34th WBMK Awards

The highlight of any club has to be their annual awards as this represents the results achieved by members of the club, not only success as competitors but also as officials, supporters and even the families. What an empty feat it would be to succeed without anyone acknowledging the achievement, setting the standard for those starting fresh and allowing the retired to feel they guided the path forward. Winning is not everything and though it certainly beats coming second the real measure of your success is measured in the way you “play” the game.

The Witzenberg Motorklub celebrated their 34th year in 2017, still the youngest of the five rally clubs in the Western Cape. Though the name relates to it’s Ceres origins membership have seen the club spread it’s wings to include members from all over the Western Cape and even Namibia. Central to all activities the annual Ceres Rally remains the main attraction with the eight round Gymkhana Club Championship unique.

On Tuesday 6 March 2018 it was time to celebrate the successes of the Witzenberg Motorklub members with the annual awards presented at the CPMCC Rollbar at the Killarney International Raceway. Willie’s Service Centre sponsored the hand made trophies for the function with Hilton Morries the man responsible for the construction. Truly a mammoth task, much appreciated by everyone on the receiving end.

Pierre van der Westhuizen led the annual AGM prior to the Awards function and in short the Witzenberg Motorklub committee remains unchanged for 2018 with Pierre van der Westhuizen the Chairman, Johann Zulch the Vice-Chairman, Beatrice van der Westhuizen Treasurer / Secretary, Patrick Vermaak PRO and Social Members Morné Roux and Liezel Oosthuizen. Food for the evening was provided by Anton van Bosch (yes, the same one that won the Club Mykonos Gymkhana twice in a very rapid VW Jetta) and Doulette Braak of Namib Meat Deli and everyone settled into a relaxed atmosphere for the actual function.

2017 produced the best ever overall results in the Western Province Rally Championship for the club with Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak winning overall in their Team 467 S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1600. Only the third team under the Witzenberg Motorklub banner to achieve this feat in the 34 year history of the club. Paul van Wyk swopped navigators during the season resulting in only him finishing second overall as driver in the Team 469 S4 acciDent Guru VW Golf MkI 2.0.

John and Derick Clift finally realised their dream to contest the Western Province Championship in their ACW Engineering S4 Toyota Hilux Bakkie and to their own surprise looked set for second overall until they hit the Caledon Rally watersplash! Third overall still something to be extremely proud for the Father and Son combination.

Veteran CPMCC rallyist, Andy Haigh-Smith, and WBMK newcomer navigator, Tania Vermaak, enjoyed a great debut season in the legendary “Yellow Submarine” Team REACT S3 Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600 with Tania finishing fourth overall as navigator. Tied with points in second place class S3 saw father and daughter Vermaak achieve a rather special result.

Fifth overall and second in class S4 by a single point went to a somewhat frustrated Herman Mathee and Ruan Reynders in Datto. Having finally gotten the Datsun GX Sedan 2.0 reliable and driving with great confidence this combination led the overall championship but found themselves celebrating a wedding instead of doing the Caledon Rally. Not any wedding – Herman and Salina finally tied the knot, but MSA shifted dates and the rally lost a valuable entry.

Confident of starting 2018 strongly Herman opted to add a new hurdle by attacking a Corsa LDV on his motorcycle and will be wearing a Moon Boot for the next six weeks! Also acknowledged for their superb results in 2017 was drivers Tiaan Rabe, Rupert van Zyl, Piet Bakkes and navigators Jean-Pierre Jacobs, Marius Rudolph and Divan de Goede. The performance of Tiaan Rabe and Jean-Pierre Jacobs one of the talking points of the 2017 season as the Time2GoTravel S2 VW Golf MkI 1.6 and should they contest a full season their influence on the final scoreboard could be substantial. On tarmac there have never been any doubt about the pace of the Hollandse Motor Spesialis 405 VW Golf MkII 2.0 of Rupert van Zyl and Marius Rudolph but in 2017 they also proved exceptionally quick on gravel (when they are not knocking down telegraph poles). Sporadic appearances by Piet Bakkes and Divan de Goede in the other acciDent Guru 419 VW Golf MkII 2.0 always a concern for the opposition (even if it runs a Toyota rear suspension).

Though he had no points on the scoreboard the most distant member of the Witzenberg Motorklub certainly deserved to be recognised for his success and sporting approach. Oswaldo Mendes opted not to score points in the Western Province Championship, though he genuinely qualifies to do so, as he simply rallies for the pleasure of doing so. No doubt he is seriously quick in the Skyway 129 Subaru Impreza WRX 4x4 Turbo and more victories will undoubtedly follow in 2018.

Of great concern to all is the training of officials in the sport and this is not limited to functionaries such as the Clerk of the Course or Stewards. Roles such as Start and Finish marshals, Judges of Fact and Timing are critical to the success of any event and in 2017 André Brinkman led the Judges of Fact with such dedication that he was awarded the title as Official of the Year whilst the father and daughter combination of André and Nelmarie Mitchell as Timer / Scorer was recognised with the respective Victor and Victrix Ludorum awards.

