Ashley storms Ceres

Event: 
WBMK Ceres Rally

Storm warnings cleared into a stunning winters day when twenty two teams arrived at Ceres Toyota for round three of the 2014 Western Province Rally Championship on Saturday 31 May. Not only did Dealer Principal, Francois van Wyk, and his friendly staff have welcoming coffee and sandwiches ready for the appreciative competitors and crews, the presence of Radio Witzenberg – Disa 105.9Fm certainly added another dimension to the regional atmosphere.

Low mist gave crews an eerie start to the event and it was Ashley Haigh-Smith and Damian van As who stormed off in determined fashion, almost yumping the AHS Racing S5 CPMCC Ford Fiesta R2 1600 to pieces enroute to fastest time on Driefontein. André Cleenwerck and Justin Gay showed that they were also keen on performing well and the Mobile Cooling S3 CPMCC VW Polo 1.6 20v was coaxed into second fastest with John and Weston Peiser third fastest in the Speed Cycling Components S5 CPMCC Subaru Impreza Turbo 4x4.

John following his own judgement instead of listening his navigating son, losing valuable time with an entertaining 360º next to the Driefontein dam. Rule number one of motorsport not applicable! Shaun Jones and Mark Avice du Buisson also very nearly came a cropper off the same dam wall but somehow managed to keep the Avice Pest Control S4 CPMCC E36 BMW 328i pointing in the right direction and recovered to finish the stage fourth fastest.

Keenan Sassman and Matthew Köhler slotted into fifth fastest with their Howard Centre Motors S2 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 with debutant husband and wife combination, Lourens and Nina van Rensburg impressive with sixth fastest in their 7Films / LLJ Racing S5 WPMC Ford Fiesta R2 1600. Mike Nathan and Derek Jacobs not looking comfortable in seventh spot with their ex-Charl Wilken Nathan Motorsport S5 CPMCC Toyota Run X RSi 2.0 20v. Car and crew still requiring some “ken-mekaar” time.

Kesevan Naidoo and Fabian Smith also off to a cautious start in eighth spot with the Freightmore S3 CCMCC Toyota Corolla Rxi 1600 and having wrongslotted Winston Neethling and Lyle Marais were not happy in ninth spot with their ex-Hannes Grobler Howard Centre Motors S5 CCMCC Nissan Sentra 4x4. Completing the top ten after the 25.25km opening special stage was Trevor Hodges and Donovan Stain in the Claremont VW S3 CCMCC VW Golf GTi, despite what looked like a broken left rear shockabsorber.

The opening special stage at Ceres could rate as one of the most demanding stages currently in use on the Western Cape Rally Championship and the 25.5km includes a little bit of just about anything available. Unfortunately Julian Calvert and Louise de Goede fell foul of a testing instruction and their JD Motorsport S3 CCMCC VW Golf GTi rolled end over end. Keith Kleynhans and his team doing a great job on scene and both crew members are now recuperating in the Panorama Clinic.

Cousins Darren and Llewellyn van Greunen completed SS1 with a very sick sounding ex-Gugulethu Zulu Euro Teck S2 CCMCC VW Golf Chico 1.4i and retired from the event. Herman Mathee and Ruan Reynders recording their first DNF when a right front stub-axle broke on their Madev S4 WBMK Datsun GX Sedan 2.0. Tiaan Rabe and Nico Esterhuyse broke a left front lower control arm on the rapid Time2GoTravel S2 WBMK VW Golf Chico 1.6, effectively putting themselves out of the running.
 

Horison is a 15.15km paradise which competitors cannot really appreciate at speed and once again it was Ashley and Damian (11min50) that pushed exceptionally hard to take another dominant stage win. Winston Neethling and Lyle Marais (12min15) placing the Nissan Sentra 4x4 second on stage time with a determined Keenan Sassman and Matthew Köhler (12min20) third fastest in the Corolla. Justin and Brian Hoskins (12min26) fourth fastest in the PSS / JD Motorsport S2 WPMC VW Golf Chico, thirteen seconds faster than Mike Nathan and Derek Jacobs (12min39) in the Nathan Motorsport A7 Toyota? Twenty one seconds faster than the well driven sixth fastest Avice Pest Control S4 E36 CPMCC BMW 328i of Shaun Jones and Mark Avice du Buisson (12min47) over just 15.5km really impressive!
 

Kesevan Naidoo and Fabian Smith (12min57) seventh quickest in the Freightmore S3 CCMCC Corolla and Lourens van Nina van Rensburg (12min58) pushing hard to eighth fastest. John and Weston Peiser found themselves minus turbo power on the Speed Cycling Components Subaru (13min24) and though he drove as hard as possible they had to accept that their event would become a damage limitation result, ninth fastest on SS2. The top ten completed by The Flying Fridge S3 CCMCC Toyota Conquest RSi 1600 of father-and-daughter combination, André and Nina George, (13min30).

Now known as Swaarmoed the crews returned to complete the testing 25.5km first stage for a second time as SS3 of the event and Ashley Haigh-Smith and Damian van As put the result beyond any doubt with a storming 24 second improvement in time, with no parts left behind. André Cleenwerck and Justin Gay second fastest (two seconds slower than their first time) with a tie for third fastest between Lourens and Nina van Rensburg (33 seconds quicker) and Mike Nathan / Derek Jacobs in the improving A7 Toyota Run X (47 seconds quicker). Fourth quickest going to the returning Time2GoTravel S2 WBMK VW Golf 1.6 of Tiaan Rabe and Nico Esterhuyse. Fifth saw another tie between the Howard Centre Motors Nissan Sentra 4x4 (14 second improvement on SS1 time) of Winston Neethling and Lyle Marais and The Flying Fridge Toyota Conquest (29 second improvement on SS1) of André and Nina George. 

