing host to Round Six of the 2023 SARRC. This event will take place on 6 and 7 October. The seventh and final event of the season is scheduled for 10 and 11 November and the venue will be announced soon.
If 2022 was anything to go by with exhilarating racing and titles that went down to the wire, competitors, teams, supporters and enthusiasts can look forward to yet another exciting SA Rally-Raid Championship season.
DATE ROUND VENUE
24 – 25 March ONE MALELANE
12 – 13 MAY TWO ESTON KZN
23 – 25 JUNE THREE JWANENG BOTSWANA
18 – 19 AUGUST FOUR / FIVE PARYS
6 – 7 OCTOBER SIX WELKOM
10 – 11 NOVEMBER SEVEN TBA