Namibians thrill - Peiser wins!

Indeed the early bird does catch the worm – or put more simply – sleep on special stage one and the Peiser combination of John and Weston will be “Dankbaar” to knock your socks off! The father and son combination quietly hatched their plan as the twenty teams slowly awoke to another brilliant day in the Ceres valley on Saturday 9 May 2015 where round three of the Western Province Rally Championship was to start at 10h30.

Twenty teams were declared ready for action and this included no less than four visiting Namibian combinations. Even the Ceres Toyota start venue vibe was contagious as Radio Witzenberg 105.9Fm set about interviewing competing crews during their live broadcast. Documentation and scrutineering a beehive of activity. Even the most shy found themselves in front of the HD camera of Rudy Koertzen whilst Eric Joseph and Jason Hanslo snapped away.

Dankbaar was the 12.45km opening stage of the event and it was John and Weston Peiser that simply blasted their way to stage victory in the Speed Pro Cycling Components S5 WPMC Subaru Impreza GT 4x4 Turbo 2.0. A full 1min09 faster than the I-S Freight Services S3 Toyota Auris 1.6 of Namibian duo, Richard Slamet and Wiets Coetzee was both impressive and decisive. When the opposition realised they were caught napping Matroosberg resembled Kilamanjaro.

2013 Namibian Rally Champions, Allan Martin and Berto Mostert, slotted into second place after the 24.39km Driefontein stage two and looked to be serious challengers in unfamiliar territory. Unfortunately they would fall foul of a deep wash away near the end of the 14.35km Erfdeel special stage three and the 2.0 20v J&P Hydraulics S5 WBMC VW Polo Vivo 4x4 was forced to retire from the event with irreparable damage to the left rear suspension. Jan Everson and Fanie Botes immediately stepped up as the new challengers but though they would see 2nd overall after special stage three their mighty effort would come to an end with a broken sideshaft on the 14.35km Laastedrif special stage four.

Having not driven their new car prior to this event their effort was truly commendable as the Dave Ingle 2.0 16v FSi powered Seal Consulting Engineers S4 WBMC VW Polo Vivo looked at ease on the stages and clearly had enough reserves to mount a serious challenge. Sadly both the Walvis Bay teams were reduced to the role of spectators, but they certainly caught the eye as the spectator points had one feel as though one had stepped back in time. There were spectators, many spectators, lining the spectator points to capacity and the atmosphere was tangible from within the cars – this was rallying the way it should be!

Going into special stage four Keenan Sassman and Derek Jacobs were tied in an intense battle with Lourens and Nina van Rensburg for second place overall. The little S3 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 pushed to it’s absolute maximum in order to move ahead of the 7Films / LLJ racing S5 WPMC Ford Fiesta R2 1.6. The real surprise on SS4 coming from a resurgent Shaun Jones and Craig Gray in their S5 CPMCC Subaru Impreza STi 4x4 Turbo, spoiling the 100% record of the Peiser combination.

Mark Avice du Buisson had to withdraw as navigator shortly before the event and Craig Gray found himself strapped into the Suiside. From the start venue to the start of the first stage did not exactly leave much time to bond into a harmonious team and a sight misunderstanding saw the Scooby acting like a flower in a rock garden – two very second hand tyres on the Driverside resulting in a massive loss in time on SS1 and overall victory was gone.

Completing the challenging 24.39km Swaarmoed stage, reverse direction of SS2, as the fifth and final stage of the event had John and Weston Peiser continue their dominance of the event by taking another stage win enroute to what now has to be their finest result to date! Looking somewhat worse for wear the S3 Toyota of Keenan Sassman and Derek Jacobs survived the ordeal to finish a fine second overall and first in class.

Lourens and Nina van Rensburg well satisfied with third spot on the podium as they continued to reel in those valuable points in their S5 Ford Fiesta. Keenan and Lourens tied on time after special stage four and it was a very determined Keenan who pushed hardest to slot into second overall after an entertaining duel.

Cecil Koorts and Oscar Schoombee did Namibia proud by finishing a fighting fourth overall on their SA debut in the Barex Equipment S4 WMK Toyota Run X RSi 1.8. Their determined effort also netting the class S4 victory on their very first event beyond the borders of Namibia!

