4/10 for Peiser

Motorsport consists of a multitude of disappointments topped by extraordinarily intense occasional highlights that somehow manages to allow the brain to forget about all the negative aspects.

Llewellyn Jones and Christophé Pichon have certainly experienced both sides in 2018 as they could not have started better than winning on debut in the CEJ Plant Hire 434 CPMCC S5 Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2.0 Turbo 4x4. In fact they would win three events, but would also retire from two before adding a dominant fourth overall victory on the CCMCC Riebeek Valley Rally. Back in 2008 a much younger and wilder Llewellyn Jones and Craig Gray (2011 WP Navigators champion) finished fourth overall on the SWMC Blue Crane Benefit Rally with their S5 VW Turbo.

There is little doubt that they are now the fastest combination in the Western Cape Rally Championship and their fourth overall victory saw them steal third overall position in the 2018 Western Cape Rally Championship on the final round. Their event started very interesting though, when they started the rally on the incorrect page and navigated their way to the service park rather than the first stage. Despite incurring 13 minutes of lateness, the rather embarrassing error did not distract from the fact that they set the outright fastest time on each of the eight special stages.

Oswaldo Mendes and Kesevan Naidoo won this event in 2017 and looked in good form despite having not rallied since the Ceres Toyota Rally in May where Kesevan injured his back after a hard landing. Unfortunately they suffered from shock absorber problems and unscheduled contact with a concrete bridge managed to alter the rear suspension geometry sufficiently for the popular Swakopmund driver to slow the pace on the final stage. The Sky-Way 129 WBMK / CCMCC S5 Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2.0 Turbo 4x4 slipping back to third overall by just four seconds!

John and Weston Peiser, Speed Pro Cycling Components 425 WPMC S5 Subaru Impreza GT 2.0 Turbo 4x4, simply had to finish this event in order to claim the 2018 Western Cape Rally Championship and that fact resulted in this being their most difficult event of the season as retirement was not an option. One tends to hear all kinds of funny noises emanating from your car at times like these and in order to ease the nerves they gradually increased their pace simply to remain focused on the job in hand. Pipping Oswaldo and Kesevan to second by just four seconds on the final stage of the event was simply a cherry on top.

John Peiser taking a well deserved fourth Western Cape Rally Drivers Championship whilst son, Weston, added a second Western Cape Rally Navigators title to his impressive resumé. A decade ago the first title, with Brian Hoskins navigating, was sadly overshadowed by the untimely passing of popular and talented Paul Pfeiffer on SS5 of the SWMC Blue Crane Rally in the Overberg when the Nobili Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI 2.0 Turbo 4x4 was rolled into a dam.

Ironically John Peiser and Brian Hoskins were the first team at the scene of the accident on 4 October 2008 and they would eventually be classified in third overall position on the tragic seventh round of the championship.

Happier days followed with Craig Gray the navigator in 2011 and then the first title with his son, Weston Peiser, in 2014. Regional colours for rallying are only be considered once an individual has won a minimum of two overall regional titles (why?) and the Peiser father and son combination have now ticked that box.

The Speed Pro Cycling 425 WPMC S5 Subaru Impreza GT 2.0 Turbo 4x4 that John has been campaigning locally from 2005 was incidentally the very first Subaru to be rallied in South Africa. Nicholas Ryan campaigned this car in the 2004 South African Rally Championship and John acquired it at the end of the season. Most encouraging is the fact that the Western Province Motor Club actually hosted the 2018 All Tar Rally under their own banner and the Peiser duo not only won their home event, but have now added the Western Cape Championship as well.

The outgoing Western Cape Rally Champions, Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak, might not have enjoyed the season they had anticipated but finishing their 2018 campaign with a solid class S3 victory and first front wheel drive home in fourth overall was just the morale booster required for the Team 467 WBMK S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 combination. They could do no better than win the class and wait to see how the opposition finished with respect the class championship.

Hats off to Andy Haigh-Smith and Tania Vermaak who truly delivered when required, finishing a brilliant fifth overall and second in S3 to take the 2018 S3 Western Cape Class Championship in the legendary “Yellow Submarine”. Class S3 is possibly the most competitive category of rallying currently in any South African regional rally championship and on paper the AHS Racing Team 432 CPMCC / WBMK S3 Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600 simply should not have featured against the mighty Toyota and VW entries. Yet, the underpowered and overweight car benefitted from impeccable preparation and consistent results to claim a popular class championship.

