The Championship beckons!

The CCMCC Riebeek Valley Rally will herald the crowning of the 2019 Western Cape Rally Champions but eight stages stand between announcing who that will be.

Everyone loves an underdog and in 2019 the cheeky 1000cc, 3 cylinder, Turbocharged VW Polo Vivo GT of Franken Motorsport have certainly proven to be both phenomenally quick and reliable. On paper it should be classified in S1, but it has proven to be more than a little irritating to the S5 cars. The governors of the sport will be well advised to rethink the class structures to accommodate the latest developments in engine technology.

Team 431 started the season as the hands down favourites for overall success as they had Damseaux Motorsport assisting in the preparation of their S2000 Toyota Run X 4x4, a car formerly campaigned by WP champion Jean-Pierre Damseaux (Somerset West) and rarely threatened by anything the opposition could throw at it.

Finally combining their obvious pace with reliability certainly made their potential visible in 2018 but when Llewellyn Jones (Somerset West) and Christophé Pichon (Welgemoed) failed to start the first event of the season it looked costly as it would require absolute success in each of the remaining five events to succeed with the CEJ Plant Hire 434 CPMCC S5 Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2.0 Turbo AWD.

Add the curved ball provided by the Tarmac Rally with respect to the current, unofficial scoring, and the CEJ Plant Hire 434 CPMCC S5 Subaru Impreza STi WRX 2.0 Turbo AWD of Llewellyn Jones (Somerset West) and Christophé Pichon (Welgemoed) will start the final round with a scant one point advantage over the Franken Motorsport 125 WPMC S5 VW Polo Vivo GT 1.0 Turbo of Paul-Hendrik Franken (Gansbaai).

The navigators title has technically already been won by Belgian born Christophé Pichon (Welgemoed) as he stands to earn Organisers Points as navigator of the 0 car on the opening round of the championship, in addition to the 25 earned with winning the Tarmac Rally. His total of 125 representing a faultless, dominant, season of five overall victories and the potential to add another in Riebeek Wes.

Yusuf Ganief (Surrey Estate) five points clear of Matt-Jason Köhler (Heathfield) with Randall Marais a further nine behind. Llewellyn Jones (Somerset West) and Christophé Pichon (Welgemoed) have now won four consecutive events and it would be reasonable to expect them to add a fifth success on the CCMCC Riebeek Kasteel Rally. Llewellyn Jones (Somerset West) simply has to finish ahead of Paul-Hendrik Franken (Gansbaai) to claim his first Western Cape Rally Drivers Championship, but then, the same argument applies to Paul-Hendrik Franken (Gansbaai) and should they succeed in tripping over each other Ismaeel Davids (Rondebosch) and Mustapha Mia (Kensington) could still rock the boat as drivers.

Ismaeel Davids (Rondebosch) and Yusuf Ganief (Surrey Estate) sadly saw their campaign come adrift when they changed cars for the CPMCC Tarmac Rally and two unforced driver errors on the CPMCC Swartland Rally all but eliminated them as championship contenders. Will the Hottentots Holland area celebrate their first Western Cape Rally Driver Champion since Jean-Pierre Damseaux, or is it the Overberg that will celebrate success by Paul-Hendrik Franken (Gansbaai)? Diffie Marais (Caledon) and Danie de Waal (Caledon) the only other Overberg based combination to have succeeded in etching their names on the RAC championship trophies, way back in 1997.

Class S5 represents the sharp edge of the championship but though this fight might be between three teams, there are more stepping up to the challenge with Shaun Jones and Jason Thorpe proving their worth in the Advanced Asphalting 424 CPMCC S5 Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2.0 Turbo AWD and the long awaited return of 4x champion driver, John Peiser (Plattekloof), and 2x navigators champion, Weston Peiser, in their Speed Pro Cycling Components 425 WPMC S5 Subaru Impreza GT 2.0 Turbo AWD will undoubtedly influence the points chase.

Being the final event of the year everyone will want to finish on a high and to three of the teams it should mean one of them will be crowned as the 2019 Western Cape Rally Champions, and to two it will simply be a thrill to beat the new champions to victory in Riebeek Wes.