Trevor Hodges and Donavan Stain improving by 8 seconds to slot into sixth fastest and Keenan Sassman and Matthew Köhler 52 seconds slower in seventh fastest with the Howard Centre Motors Corolla, now minus shockabsorber. Justin and Brian Hoskins improving by 53 seconds to post eighth fastest with Andy Haigh-Smith and Matthew Parson ninth fastest in the AHS Racing S3 CPMCC Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600, also 53 seconds quicker. Fagerie Isaacs and Tariq Khatib popping onto the top ten times with their Emjedi’s Panelshop S2 CCMCC VW Golf MkI 1.6 despite being much slower on their second run.
 

Kesevan Naidoo and Fabian Smith joining the statistics with another broken CV on the Freightmore S3 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 whilst Neels van Wyk and Jason Thorpe was forced to retire enroute to the start of SS3 when the rear axle cried enough on their Fix-a-Smash S2 CPMCC Toyota Corolla SR5 1600. Incredibly, Anthony Connelly and Randall Marais managed to roll their Connelly and Le Roux Engineers S4 CCMCC VW Polo 2.0 at exactly the same instruction as Calvert / de Goede did on SS1, fortunately with no injuries sustained to either crew member.

Returning to the 15.5km paradise known as Alhambra set the scene for a fitting end to what had proven to be quite an eventful rally. Again Ashley Haigh-Smith and Damian van As set a blistering pace in the AHS Racing S5 CPMCC Ford Fiesta R2 1600, taking fourteen seconds off their SS2 time to record a dominant overall victory. André Cleenwerck and Justin Gay knocking fourteen seconds off their SS2 time to finish in an encouraging second overall with their Mobile Cooling S3 CPMCC VW Polo 1.6 20v. Driving on a flat right rear almost from the start of the stage and still only losing thirteen seconds to their SS2 time Lourens and Nina van Rensburg certainly impressed with a fighting third place overall in the 7Films / LLJ racing S5 WPMC Ford Fiesta R2 1600.

Closer it could not have been as Mike Nathan and Derek Jacobs lost twelve seconds to their SS2 time fighting a flat left rear on their Nathan Motorsport S5 CPMCC Toyota Run X RSi 2.0 20v, eventually slotting into fourth overall just five seconds behind the Ford couple. Winston Neethling and Lyle Marais rued what might have been by slotting into fifth place overall with the Howard Centre Motors S5 CCMCC Nissan Sentra 4x4, just two seconds behind the Run X. Third fastest on SS4 but three seconds slower than their SS2 time cost them dearly. Driving as hard as they could the Howard Centre Motors S3 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 of Keenan Sassman and Matthew Köhler found themselves just two seconds down on the Sentra in sixth place overall. Four positions separated by just nine seconds!

André and Nina George clearly satisfied with seventh overall (10 seconds down on their SS2 time) in the The Flying Fridge S3 CCMCC Toyota Conquest RSi 1600 with John and Weston Peiser relieved to make it home in eighth overall with the turbo-less Speed Cycling Components S5 WPMC Subaru Impreza Turbo 4x4 (35 seconds slower than SS2). Trevor Hodges and Donovan Stain improved by a whopping 1min10 with working suspension on the Claremont VW S3 VW Golf GTi to recover to ninth overall whilst Justin and Brian Hoskins dropped 1min13 seconds enroute to tenth overall and another valuable class victory in the PSS / JD Motorsport S2 WPMC VW Golf Chico.

Fearing complete rear suspension failure on the Avice Pest Control S4 CPMCC BMW 328i Shaun Jones and Mark Avice du Buisson cruised through SS4 to accept eleventh spot overall after having just managed to reach the end of SS3 and service. Andy Haigh-Smith and newcomer navigator, Matthew Parson, content with twelfth overall in the always reliable AHS Racing S3 CPMCC Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600.  Fagerie Isaacs and Tariq Khatib thirteenth overall in their Emjedi’s Panelshop S2 CCMCC VW Golf Chico 1.6 after a consistent effort and a cautious fourteenth went to Anwar Lavey and Jean-Pierre Jacobs in their Jive S4 CCMCC VW Polo 2.0 – without as much as a scratch! 

Final finishers was Harry and Gunter Giliomee in the I&J Konstruksie S3 WBMK Toyota Corolla 1800 Panelvan. Celebrating his 15th birthday as navigator for his Dad the duo was also the only WBMK team to actually classify as finishers, in 15th place.
Live Radio was something new to the Ceres Rally and Radio Witzenberg 105.9Fm certainly impressed many with their presence at the start venue, Ceres Toyota. Documentation was done by Beatrice and Jene van der Westhuizen whilst J.C. Human Scrutineered the field of 22 entries present in Ceres. Johann “Kaalvoet” Zulch and George “The Flying Fridge” du Toit saw little of the event as they completed arrowing and sweeped behind the field. Martin and Dan Esterhuyse doing the final checks in their 00 Tata.

Pierre van der Westhuizen, Clerk of the Course, assisted by a very competent compliment of Radio Marshals and Stage Marshals. The unsung backbone to every event, but certainly much appreciated by every competitor. Thank you to MSA Steward, Robert Marle, Club Steward, Clint Rieper, and the Scorer, Brian King. The Witzenberg Municipality, Wynland District Municipality, SA Ceres, Metro Emergency Services and title sponsors, Ceres Toyota.                                         

Putting in a welcome appearance at the event was Gavin Grierson, minus the 2.8 Datsun 160U SSS, and Hennie “King of Paarlberg” Mostert.

Now the Championship heads for the Swartland!

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