Home run for Allan and Carl in Swakop

The Western Cape was wet, extremely wet. In fact it was storming to such a degree that all flights inand out of cape Town International were in fact diverted or cancelled. Ironically further north it was dry, very dry, dusty and hot!

The Windhoek Motor Club and the Walvis Bay Motor Club pooled their resources to create the 1000 Dunes Swakop Rally under the auspices of the Namibian Motor Sport Federation and with twenty three entries present a air of optimism was tangible at the pre start holding area at Shell Ocean View Swakopmund.

The 2013 Namibian Rally Champion Driver, Allan Martin, had Carl Peskin filling the suicide seat in the ex-Hergen Fekken S2000 / S3 J&P Hydraulics VW Polo 4x4 and the new combination delivered a calculated drive to open their 2016 championship challenge with a deserved overall victory. Opening a 3min lead after eight stages they started heamoraging time on the final two stages with a faulty Throttle Position Sensor to eventually secure overall victory by 56 seconds.

Jaco Redelinghuys and Dries Booysen impressed with a determined effort in their ex-Piet Bakkes S2000 / S3 Gobabis Toyota Run X 4x4 and their progress would be worthy of attention as they certainly will not be content with just making up the podium on future events. Roland Himmel and Juan Erlank filled the customary giant killing role in their always impressive little S1600 / S1 Toyota Etios R2 1600 completing the podium in Walvis Bay. What is lacks in sheer punch is compensated for with a big heart and some spectacular driving.

The first Namibian citizen to enter the international rallying arena, 25 year old Thilo Himmel will be one of eleven drivers in the FIA Junior WRC category. Hans Weijs Motorsport will prepare the Powerline Africa International and Zeck supported Citroën DS 3 R3 Max for all six European rounds of the World Rally Championship. Starting with the Rallye de Portugal (368km of SS and 1320km of LS) on 20-22 May 2016 Thilo Himmel and Nico Swartz will be giving it their all to be the winning duo that will then proceed to six rounds in the 2017 WRC2 category driving a Citroën DS 3 R5.

Willem Hugo had his 14 year old daughter, Mandi, navigating the ex-Riaan Olivier Griffin Transport Gp N4 / S4 Subaru Impreza 4x4 Turbo and was even credited with a special stage victory when they wrongslotted. One of the legendary figures in Namibian rallying Willem openly admitted to their mistake but the time was retained in the final results.

Peer Röhm and Eugene Marais traded their ageing Toyota Tazz for the ex-Richard Slamet S1600 / S1 Toyota Auris and the Gunite Pools entry certainly looked the part on the event, finishing in an encouraging fifth spot overall. The Coetzee brothers, Jannie and George, have acquired the ex-Hergen Fekken, Jaco van Dyk and Oswaldo Mendes A7 VW Polo and really enjoyed the lively Compass Walvis Bay liveried car despite the fact that they were encountering overheating symptoms all day. Sixth overall certainly not where they intend finishing in future.

Another car changing hands was the Gp N3 / S2 Toyota Run X Rsi of Cecil Koorts. Reliable as always the Cobra Motorsport entry of Etienne van den Heever and Willy van Wyk finished just four seconds down on the Coetzee Polo in seventh place overall. Pieter Greeff and Steven Robinson battled with binding brakes on their ex- Hanré Myburgh Seal Consulting Engineers A6 / S1 Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 but they were satisfied with eighth overall and the confident that they could improve quite substantially in future events.

Oubaas, the S4 Mazda Drifter of Freddie van Niekerk and Peter Alehin, the final classified finishers in ninth overall. With stages known as Swart Randjies, Dagga Bossie, Soutpanne, Martin Luther, Airport, Rossmund and Granietmyn variety was the order of the day but this being Namibia, drivetrains were pushed to the limits as cars continuously fought for traction.

The Off Road category considered the stages highways and the brutishly powerful “spinnekoppe” was only limited by the fact that handling corners was not their greatest attribute as they simply drove over anything that suddenly required turning. Martin Kruger and Meldin Nolte taking first place in their impressive Red Bull Batt with the almost similar Liqui Moly Batt of Rudi Brand and Wayne Schablinski second. Had they scored overall they would have placed third and fourth respectively. Father and daughter, Rolf and Katja Pretorius, third in their unique Rotary powered Toyota.

Hanré Myburgh and Geon Ellis had just moved into fourth overall when the differential on their neat S1 VW Polo cried enough in SS8. Marco Luis and De Wet du Plessis were also enjoying a great run in their Xenium Gp N4 / S4 Subaru Impreza 4x4 Turbo when a serious turbo oil leak forced them to retire from fourth overall on SS7.

Gert Coetzee, youngest of the three Coetzee brothers, and Hugo Arangies were enjoying their debut in the ex-Jacques Botha S2 Ford Focus ST but they suffered suspension damage on SS4 and then a CV joint seized in SS6.

Zachary Martin, sixteen year old son of Allan Martin, had the 2013 Namibian Rally navigators champion, Berto Mostert, in the suicide seat of the ex-Rickus Schmidt J&P Hydraulics VW Golf MkI 1600 on debut and they were turning in impressive times to hold sixth overall when their world turned upside down on SS7 – three times! There is no truth in the rumour that Volkswagen will be considering a “fastback” version of the classic MkI Golf and the duo will be burning midnight oil to polish out the few minor dings before the next round.   

Special Stage 3 proved too much to the liking of the Off Road throroughbreds and the organisers cancelled the stage rather than risk losing half the field in the soft sand. Strong candidates for overall victory, Richard Slamet and Wiets Coetzee, were just getting into their stride with the ex-Stephanie Hugo I-S Freight Services S2000 / S4 Toyota Run X 4x4 when the front differential cried enough on SS2. A real pity as their form on the 2015 Total Tara was impressive and they should be considered a serious threat for the overall titles in 2016.

Jan Everson and Fanie Botes also most unfortunate to retire the Seal Consulting Engineers S2 VW Polo on SS2 with a broken driveshaft whilst the Off Road Zarco of Morné Oosthuizen and Jacques Kruger also disappeared in SS2. Oswaldo Mendes and Kai Pretorius opted for an early shower when their ex-factory S2 Sky-Way Investments VW Golf Mk IV blew it’s engine on SS2.

Tinus Malan and Paul van Niekerk retired the neat looking Atlas Copco Toyota MR2 on SS2 with suspected waterpump failure. Rian and Marc Viljoen did not make it to the end of SS1 in their ex-Jan Everson S1 Ford Ikon and Joao Coimbra and Freddy Smith could only complete two stages in their Printworx S2 VW Polo Classic.

With vast numbers of spectators following the event it was clear that Namibian rallying was back on track and the 2016 season holds much promise. The next round the popular Bank Windhoek Tsumeb Rally on 9 July 2016. However it is anticipated that a number of the Namibian teams will be making the trip to the Boland for the Ceres Toyota Rally on 14 May 2016.

Thank you to photographer - Carla Havenga.