Derick Clift (Paarl) and Marius Rudolph (Bothasig) won class S4 in Malmesbury with the ACW Engineering 418 CPMCC S4 Toyota Hilux 2.0 LDV and with the Barno 413 CCMCC S4 Toyota Corolla RSi 1.8i of Keenan Sassman (Monte Vista) and Randall Marais (Kensington) failing to reach the finish in Malmesbury now have a realistic chance of taking class honours for the season. Rumours also currently persist that Team 413 might not be making the trip to Riebeek Valley and that would relate to Team 418 only needing a fourth in class to succeed.

With the Entry Function for the 5 October 2019 CCMCC Riebeek Valley Rally, round six of the 2019 Western cape Rally Championship scheduled for Thursday 26 September 2019 at the Kenilworth Indoor Karting facility this preview may have to be reviewed if all the rumours prove accurate. Starting 09h00 from Hyundai Malmesbury the teams will be doing two stages close to Malmesbury, two near Riebeek Kasteel and 4 near Riebeek Wes before arriving at the Pulpit Rock winery Parc Fermé at Riebeek Wes. The single Service Park as always at the Meiring Primary School in Riebeek Kasteel. With longest stage 14.66km and the shortest 8.02km any of the eight stages could prove decisive and a flat-out approach could prove rewarding or disastrous.

Shaheen Amlay (Kensington) and Taahir Amlay (Retreat) will be back in the Amlay Motorsport 402 CCMCC S4 Toyota Run X RSi 1.8i and hopefully it will prove more reliable on this event. Paul Emmanuel (Constatntia) and Robin Benjamin (Steenberg) will be pushing hard in their 449 CCMCC S4 VW Polo 2.0 16v whilst Trevor Hodges (Ottery) and Ian Thebus (Edgemead) would also be keen to finish their season on a high in the Extreme Racing 421 CCMCC S4 VW Golf MkIII GTi 2.0 16v. Ebrahim Mia (Grassy Park) set to return in his neat Mia’s Motorsport 420 CCMCC S4 Toyota Tazz 1.8i, navigator to be determined. Owen Jones (Durbanville) and Michelle Taylor (Panorama) will be keen to prove their pace in the Advanced Asphalting 454 CPMCC S4 BMW E36 328i.

Charl Strydom (Durbanville) and Sakkie Bosman (Bloubergstrand) also keen to get onto a decent pace in their completely rebuilt Sabre Paints 406 CPMCC S4 VW Polo 2.0 20v. A car with huge potential.

Actually, the navigator shortage in the Western Cape could see the Amlay family break their own record with even more family members joining the sport on round six!

There could be two interesting entries present in this class as Mike Nathan and TBA may be running their 417 CCMCC S4 Toyota Tazz 1.8i or they may be there with the same car upgraded to S5 with 3SGE engine and sequential gearbox, or they might be there in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Turbo 2.0 AWD if it can be brought up to specification in time. Real works driver, he drives and the team works!

Rupert van Zyl (Goodwood) and his brother, Pieter van Zyl (Durbanville), is said to be considering returning to gravel rallying and the Hollandse Motor Spesialis 405 CPMCC S4 VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 20v and the Pole Assassin (a nickname earned on the Ceres Toyota Rally) certainly has the potential to upset the regulars.

Mustapha Mia (Kensington) and Ameen Snell (Ottery) has been the surprise team of 2019 in their neat 456 CCMCC S3 Toyota Tazz 1.6i and they can almost visualise their names on the S3 class championship trophies going into the final round. If they can keep the gearbox in one piece they should be able to take the fight to another very determined team in Riyaan Amlay (Grassy Park) and Yaseen Amlay (Retreat) in their Ramlay Builders 433 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RSi 1.6i. Both these teams have proven themselves as willing to push hard, but it will most likely be the one that does not break down that will succeed here. This could prove to be the best tussle of the event.  

