Exciting New Route Awaits NWM Ford Team at SARRC Vryheid 400

  • Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Rally-Raid Team aiming to transform impressive pace of EcoBoost-powered NWM Ford Ranger Ultimate into solid results at second round of SA Rally-Raid Championship
  •  All-new event takes place in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, on 24 and 25 May 2024
  • Lance Woolridge and Kenny Gilbert (#234), along with team-mates and reigning champions Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer (#200), will be going all-out for podium finishes


PIETERMARITZBURG, South Africa, 20 May 2024 – The Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) Ford Rally-Raid Team will be back in action at Round 2 of the South African Rally-Raid Championship (SARRC), the inaugural PS Laser Promac Vryheid 400, which takes place in KwaZulu-Natal on 24 and 25 May 2024.

The promising performance from both of the EcoBoost V6-powered NWM Ford Rangers at the opening round in Malalane was unfortunately hampered by minor technical niggles which have now been resolved. Accordingly, the team is ready to get back in the championship fight at this completely new event, which presents an exciting and fresh challenge for the competitors.

Lance Woolridge and Kenny Gilbert (#234) showed impressive pace last time out in their new-look and extensively updated Shell-liveried NWM Ford Ranger, but a broken driveshaft early in the main race disrupted their progress and they had to settle for 11th place in the Ultimate class. If their pace in the remainder of the event after the vehicle was repaired is anything to go by, they are sure to be in the mix at the sharp end of the field in Vryheid.

Reigning champions Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer (#200) were in contention for a podium finish and potentially the race win in the second NWM Ford Ranger until a water pump bearing failed on the final loop of the race, and they were forced to retire. As a result, they are aiming to come out with all guns blazing at is what is effectively the Pietermaritzburg-based team’s home event.

“The performance of our two cars at the season-opener in Malalane was fantastic and both of the crews were on it right from the start. It’s unfortunate that we had the two separate technical issues which were firsts for us, but we are confident that these have been diagnosed and rectified, and we are looking forward to the prospect of an all-new race in Vryheid,” says Neil Woolridge, NWM Ford team principal.

The NWM-supported privateer team of Wors Prinsloo and Andre Vermeulen (#241) will be back in action too, having finished a commendable eighth in the Ultimate class at the opening race of 2024 in their NWM Ford Ranger.

The PS Laser Promac Vryheid 400 follows the Super Event format, comprising a short 15km qualifying race on Friday 24 May, starting at 09:30. This will determine the starting order for the 38km opening stage that follows in the afternoon, kicking off at 13:00.

Saturday 25 May will see the teams completing two 174km race loops starting at 07:30, separated by a mandatory 30-minute service break at the designated service park (DSP) and race headquarters located at the Vryheid Flying Club.

According to SARRC, a challenging but scenic route has been put together in the mountainous area surrounding Vryheid in northern KwaZulu-Natal, which is well known for its coal mining and cattle farming. Competitors can look forward to varied terrain, with the start of the route racing through the lowlands next to mealie fields and rivers before tackling steep mountains with some severe rocky sections, and faster-flowing routes in and around timber plantations.

Fans can follow all the action and track the position of the crews throughout each of the races using the RallySafe app which can be downloaded for iOS and Android devices from the relevant app stores.

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