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The South African Motorsport Club (SAM) and York Timbers (Pty) Ltd are proud to announce York Timbers as the new title sponsor of the second leg of the 2017 National Rally Championships (NRC). The Rally which will take place in Sabie and Graskop, Mpumalanga, has long been regarded as one of the most scenic and spectacular rallies in South Africa and is undoubtedly the most popular event on the South African motorsport calendar for competitors, officials and spectators alike.
The NRC consists of seven events all over the country with each event organised by different clubs or committees. The York Rally in Mpumalanga, organised by SAM, will form the second leg in the championship and is the only event with International status having been part of the African Rally Championship (ARC) for the past six years.
SAM, located in Pretoria, will be 60 years old next year, and previously received sponsorships for this event from Molyslip and NGK Spark Plugs with Sasol Energy as the main sponsor for the past 25 years. “We are very grateful to Sasol for their support over the past 25 years,” said Willie du Plessis, the chairman of the South African Motorsport Club. “With their help we managed to organise a true highlight on the motorsport calendar each year, but with the recent announcement that they will no longer be the main sponsor of the event, SAM was left with a huge predicament.”
As landowner of the routes for the Rally, York Timbers was already heavily involved with the event and in partnership with local businesses including the Sabie and Graskop Business Chambers they stepped in to ensure the continuation of this popular event. “This rally has become an institution in the Lowveld each year and we couldn’t allow it to disappear,” said Mr. Piet van Zyl, CEO of York Timbers. “This will be a major York Corporate Social Investment initiative that will also support the local communities and we are looking forward to making a difference in the environment where we operate.”
York Timbers owns 7 800km of plantation roads and land, and has been a co-sponsor of the Rally for 25 years. For 2017 York will take the lead as the title sponsor in facilitating the continuation of this important tourism boost in the region. The new “grand finale” stage, with a crossover bridge built by York built specifically for the Rally, was a first in 2016 and will grow to a spectacular feature of the event in 2017.
Once again SAM and York will focus very strongly on the safety of competitors, service crews, officials, media, spectators, employees and the members of the community and therefore will ensure that all possible safety measures are in place.
York values the Rally’s contribution to the local community and surrounding area as it is an opportunity for businesses to enjoy additional tourism and create work opportunities leading up to, and during the period of the Rally. The Rally provides a stakeholder engagement opportunity for local business and furthermore enables stakeholders to enjoy the York experience.
The York Rally will kick off in Sabie on Friday 21 April. After a tough test for competitors in the beautiful York forests around Sabie and Graskop, the rally will end with the spectacle of the “grand finale” stage on the outskirts of Sabie on Saturday afternoon.