Cobus Edas (Sales Executive Hyundai Malmesbury) and Kesevan Naidoo (Kuilsrivier) would love to spoil the celebrations as the event will be starting at Hyundai Malmesbury and they would consider a class win in the ex-Chris de Wit 464 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6i equal to overall victory. Paul van Wyk (Bloubergstrand) and TBA will also be keen to finish well in the acciDent Guru 469 WBMK S3 VW Golf MkI 2.0 8v. It is said this Golf has now been beefed up!

The 2018 S3 champions, Andy Haigh-Smith (Philadelphia) and Tania Vermaak (Strand), have not enjoyed a fantastic season in the AHS Racing 432 CPMCC / WBMK S3 Mitsubishi Lancer GT 1600 and they too would be keen to close their third season together with a solid result. Amazingly the season represents the 35th year of active participation as a driver for the 71 year old Andy Haigh-Smith and he is still extremely competitive in this demanding sport.

Seraaj Amlay (Lotus River) and Amjad Classen (Lansdowne) have impressed in their Ramlay Builders 457 CCMCC S3 VW Golf MkIII GTi 2.0 and could prove extremely competitive on the Riebeek Valley Rally. Marius Swart (Stellenbosch) and Angelique Swart (Stellenbosch) another combination that have been improving in leaps and bounds with their EPR 4x4 438 CPMCC S3 VW Golf MkI 2.0 8v. The couple will have the Lingeveldt brothers, Clint (Lansdowne) and Lloyd (Kenilworth), pushing hard in their 435 CCMCC S3 Toyota Tazz 1.6i. Clint prepares many cars for the regional championship and rarely gets an opportunity to compete. Julian Calvert (Goodwood) and TBA will be back in the ever consistent Liewe Lulu 409 CPMCC S3 VW Golf MkIII GTi 2.0 and it is also good to see the 447 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6i of Theo Tyler (Ottery) and Tyler Croy (Ottery) back in action. Erin Joshua (Retreat) and TBA will also be returning in the 462 CCMCC S3 Toyota Tazz 1.6i and any of these teams could find themselves on the class podium as consistency and reliability inevitably also brings results.

Without a doubt still the best supported and most competitive class in the regional championship there could be more teams present on the day. It was interesting to note the support received by each team in the polls before the CPMCC Swartland Rally – and even more surprising to note the actual results on the event.

Class S2 proves that consistency pays as Gareth Vernon (Pinelands) and Gillian Vernon (Pinelands) stand to win their first regional class championship in a car that should actually be competing in a lower classification. Their 459 CPMCC S2 VW Golf MkI 1.4i actually compete in the higher classification S2 category for 1600cc cars and though they have obviously not been the fastest they have finished more often than their opposition and thoroughly deserve to win this class championship.

Sakkie van Zyl (Wellington) and Henry Köhne (Pretoria) proved the surprise package in the Shatterfix 404 WPMC S2 VW Golf MkI 1.6i. This car was formerly campaigned by the talented Tiaan Rabe and it would seem that his Gulf Oil liveried Golf is now in good hands as the new combination won the category on debut.  Kevin Calvert (Pinelands) and Brian Hoskins (Tableview) certainly rival their opponents with respect to preparation of the KC Transport 436 WPMC S2 VW Golf MkI 1.6i is concerned, but they fell foul of CV problems. Johann Zulch (Ceres) and Petra Zulch (Ceres) also struggling to find the reliability that Johann is renowned for and the Ceres Toyota supported 439 WBMK S2 Ford Escort 1600 Sport will hopefully soon be ready to challenge the more modern class opposition.

Daan Terblanché is the Clerk of the Course with Pierre van der Westhuizen Assistant CoC and John Green the MSA Steward. There are so many people behind the scenes deserving of acknowledgement it becomes difficult to name anyone – just in case you miss somebody. Same applies to the land owners and the regional media who supports the sport of rallying.

In no particular order a special word of thanks to Hyundai Malmesbury, Jarat Tours, PPC Cement, Ramlay Builders, Kenilworth Karting, R Waan Media, Pulpit Rock Winery for their support of the CCMCC Riebeek Valley Rally on Saturday 5 October 2019.

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