Darling starts 2020 Western Cape Rally season

Twenty crews registered during the 27 February 2020 Entry Function at the CPMCC Rollbar, Killarney International Raceway. It is anticipated that there will be a number of late entries as cars are being prepared.

Llewellyn Jones and Christophé Pichon starts 2020 as the defending Western Cape Special Stage Rally Champions in their CEJ Plant Hire 434 CPMCC S5 Subaru Impreza STi Turbo 2.0 4x4 and they would like nothing more than to add the Darling event to their list of victories. They missed the 2019 edition due to a family wedding and simply dominated the balance of the season.

They will however be kept honest throughout by 4times WP Rally Driver Champion, John Peiser, and his 2times WP Rally Navigator Champion son, Weston Peiser, in their Speed Pro Cycling Equipment 425 CPMCC S5 Subaru Impreza GT 2.0 Turbo 4x4. Officially the very first Subaru to ever rally in SA this car is always well prepared and the experienced crew more than capable of holding their own amongst the more modern versions.

Add Shaun Jones and Jason Thorpe in their Advanced Asphalt 424 CPMCC S5 Subaru Impreza STi 2.0 Turbo 4x4 and the podium could be all 4x4 as Darling certainly favours good grip and maximum torque.

Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman will have their immaculate Sabre Paints 406 CPMCC S4 VW Polo Playa 2.0 20v ready for action and it is anticipated that all the teething problems will now be sorted and this potential rally winner.

Winston Neethling and Randall Marais finally returning in their ex-Hannes Grobler 428 CCMCC S5 Nissan Sentra 2.0 4x4 and the sound of this classic is enough to get the adrenalin levels up.

Team acciDent Guru fields a trio of special Golf MkI cars in 2020 with Team Principle, Piet Bakkes, finally taking time out his holiday schedule to return to local action behind the wheel of his accident Guru 419 WBMK S3 Volkswagen Golf MkI 2.0 8v with Shaun Visser navigating.

Paul van Wyk and Tania Vermaak keen to start their season well in the acciDent Guru 469 WBMK S3 Volkswagen Golf MkI 2.0 8v whilst they have a secret weapon in development.

Sakkie van Zyl and Henry Köhne as always in the Shatterfix 477 WPMC S2 Volkswagen Golf MkI 1.6. Yes, this is the ex-Tiaan Rabe "Golf" coloured car but Sakkie now has his own regional number.

Matt Köhler will be driving his own 401 S2 Volkswagen Golf MkI 1.4i with a yet to be appointed navigator whilst defending S2 champions, Gareth and Gillian Vernon, will also be continuing in their championship winning Volkswagen Golf MkI 1.4i.

The trio of VW's challenged by the classic Ceres Toyota 439 WBMK S2 Ford Escort 1600 Sport of Johann and Petra Zulch.

Kevin Calvert and Brian Hoskins won the best looking award in their KC Transport 436 WPMC S2 Volkswagen Golf MkI 1.6 but they join the 2.0 8v machines in class S3 for 2020 and will now be challenging for best performance honours.

Brothers, Clint and Lloyd Lingeveldt, return in their very well prepared D&S Motorsport 435 CCMCC S3 Toyota Tazz 1.6i with valued support from AE92, acciDent Guru, 435 Oils, D&S Auto Repairs and Wheel Master.

Erin Joshua was still hard at work preparing his 462 CCMCC S3 Toyota Tazz 1.6i and is still to nominate his navigator for the event whilst Julian Calvert and Nicholas Knights will have additional support from Aquila Private Game Reserve when their Liewe Lulu 409 CPMCC S3 Volkswagen Golf MkIII GTi 2.0 takes to the start of the event come Saturday.

Brother, Juneyed Edas, and sister Reyanah Edas, set to make their rallying debut in the ex-Tjaart van der Walt 466 CCMCC S3 Toyota Tazz 1.6i. Father, Cobus Edas, opting not to compete on this event.

Riyaan Amlay the S3 dark horse in the Ramlay Builders 433 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6i. A new navigator is on the cards but the commitment level will undoubtedly be the same.

Owen Jones will be back in the ex-Llewellyn Jones 454 CPMCC S5 Volkswagen Polo 1.6. Now somehow this does not fit the picture as a normally aspirated 1.6 should be in S3. Could it be that they are fitting a hairdryer? Navigator still to be appointed.

Derick Clift and Marius Rudolph return in the Potenza Oils 418 S4 Toyota Hilux 2.0 RWD with valued support from H&H Spares, Leakfind, Cool Bananas and Master Keys Goodwood.

Another team who could prove quick will be Trevor Hodges and Ian Thebus in the bright orange Extreme Racing 421 CCMCC S4 Volkswagen Golf MkIII GTi 2.0 16v.

