Atlas Copco Gold 450 signals end of tough cross-country season


Words: Ford Performance

The Ford Performance team is aiming for a solid end to a difficult 2015 season, and will be going all-out to secure a podium finish on the season finale, the Atlas Copco Gold 450 in Gauteng on 30 and 31 October

Having dominated and won this race last year, the Ford Performance crew will be hoping for a turn of fortunes when qualifying gets underway for the 103km Friday prologue from Glenharvie in the heart of the West Rand gold mining belt.

"The team has endured a frustrating couple of races with a series of unexpected and unrelated technical issues, so we're doing our utmost to wrap up this season with a decent result," says team principal Neil Woolridge.

"Although it's one of the shorter 450km races on this year's calendar, the route is tough on the vehicles and crews due to the extremely rough and rocky terrain, and the weather at this time of the year could also play an important role as it did last year following lots of rain. But our Ford Performance Rangers have been meticulously prepared for this race, and we're hoping for a good weekend."

Former production vehicle champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst will be on a charge in their V8-powered Class T Ford Ranger, having dominated most of this race in 2014. They narrowly missed out on the win after an electric fault halted their progress just 5km from the finish line.

Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable are also more determined than ever to end their year on a high, seeking to translate their impressive pace into a third podium finish for this year. They took second place on the season-opening RFS Endurance race in Harrismith, and followed this up with third at the Sugarbelt 450.

The race is based at the Kloof Country Club in Glenharvie, and commences at 11:30 on Friday 30 October for the qualifying loop which determines the starting positions. Race day sets off at 07:00 and comprises two identical 162km loops.

Ford Performance is proud to be associated with the following sponsors and partners for the 2015 Donaldson Cross Country Championship: Neil Woolridge Motorsport, Motul, Willowton Logistics, OMP, Time Freight, Sign Solutions, Ironman 4x4 and Donaldson Filtration Solutions.

Follow the team's updates and progress on