At 70 years of age Andy Haigh-Smith can claim to be the oldest active rally driver in South Africa and at age 22 Tania Vermaak is certainly one of the youngest. This was only their second season together and quite obviously they have developed a commendable working solution. Ironically Andy and Benjamin Haigh-Smith finished seventh overall on the tragic 2008 Blue Crane Rally with the REACT class A6 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 with the same Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600 ninth overall in the hands of Steven White and Jonathan Bright. A classic tale of the hare and the tortoise with the Mitsubishi taking top honours in S3.

Another team deserving accolades has to be the father and son combination of John and Derick Clift in the ACW Engineering 418 WBMK S4 Toyota Hilux 2.0. Four years ago they hatched a plan to go rallying as 0 car on the 45th Total Tara Rally Namibia and on Saturday they arrived at the end of an era by placing the popular Hilux, it’s is never referred to as a Bakkie, sixth overall and first in class. As the 2018 S4 Western Cape Rally Champions John Clift, 67 years young, has now decided to retire whilst on top and the ACW Engineering Hilux will return in 2019 with Derick Clift at the helm. Whether you know John as Father Christmas or Pappa Smurf his friendly nature will be sincerely missed, it really was an honour!

Should funding allow, their intention is to finish this chapter where it started, by completing the 50th Total Tara Rally Namibia on 8-10 November 2018. If ever anyone wanted to compete in a classic, traditional endurance event the 50th Tara has to be that opportunity as the Siamese cat will be at her very best all the way from Walvis Bay to Windhoek. Entry is free for visiting teams and Oswaldo Mendes (Skyway) have also offered a R5000 contribution towards local teams entering.

Johann and Petra Zulch attracted much attention in seventh position overall with the Ceres Toyota supported 439 WBMK S2 Ford Escort 1600 Sport. Eleven years ago Johann Zulch retired from Western Cape Rallying with an enviable record of success behind the wheel of a Ford Escort 1600 Sport and he maintained that he would be returning ten years later.

Well, eleven years have passed and Oupa might now be 61 years young but his passion and ability to throw a Ford Escort 1600 Sport around has clearly not diminished. And yes, he still does not wear shoes! Not only did he take a second class win for 2018, the Zulch couple might just have added another class championship as their main opposition sadly failed to reach the final Parc Fermé. He also took his first outright WBMK Gymkhana victory in the Ceres Toyota supported BMW E30 325iM with Tania Vermaak navigating. With Ford celebrating 100 years in South Africa winning a class championship for the blue oval could not have been sweeter!

With a number of rear wheel driven classic rally cars rumoured to be joining in from 2019 this category could become extremely entertaining. Hard working marshal Gareth Vernon making good progress on his personal MkI Ford Escort!

Brothers, Clint and Lloyd Lingeveldt, decided to entertain the spectators by rolling their ex- Innes Murudker 435 CCMCC S3 Toyota Conquest 1.6 in front of the 1989 Western Cape Rally Drivers Champion! Somewhat battered the car was soon back on it’s wheels and they continued to finish in an respectable eighth position overall and third in class. This their first podium class position ever!

Hot on their heels was rapidly improving newcomer Erin Joshua and Terry Croy in their ex-André George Crestmax 462 CCMCC S3 Toyota Conquest 1.6. In fact they were only six seconds shy of the Lingeveldt brothers and there is obviously more to come.

Tenth on debut, brother and sister, Ra’is and Reyanah Edas were justifiably pleased with their first attempt at rallying in the ex-Chris de Wit orange 464 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6i. The rally having actually started from the Hyundai Malmesbury Dealership run by their former WP rallyist father, Cobus Edas. As always the never say die Lulu, 409 CCMCC / WBMK S3 VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 8v of Julian Calvert and Marius Rudolph, claimed eleventh overall after another consistent performance. Sixth overall on the 2008 SWMC Blue Crane Rally went to Rupert van Zyl and Marius Rudolph in their S3 VW Golf GTi.

Mechanical gremlins halted the progress of Ismaeel Davids and Yusuf Ganief on SS1 and though they managed second fastest times on five of the remaining stages they simply could not recover the time lost and the combination was eventually classified as the final finishers in 12th position overall in their ID Paving & Contractors 431 CCMCC S5 Toyota Run X 2.0 4x4. Ironically Yusuf Ganief navigated Abduraghman Amlay to victory on the SWMC Blue Crane Benefit Rally in 2008 with the Toyota Run X RSi 1.8 now campaigned by Shaheen Amlay, still in Gp N3 specification at the time.

