Johannes Wouter Rabe 6 May 1962 - 21 July 2015

Good friends since the early eighties Johann Zulch and Johann Rabe decided to go rallying in a completely standard Ford Escort 1600 Sport complete with towbar, crome trim, seat covers, carpets and rear window louvre.

Arriving at the start of their first rally with four “new” Bandag retreated rally tyres in the trailor they were considered slightly crazy as the standard tyres and louvre were locked into the trailor before heading for the late night start. No service crew or extensive spares kit the sneers soon became cheers as the Ford Escort started to rake in surprising results whilst still fitted with creature comforts such as heater and standard seats.

Johann Zulch and Johann Rabe were fast becoming part of the Western Province rallying scene with Francois van der Merwe as reserve navigator. With fields in excess of thirty cars the Escort scored way above it’s weight and soon developed into something of a crowd favourite.

The “shopping trolley” started to shed some of the trim and as it became a little more of a rally car Johann Rabe and Prop van Dyk teamed up as service crew whilst Patrick Vermaak stepped in to navigate. Huge progress followed with a second hand Peltor intercom and single Holtrip odometer acquired from Jan Kriel – a set of four point belts and bigger spotlights saw the Escort turn into a real challenger. At least, that is what we thought, and amazingly even better results followed.   

The Escort rarely failed to finish any event it started. An altercation with an Overberg tree during a very wet event saw the Escort change into a “new” white colour scheme. When Johann decided to retire from the sport at the end of 1997 the Escort had won multiple WP Class Championships. In fact, with thirty consecutive finishes it was the most successful privately run car in the Western Cape.

A feat that led to Ashley Landman sportingly making his Ashley’s Ford Sapphire Turbo 4x4 available to Johann and Patrick as a single event reward. With kind assistance from Novel Ford (Jurgen zu Bentheim) the foursome also enjoyed contesting the Nova Tyre Rally Keetmanshoop in 1994 with Koos Schoeman and Karl Dahl joining in with their BMW E30.    

More important than any of the more than 200 trophies earned was the friendship that developed during this period. Sadly the big C claimed Prop van Dyk and now we greet the big man with the big heart. Much liked by all involved at the time his friendly nature will be sorely missed at the events he quietly attended.

Johannes Wouter Rabe (6 May 1962 to 21 July 2015) will not be forgotten.

Our sincere condolences to Moira, Chantelle, Christiaan and family.

Funeral arrangements to be confirmed but is anticipated to take place in the NG Church, Rawsonville on Friday 31 July 2015.