Bok cap­tain back for Sug­ar­belt

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

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.

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