Another chance for the ATS Motorsport Young Guns to shine
If you’re going to gamble, Sun City is the place to do it.
And Team ATS Motorsport, aka the Young Guns, will be gambling on a strong finish in the Sun City 400, fifth round of the South African Cross Country Series (SACCS), which takes place at the popular North-West Province resort on September 15 and 16.
They’ve made the most of the six-week break since the last round to improve the performance of their rip-snorting Ford Ranger.
“We’ve done further development work on the shock absorbers and continue to move in the right direction,” confirmed Richard Leeke, at just 21 already a hardened veteran of national championship motorsport. “The goalposts are moving all the time and our Ranger is a much faster truck than it was at the beginning of the year and while we’re still the rookies of the Cross Country scene, we’re quick learners!”
So far 2017 – their maiden season in Cross Country – has brought mixed fortunes, thanks to some reliability issues. But they’ve treated it as a learning curve and Sun City will be approached with that in mind.
“We’re going for a solid finish and if we can get one this weekend we’ll be satisfied,” says Leeke. “Class S for trucks like ours is increasing in popularity and there are a number of new entries – including some very experienced racers – so a podium will be a good indication of where we’re at in terms of outright pace.”
Adds Henry Köhne, Leeke’s co-driver in this and also the national rally championship: “Sun City has been on the calendar for many years, so there are a lot of teams with what you could term ‘local knowledge’, so we will have that to contend with too. Nevertheless, our latest testing has improved our truck and we’re confident that we now have what it takes to be quick and reliable.”
Sun City 400 race headquarters and the designated service park will be located within the Sun City complex, with the start of the race close to the village of Tweelaagte 30 kilometres to the west. Saturday’s race will be run over two loops with competitors flagged away at dust gap intervals of two minutes. There will be a compulsory 20-minute service halt at the end of loop one with the second loop starting at midday.
Fans can follow the event on the RallySafe app for iOS and Android devices. The app can be downloaded free of charge and enables enthusiasts to track the cars on a detailed map, download split times and access results.