Finally Oswaldo!

Near perfect rallying weather guarenteed excellent spectator support the fourth round of the Western Province Rally Championship and the competitors provided a great spectacle in the Swartland. Twenty two teams started the event from the Meiring Primary School and eleven were classified as finishers at the interesting Die Bruid die Pixie en die Vaalhond prizegiving venue later in the afternoon.

Popular Swakopmund visitor, Oswaldo Mendes, and Derek Jacobs enjoyed an almost faultless event in their Sky-Way 129 WBMK S5 Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2.0 Turbo 4x4 to claim seven stage victories and a deserved victory. Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak drove conservatively and netted second place in their Team 467 WBMK S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 with Trevor Hodges and Ian Thebus credited with third position in their Claremont VW 421 CCMCC S4 VW Golf GTi 2.0.

The prediction was that the opening two stages would prove deciding on this event and De Grendel certainly did as the fast and flowing 18.04km stage weaved it’s way through the magnificent Riebeek Kasteel countryside. Just enough rain preceded the event to minimize dust and there was some debate as to wet weather tyres would indeed be required.

An air of anticipation was present at the Meiring Primary School during the customary documentation, scrutineering and, as expected, the 4x4 cars headed the starting sequence past the gazebo’s of Stunt Network, Tyre Zone, GCF Civils, Quickshade and Kontra Signs who stepped in as valued event sponsors.

Unfortunately the Winston Neethling and Lyle Marais CCMCC 428 S5 Nissan Sentra 2.0 4x4 was not present having blown a headgasket shortly before leaving Cape Town for the event. The championship defending CPMCC 424 S5 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Turbo 4x4 2.0 of Shaun Jones and Craig Gray also missing as the new turbo configuration and subframe could not be finished in time. Actually, they had only recently discovered the subframe was actually absent from their car

The remaining 22 crews to the test from the start and thanks to the recent rains grip levels were somewhat unpredictable. Some crews running wet weather tyres and with the stage to be repeated as special stage two some opted to remain on dry tyres as the rocky sections risked puncturing tyres. This would prove to be a Swartland based Overberg Grand Prix of note!

Oswaldo Mendes and Derek Jacobs led the field away from the Meiring Primary School start in their Sky-Way 129 WBMK S5 Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2.0 Turbo 4x4 but it was John and Weston Peiser that claimed special stage one in their Speed Pro Cycling Components 425 WPMC S5 Subaru Impreza GT 2.0 Turbo 4x4. Third fastest going to Mike Nathan and Clint Lingeveldt in the beautiful 417 CCMCC S5 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 2.0 Turbo 4x4.

André Cleenwerck and Craig Gray slotting their neat Jenspeed 414 CPMCC S3 VW Polo 1.6 into fourth with a blistering time ahead of Llewellyn Jones and Christoph Pichon in their equally impressive CEJ 434 CPMCC S3 VW Polo 1.6. Sixth fastest going to Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak in their Team 467 WBMK S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6. Now proudly displaying the colours of Kranzle and Würth as additional sponsors.

Championship points leaders at the season midway point, Herman Mathee and Ruan Reynders, opened their account with seventh fastest in the Madev 423 WBMK Datsun GX Sedan 2.0, with a rejuvenated Ismaeel Davids and Yusuf Ganief eighth fastest in their Extreme Contracting 431 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6. Warren Scholtz and Justin Gay also showing renewed form with ninth fastest in their 444 CPMCC S3 VW Polo 2.0 and rounding off the top ten was the immaculately prepared Sabre Paints 406 CPMCC S4 VW Polo 2.0 20v of Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman.

A driveshaft problem had already claimed the rapid Howard Centre 413 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 of Keenan Sassman and Kesevan Naidoo and the crew would rejoin the event on SS3 under super rally rules. Repeating SS1 the Peiser Subaru succumbed to clutch problems and driveshaft issues saw the Hollandse Motors 405 WBMK S4 VW Golf GTi 2.0 of Rupert van Zyl and Marius Rudolph grind to a halt. Llewellyn Jones and Cristoph Pichon parked their CEJ 434 CPMCC S3 VW Polo with terminal clutch problems and burnt valves saw the Jenspeed 414 CPMCC S3 VW Polo 1.6 of André Cleenwerck and Craig Gray back on it’s trailer.

Johann and Petra Zulch unfortunately also joining the list of retirements with suspect front suspension on the Worcester Enjinsentrum 439 WBMK S2 Ford Escort Sport 1600. The normally ultra reliable AHS Racing 432 CPMCC S3 Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600 lost it’s power steering belt, which in turn removed the fanbelt, which in turn cooked the engine and a very disappointed Andy Haigh-Smith and Tania Vermaak joined the list of retirements after SS2.

SS3 then further decimated the entry when Mike Nathan and Clint Lingeveldt was forced to park the 417 CCMCC S5 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Turbo 2.0 4x4 with terminal engine damage. Going out in very spectacular fashion was the 436 WPMC S2 VW Golf MkI 1.6 of Ian Long and Brian Hoskins when a right rear hub broke on a sequence of high speed yumps, resulting in a spectacular roll. Ian sustaining a bruised rib, but they are determined to have the Golf reshelled and ready for the All Tar Rally on 28/29 July. Warren Scholtz and Justin Gay withdrawing their 444 CPMCC S3 VW Polo 2.0 for reasons unknown.

