Bok captain back for Sugarbelt
FORMER Springbok rugby captain John Smit will be another victim of the addictive nature of cross country motor racing at the Sugarbelt 450, round two of the Donaldson Cross Country Championship, in Eston on May 8 and 9.
Smit will make his second appearance in the Imperial Auto Celebrity Challenge when he co-drives for Terence Marsh, in a Regent Racing Nissan Navara, at round two of the Donaldson series.
The most capped captain in Springbok rugby history, Smit last season finished at the top of the Imperial Auto Celebrity Challenge standings, and joins sports stars Stefan Terblanche and Jonty Rhodes and television personality Marius Roberts who have all had a second bite at the cross country racing cherry.
Smit, educated at Pretoria Boys’ High, retired from international rugby at the end of 2011 with 111 Springbok caps and led the national team a record 83 times. Smit is now chief executive officer of the Sharks franchise, and led the Springboks to a World Cup triumph in 2007 and Tri-Nations titles in 2004 and 2009.
“John is another of the sports and entertainment celebrities who has pestered us for a second shot at national championship cross country racing, and it is an indication of just how addictive our sport can be,” said former South African champion Marsh, who is also the Regent Racing team principal. “With the Sugarbelt 450 based at Eston, just outside Pietermaritzburg, we decided to let John have another go virtually on his doorstep.
“We had a good outing on the Sun City 450 last season, and hopefully we can come up with another good result on the Sugarbelt.”
Marsh and Smit will compete in the premier Class T in the Production Vehicle category. Class T is for vehicles above four litres with independent rear suspension.
Race headquarters, the start/finish and designated service park for the Sugarbelt 450 will all be based at the Beaumont Eston Farmers Club. There will be free public entry to these areas as well as spectator points along the route.
The qualifying race to determine grid positions will start at 11.30 am on May 8 and the race at 8.30 am the following day.