Ford Performance and Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) have teamed up with Puma Lubricants as a co-sponsor for the team’s 2017 South African Cross Country Series campaign.
The exciting new development will see the NWM-run squad fielding three Class T Ford Rangers for this season in what is widely regarded as one of the world’s most competitive domestic cross country championships.
A cornerstone of the SA motor racing program, the Donaldson cross country series is a testing ground for some of the hardiest bakkies out there today, and the Built Tough Ford Ranger is foremost in this.
Partnering with Puma Lubricants will enable Neil Woodridge racing and Ford performance to be even more competitive. Puma Energy operates across 49 countries and five continents, and has put over two decades of knowledge and expertise into its lubricant offer. Puma Lubricants are marketed across Africa, Central America, and in Asia-Pacific.
And Puma Lubricants themselves are delighted to be able to show their products to SA , and demonstrate the quality of their lubricants.
Neil Woolridge Motorsport
NWM has enjoyed a long and proud association with Ford, having built a total 30 of Ford race vehicles since 2000.
Based in Pietermaritzburg, NWM is the global manufacturer and supplier of the FIA Class T1-specification Ranger cross country vehicle programme, which was developed in collaboration with Ford Performance in the United States.
The team has produced 16 vehicles to date as part of this programme, which compete locally and internationally.
Ford Performance NWM proved a formidable contender for the 2016 South African Cross Country Championship in Class T for Production Vehicles. The team lost out on the title by a mere 68 sec in the nail-biting final race of the year, ending the season with second and fourth places overall.
Besides Ford Performance and Puma Lubricants, the NWM team is also supported by Mastercraft, DeWalt, Sign Solutions, Parklane Superspar, Tiger Wheel & Tyre, Ironman 4×4 and Shatterprufe.
Competitive driver line-up
This year NWM have decided to add a third vehicle to the team in the form of – Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable (T34)
After stepping aside from regular competition last year to assist father Neil with managing the growing motorsport business, Lance Woolridge returns to the hot seat once again. Lance began racing in 2010, finishing second in the Class E championship that year. He gave the current-generation 5.0-litre V8-powered Ford Ranger its dream debut in 2013, winning its first race and remaining one of the front-running competitors ever since.
Other drivers include- Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer (T77)
Gareth Woolridge will be tackling his third season in the premier Class T championship in a second Ford Performance Puma Lubricants Ranger, along with co-driver Boyd Dreyer. Gareth started out in the regional KwaZulu-Natal cross country series and picked up two consecutive titles, before making the switch to the national series in Class G for side-by-side all-terrain vehicles. He led the championship right to the final race, until a mechanical problem dropped him out of contention in the season finale, finishing the year second overall.
Henk Lategan and Barry White (T17)
After being selected as one of the young stars of the former Volkswagen works rally team from 2013 to 2015, Henk Lategan has switched to cross country racing in 2017 and will be competing in the third Ranger in Ford Performance and Puma Lubricants colours.
Henk started rallying in 2009 at the age of 15. His first full season in national rallying followed in 2011, and he has been partnered with co-driver Barry White since the end of that year.
Six races, plenty of action
The South African Cross Country Championship comprises six events for the 2017 season, starting off with the Lichtenburg round in the North West province on 31 March and 1 April.
One of the highlights of the year is always the three-day Botswana Desert Race, which runs over a total distance of 1 000km, and gives the teams the opportunity to score valuable double points.
Changes for this year comprise a much shorter sprint qualifying loop on the Friday afternoon. This determines the starting positions for the longer main race on the Saturday.
ROUND DATE EVENT VENUE
1 31 March – 1 April Lichtenburg North West
2 12-13 May Dundee Battlefields Lodge KwaZulu-Natal
3 23-25 June Toyota 1000 Desert Race Jwaneng – Botswana
4 28-29 July TBC TBC
5 15-16 September Sun City North West
6 27-28 October TBC TBC