Unique to the Witzenberg Motorklub is their Gymkhana Championship and though 2017 brought it’s share of headaches the series saw great action and an almighty tussle for the overall championship. Rafique Firfirey took the concept of a properly prepared Mini Cooper as the ultimate gymkhana weapon and Leon Engelbrecht developed the basic car into a formidable challenger that would eventually see the two of them go head to head for the overall championship.

In Ceres Rafique crashed the car and Leon spent most of the event dialling it back into action, allowing Rafique to take overall victory. But, then Leon had Aatera Firfirey strapped into the Mini as navigator and the combination was never beaten again. Success just would not step his way when he was the driver with the orange hair, in the orange shoes, in the even more orange VW Golf but having now moved on to silver hair and a silver car seems to have brought a more methodical approach and Leon Engelbrecht realised the dream to win the overall WBMK Gymkhana Championship as driver. And his dedication also netted the 2017 Sportman of the Year award.

Pierre du Plessis winning the overall navigators title in his Du Plessis Auto class B Toyota Conquest 1.8, driven by his brother Jacques du Plessis. If that sounds confusing Pierre also won class B, both as driver and navigator, in the same car! Maybe that explains why the Du Plessis brothers also claimed the Boo-Boo of the Year trophy. They will be back though, as competitors in the 2018 WP Rally Championship!

Second overall went to Rafique Firfirey (Mini) and Cobus Viola (BMW) whilst third overall went to Pierre du Plessis (Toyota) and Francois Mostert (VW). Always a pity when combinations are split but unfortunately there was too many movements within the teams during the year.

In the All Ladies class I it was the ever consistent combination of Liezel Oosthuizen and Tania Vermaak that won in the standard Toyota Yaris 1.3 with Aatera Firfirey and Liezel Oosthuizen second in the Opel Corsa Turbo 1.4. Third going to Tania vermaak and Monique van der Merwe in their VW Golf Citi Sport MkI 1.4i.

Class H had only two challengers and it was Ruan de Hart who won in the Alfa Romeo 147 with Sean Stevens second in the Daihatsu Charade.

Class G went the way of Leon Engelbrecht and Aatera Firfirey with Rafique and Hishaam Firfirey second and Aatera Firfirey and Carel Bosch. Hishaam the young son of Rafique and Aatera. Leon and Rafique shared the silver Mini whilst Aatera found her Opel Corsa 1.4T more to her liking.

Class F had Anton Smit and Tania Vermaak three wheeling the Toyota 1.6 powered Datsun LDV to victory with Werner Venter and Chinelle Calitz showing great promise in their Mazda MX5 Miata 1.6.

Class E is owned by Johann Zulch and Cobus Viola and the Ceres Toyota backed BMW E30 325iM 2.5 is rarely threatened. They were followed home by John Clift and Tania Vermaak in the rally ACW Engineering Toyota Hilux Bakkie.

Class D had Marius Ellis and Francois Mostert leading the way in their mean green VW Golf MkI 1.4i with Abdul Sayed and Aatera Firfirey second in the Toyota Conquest 1.3. Riaan swart third as driver with his red VW Golf MkI 1.4i and Leon Engelbrecht third as navigator in the Sayed Conquest.

Class C went to Hennie Odendaal and Giovanni Agostinelli in their VW Golf MkI 1.6 with André Smit and Natasha de Jager second in their similar VW Golf MkI 1.6. Swopping sides it was Giovanni Agostinelli and Hennie Odendaal third in the red VW Golf MkI 1.6.

Class B saw a rather unique result in the sense that Pierre du Plessis finished the season as champion driver and navigator in own car! He shared the Du Plessis Auto Toyota Tazz 1.8 with his brother and it was Jacques du Plessis and Wynand du Plessis (son of Pierre) in second place. Francois Mostert (Opel Corsa) and Jacques du Plessis (Toyota Tazz 1.8) claiming third.

Class A won by the brother and sister combination Morné Roux and Liezel Oosthuizen in the Mazda 323 2.0 EGi. Possible two of the most faithful supporters of the gymkhana championship this class championship was really well deserved. Francois Mostert and Marius Ellis a fighting second in the Opel Astra 2.0 and Ruan and Chris de Hart third in the Alfa Romeo 147.

A big thank you to Anton van Bosch and Doulette Braak who provided dinner as Namib Meat Deli and to Ugly Duckling Filmset Rental for their generous offer towards the 2018 awards function. To Willie’s Service Centre Strand (Willie and Hilton Morries) thank you for a job well done.

2018 holds much promise with venues returning and though a number of regular teams will be moving on a number of new combinations are likely to appear. Thank you to everyone who made 2017 another year to remember.

May 2018 live up to your expectations