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Off-roaders rev up for Dealer 400

Round 2 of the SA Off-Road championship will be run this weekend with the Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga, and with 14 dedicated spectator points along the route, race fans are guaranteed a good view of the action.

The race will be run over two 175km loops, with numerous spectator points in the Lydenburg and Dullstroom areas, and the race's service park and headquarters set up at Lydenburg Toyota.

Evan Hutchison's high-flying BAT Venom contests the Special Vehicles class.

After a convincing win on the opening event of the season the Ford Racing pair of former champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst will start as favourites. Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable picked up second place last time out in the second Ranger TDCi, and are again expected to be frontrunners.

The factory Toyotas of Duncan Vos and Rob Howie, and Anthony Taylor and Chris Birkin are probably the biggest threat facing the Ford entries, but other potential dangers include reigning champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux, Pikkie Labuschagne and Rikus Erasmus, and Gary Bertholdt, now partnered by Ralph Pitchford, all Toyota Hilux-mounted.

SOLID START

The Nissan Navara crew of Terence Marsh and George Smalberger got their season off to a solid start with a podium finish at Round 1, and will look to do the same on Saturday.

In the Special Vehicle category, the Johan van Staden and new co-driver Mike Lawrenson got their season off to a dream start with a win at the first race, but finished less than 20 seconds ahead of former champion Evan Hutchison and Danie Stassen in the new BAT Venom.

The prologue to determine the start order for Saturday will get away at 12.30pm on Friday, and the race the following day at 8.30am from outside Lydenburg Toyota. - Star Motoring

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