Kevin Calvert and Brian Hoskins coming home in 13th overall, under Super Rally rules, with the acciDent Guru 436 WPMC S2 VW Golf MkI 1.6. Still sorting out some teething problems with the completely rebuilt car they are sure to be running strong in 2019.

Riekus Schmidt proved to be another popular first time visitor to the Western Cape Rally Championship. Matt Köhler navigated the rapid VW Motorsport 554 AMSC S5 VW Polo 2.0 but they too suffered early mechanical issues. The Eastern Cape VW ace certainly showed good pace and has indicated that he would be returning for more in 2019!

Most encouraging was the number of spectators present in the perfect summer weather and the stages certainly proved interesting as the wheat was bonnet high. Thankfully the gnats had the weekend off!

Tariq Khatib and Faiz Idas most unfortunate in not reaching the final Parc Fermé in the 412 CCMCC S2 VW Golf MkI 1.6 having broken a CV on SS1. Warren Köhler and Jean-Pierre Jacobs were just starting to enjoy their day in the classic rear wheel driven Crestmax 65 CCMCC S2 Toyota Corolla 1.6 when mechanical maladies saw them retire.

Though they certainly managed more stage kilometers than on debut the EPR 4x4 438 WBMK S3 VW Golf MkI 2.0 8v of Marius and Angelique Swart had to be retired with drivetrain problems after special stage 6.

Darren van Greunen and Quinton Swarts started the event as strong contenders for S3 honours but their Vyekraal Dairy 415 WBMK / CPMCC S3 Toyota Run X RSi 1.6 blew a headgasket on SS1. This same car, then in Gp N3 1.8 specification, finished the 2008 SWMC Blue Crane Benefit Rally in 2008 2nd overall in the hands of Duncan English (brother in law and former navigator for the late Paul Pfeiffer) and Rob Williams (brother to Jon and Shane Wlliams, sons of the late Doug Williams).

Riyaan and Yaseen Amlay also looked threatening but their Ramlay Builders 433 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6i cried enough after SS 5. Keenan Sassman and Randall Marais flew the FWD flag high in their Howard Centre Motors 413 CCMCC S4 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.8 but lady luck deserted them after SS6 when the engine overheated.

The hot weather turned the cars into mobile sauna’s and resulted in one retirement when Ebrahim Mia and Ibraheem Amlay had to withdraw after SS1. The Amlay Autoworx 420 CCMCC S4 Toyota Conquest 1.8 navigator not able to continue. Anthony Connelly and Shawn Nefdt also retiring their Connelly Engineering 429 CCMCC S4 VW Polo 2.0 after losing volumes of time in SS1.

Just as matter of interest Shaun Jones and Billy Thorpe finished 8th on the 2008 Blue Crane with the “Naartjie” which is said to be on the return in 2019. The well known VW Golf MkII 2.0 4x4 has been rebuilt and could just add to the front end fun in the new season. Martin Esterhuyse Snr and Paul van Greunen the final finishers in 2008 in their Toyota Conquest RSi 1.6. And with the Bloodhound SSC Land Speed record attempt also set for the new year it is interesting to note that Richard Noble set the record at 663.5mph / 1067.8km/h in the Nevada Desert on 4 October 2008.

It was great to note the presence of the 1989 Western Cape Rally Drivers Champion, Innes Masta Murudker, as well as a brief attendance by Mohammed Moosa. Though it is doubtful whether Innes would be contemplating a comeback the same cannot be said about Mohammed, and he likes the roads in the Western Cape Championship.

Talking about spreading their wings the presence of Craig and Jeanine Gray, Dave “The Killarney Stig” and Wendy Malan, Neville Young and Ronelle Hendrickz, Casey Wolters, Malcolm Uytenbograadt, Ken Wentzel, Gary Kieswetter, Louis Powell, Shane Naidu, Andrea Bate, Shandor Hrabar, Kelly de Kock and many more at the annual Aviators Indaba at AFB Ysterplaat served as reminder that the final round of the World Rally X is fast approaching on 23/25 November 2018.

More good news the fact that a R2000 incentive with 3 rooms Hotel accommodation sharing is on offer to all who might be considering an entry into the Ermelo based final round of the South African Rally Championship 26/27 October 2018. 

A sincere thank you to the individual land owners who accommodated the CCMCC Riebeek Valley stages in the Swartland district, to all the marshals who had to withstand the heat, bees and dust (notice there were no gnats involved), all the officials and the event sponsors, ID Paving & Contractors, Hyundai Malmesbury, Freightmore and Wikideals.

Compliments to John and Weston Peiser as the 2018 Western Cape Rally Champions.