First time Race of Champions in KZN

2013-08-09 00:00

THE skies in Zululand will be buzzing this weekend when over 50 planes race across it for the fourth Race of Champions.

Held at the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Airport, this is the first time the race will be held in KwaZulu-Natal. Pilots of light aircraft from across the country are pitted head-to-head in a handicap race that tests their skills in flying and navigating.

The race is held over two days. There is also a catch to make the race more challenging. No navigational aids, GPS or modern technology is allowed to assist the pilots and the route is kept secret until the night before the race.

“The reason that we do not use electronic equipment is because it brings another skill set into the race and it also makes it a two-crew operation,” said Chris Briers, organiser of the event. “There is nothing hard in flying a direct course where a GPS tells you where to go to, but this event requires something a little different from the team.”

Previous winners of the race will be competing to regain the title of champion pilot. Among them are Durban Wings Club’s top female pilots, Mary de Klerk and Arddyn Moolman. De Klerk was the winner of the first race in 2007, followed by Moolman in 2008.

KZN Finance MEC Ina Cronjé said that the Race of Champions will be the biggest sporting event to happen in Ulundi and is sure to put the Zululand region in the spotlight, as the town continues to establish itself as a home to aviation.

For those who can’t catch the action live, the race will be televised on SuperSport when it is over.

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