There is still a chance that the modern incarnation of the DKW may return to once again upset the results. The Franken Motorsport Volkswagen Polo 1000cc Turbo of Paul-Hendrik Franken made it’s debut on the Darling Rally and the performance of this little masterpiece have led to the creation of a national challenge category and it really ruffles feathers wherever it competes.

Spectators will enjoy good viewing at no less than four spectator points. Competitors will contest four special stages, which will be repeated.  The shortest stage being 7.09km and the longest 17.95km.

It is somehow fitting to see the second oldest motor club in South Africa organise the opening round of the Western Cape Rally Championship scheduled for Saturday 7 March 2020. Back in the 18th century some 29 farmers lived in an area named Groenkloof and the town of Darling was eventually established on the farm Langfontein in 1853.

Sir Charles Henry Darling arrived as the Cape Lieutenant General in 1851 and then two Swedish settlers, Nils Georg Moller and G. Threnstrom established the Darling creamery in 1899, which lasted till 1950. From 1917 the annual Darling Wildflower show is hosted by the Darling Wildflower Society, making this 103 year old flower show something really special. In 1901 Veldcornet C.P. Hildebrand (from Lichtenburg, Transvaal) of the Maritz Commando was buried near Darling and in 1939 a granite needle monument was erected to commemorate the most southern penetration by a commando during the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War.

The Cape Peninsula Motorcycle Club was established in 1910 (cars were still something of a novelty at the time) and then became the Cape Peninsula Motorcycle and Car Club in 1920. Officially the oldest Car club in the Western Cape and 2nd oldest in South Africa their then 160 members hosted their first event as a 100mile regularity (at an average speed of 16mph) on 5 August 1912. (Would have loved to have seen a Model T sideways with a set of mud & snow tyres). Can you imagine what satarist Pieter Dirk Uys would do with this remark as Evita Bezuidenhout at Evita se Perron, just down the road in Darling?

In 1913 CPMCC utilised their club finances of 101 pounds 5 shillings to acquire a powerful electromagnet that was mounted on a cart and driven through the streets prior to events to pick up old nails and horse shoes which were causing punctures! Legendary motorsport personalities such as former SA Land Speed record holder, Vic Proctor Snr, and Henry “Fireworks” Pheiffer (father of Adrian Pheiffer) were members of CPMCC. Since 2000 CPMCC have been a fixture at the Killarney International Raceway.

No other area in the Swartland can claim to have hosted a squadron of Lockheed B34 Ventura aircraft. 23 Squadron arrived at the Darling airfield in 1943 to assist in combatting the German U Boat menace and were involved in the eventual 11 March 1944 sinking of the 50 crew Tosi Taranto built Italian Luizzi class diesel electric Alpino Attilio Bagnolini Regia Marina submarine utilized by the German Kriegsmarine as UIT 22 off the Cape of Good Hope by No 262 Squadron RAF Consolidated PBY Catalina FP 279/D, piloted by Fl Lt Roddick as part of Operation Wicketkeeper.

Work on a new iron hangar started on 31 January 1944, on 12 April 1944 Ventura 6457 of 27 Squadron crashed into Dassenberg near Darling with the loss of six lives (the wreck recovered by 22 Sqn Puma 145 on 12 April 1988 – 44 years later) and then the Catalina’s ironically left Darling for Mtubatuba on 25 August 1944.

The“Somersveld” runway  becoming an emergency landing strip for nearby Langebaanweg. Records also show that Spitfire 5673 was the 8th type MkIX lost, near Darling, on 14 March 1951. On 8 November 1995 the first Pilatus Astra was lost over Somersveld when 2022 and 2018 made contact during a formation practice and on 17 October 1996 Astra 2054 made an almost perfect “emergency” landing on the gravel road just outside Darling.

Somersveld was constructed to serve as an alternate to training specifically the Circuits &Landings part of the syllabus. When the Impalas came into service in the late 1960s, the secondary main runway at LBWG (02R/20L) was a lot shorter than the main runway (02L/20R) and only touch & go circuits for solo pupes was the order of the day ie no PFLs or full-stop landings. Flapless circuits were allowed with an overshoot, no landings. This congested the circuit quite a lot as the practise in the late 60s/early 70s was to have pupes courses in the high 50s low 60s.

Hence Somersveld. It also doubled as an emergency airfield. Still used from time to time today. And you thought this was just another fast asleep little “dorpie” in the Swartland district! Even the national off road championship Nissan 400 was hosted around the Darling Country Club (2003 -2011) for a number of years and the event also ran under the auspices of the 110 year old Cape Peninsula Motorcycle and Car Club. Now the first round of the 2020 Western Cape Rally Championship takes competitors in the strongest regional rally championship back to the Darling district on Saturday 7 March 2020.

The town of darling is 167 years old this year and as the opening round of the championship (instead of the fourth round as in 2018) the entire character of this event has changed as the wet conditions will now be replaced by dust and sand.