The balance of the event saw no further retirements but a somewhat confusing liaison section saw a number of cars driving around in circles and then efforts to correct unrealistic open section times led to a number teams incurring penalties. An avoidable set of circumstances which flawed an otherwise most enjoyable event with really challenging stages and great atmosphere. CCMCC (Kesevan Naidoo), CPMCC (Billy Thorpe) and team need to be complimented on returning to Riebeek Kasteel and the event set to become very popular in future. Thank you too to all the landowners and authorities for the opportunity to hear the Vaalhond in action.

The final shocker being the unfortunate circumstances which led to the exclusion of Herman Mathee and Ruan Reynders in the Madev 423 WBMK S4 Datsun GX Sedan. They had left the road on the final stage and got tangled up in a fence. Stuck in a potentially dangerous position outside assistance was required to move their vehicle into a position of safety. Being the true sportsmen they are they admitted to having been assisted to a point of safety when the officials received a competitor inquiry and were subsequently excluded from the results. The incident had dropped them from a brilliant fourth overall to tenth overall and then eventual exclusion. 

Keenan Sassman and Kesevan Naidoo returned to the event under super rally rules and with nothing to lose they shared the second fastest time with Team 467 on SS4 and then impressed with second fastest on all four remaining stages. Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak content to maintain their own comfortable pace as they would not make any impression on the leading Scooby and were comfortably ahead of third placed Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman in the Sabre Paints 406 CPMCC S4 VW Polo 2.0 20v, who then fell foul of the amended liaison section times. The resultant 3min penalty dropping them to fifth overall.

Trevor Hodges and Ian Thebus claiming their best result of the season with third overall in their Claremont VW 421 CCMCC S4 VW Golf GTi 2.0. Ismaeel Davids and Yusuf Ganief looked threatening in the Extreme Contracting 431 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 but then started slowing after SS6 to eventually claim fourth overall ahead of the unfortunate Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman.

Paul van Wyk and Henry Köhne looked relieved to bring their acciDent Guru 469 WBMK S3 VW Golf MkI 2.0 home in sixth spot. Even more impressive was that it was undamaged despite a number of close calls. Piet Bakkes and Matthew Köhler seventh in the acciDent Guru 419 CPMCC VW Gazz MkI 2.0, just 45 seconds shy of their teammates. Putting a “new” Tazz rear suspension set-up to the test Piet did manage to break the left rear shockabsorber but was still impressed with the conversion. Just a brief international holiday and he will be back to test the new suspension on the All Tar.

John and Derick Clift felt at home on the farmyard stages with their ACW Engineering 418 WBMK S4 Toyota Hilux and eighth overall was actually an impressive result on these very high speed sweeping stages of the Swartland. Riyaan Amlay and Ameen Snell tenth overall after they too incurred heavy penalties in their Ramlay Builders 433 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6. Julian Calvert and Terry Croy the final classified finishers in eleventh position with their 409 CCMCC S3 VW Golf GTi 2.0.

The second half of the 2017 Western Province Rally Championship could not have started in better weather and given all the team changes and development evident within each team the balance of the season could still prove extremely competitive in every category. Class S3 have certainly proven exceptionally good with more than ten teams present on each event.

The All Tar Rally at the WPMC Killarney International Raceway on 28/29 July 2017 provides a completely different challenge to gravel rallying crews and with the Clubmans / Classic car categories going head to head with the rallyists it has certainly become an annual highlight for competitors and spectators. Even the Tarmac Terrorist have joined the ranks of the rallyists, but there are some serious tarmac toys that could spoil the day for the rallyists.

Unfortunately the Madev 423 WBMK S4 Datsun GX sedan of Herman Mathee and Ruan Reynders will not be be present as there is soon to be a Mr and Mrs Herman and Selina Mathee. (and guess who planned the wedding date on a rally date?)

The Sabre Paints 406 CPMCC S4 VW Polo 2.0 20v of Charl Strydom will be present in the very capable hands of former track racer Jacques Phyfer and regular navigator Sakkie Bosman. Charl Strydom will be recovering from a knee replacement and hopefully he will be fit to contest the Overberg Grand Prix in September.

With Johann and Petra Zulch set to drive 0 car on the All Tar with their WBMK BMW 325iM the 439 WBMK S2 Ford Escort Sport 1600 will be enjoying further development before returning for the 2018 regional season.  

Best wishes to the Walvis Bay Motor Club who will be hosting the Restricted
Club 1000 Dunes Rally in Swakopmund on Saturday 15 July 2017. The closed club event set to attract most of the Namibian rallyists and those coastal stages are truly challenging.

With less than four weeks to the penultimate round of the 2017 Western Province Rally Championship teams will be pressed to prepare their cars for the unique tarmac challenge on 28/29 July 2017.

Be There!