Paul van Wyk and Quinton Swarts decided to invent their own route for some two minutes on special stage two and this limited their efforts to fifth overall and second in class with the acciDent Guru S4 WBMK VW Golf MkI 2.0 8v. Small consolation the fact that they were the first Witzenberg Motorklub team home.

After having re-introduced themselves upon arrival, they had been out of rallying that long, Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman slowly but surely shrug off the cobwebs and were starting to look comfortable in the sixth placed Sabre Paints S5 CPMCC VW Polo 2.0 20v. This is in effect an S2000 car limited to front wheel drive only and is a real monster when driven seriously.

Kesevan Naidoo had Justin Gay read the notes on this occasion and the Freightmore S3 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 found itself fifth overall after SS4, only to drop back with another ailing engine to eventually finish seventh overall. Justin and Brian Hoskins another welcome comeback team and they too found their long absence from the sport to be telling initially. They recovered to finish eighth overall in their class winning JD Motorsport S2 VW Golf Chico 1.6.

Anthony Connelly and Randall Marais remained upright to finish ninth overall in the rebuilt S4 CCMCC VW Polo 2.0, posting three top ten times enroute. Tenth overall and fourth in S3 was disappointing for Richard Slamet and Wiets Coetzee after their promising start on the opening stage. Twice the Namibian combination got bitten by a Ceres crocodile (rock next to road) and twice the punctures saw them lose valuable time. A wrongslot on SS3 and an awol third gear in a sequential gearbox making the balance of their event rather testing in the I-S Freight Services S3 Toyota Auris 1.6. 

Darren and Llewellyn van Greunen lost whopping 13 minutes changing a crocodile crippled wheel on their S1 WBMK VW Golf Chico 1.4i and though they posted some impressive times they could only recover to a frustrating eleventh overall and first in class. Paul Emmanuel and Robin Benjamin opening their 2015 scorecard with twelfth place in their S4 CCMCC VW Polo 2.0. Ebrahim Levy and Matthew Köhler the recipients of the traditional Rosemary Maytham wooden spoons as the final finishers in their Jive S3 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6. An in car fire cost them more than ten minutes on SS1 and then they modified the front suspension – but they made it to the finish!

Trevor Hodges and Ian Thebus found a unique way of phoning home when they used a telephone pole as brake on SS3. Utilising the PR potential of such a move to it’s maximum they opted to do this as they entered the spectator area and before the line stopped shaking 2km further they had managed to come off second best in an argument with a Rueda crocodile.

Parking the now three wheeled S3 VW Golf III GTi 2.0 in front of the appreciative audience somehow not the result they had in mind?
Herman Mathee and Ruan Reynders spent so much time rebuilding the S4 WBMK Datsun GX Sedan they had to find an excuse to get into bed early and duly obliged by destroying a strut. Kocking a hole in the sump to ensure no chances of anything being rebuilt on this occasion. Anwar Levy and Jean-Pierre Jacobs had a healthy engine and a fully functional gearbox in their Jive S3 VW Polo but could not succeed in selecting any of those gears on SS1. Then they tried to recover some lost time on SS2 and – you guessed it – a crocodile jumped up and removed a tie rod from the front suspension. 

Shaun Jones and Craig Gray won SS4 but had to complete the event under Super Rally rules in their Subaru. Llewellyn Jones and Christophe Pischon broke the indestructible S4 CPMCC BMW 328i on SS1 and returned under Super Rally to set second fastest time on SS5 as consolation prize.

Ceres is never easy and one can only compliment the visiting Namibian crews on a stirling effort. Given the following they have in their home country chances are that 2016 will see the likes of Pieter Greeff, Hanré Myburgh, Oswaldo Mendes and Dick Cornelissen join the fray with Llewellyn Anthony leading the Namibian supporters club! It is more than just far, this is true dedication and we applaud you.

Pierre van der Westhuizen, Clerk of the Course and Chairman of the Witzenberg Motorklub,  celebrated his 66th birthday on Saturday and was duly serenaded by the competitors during the drivers briefing. Great to have Elizabeth Terblanche present at prizegiving and wishing Johan de Goede everything of the best. Giving up is not the spirit of rallying!

Sincere condolences to Oscar Schoombee who lost his father shortly before the event. Your fourth overall and first in class fitting reward under extremely difficult circumstances. John and Derick Clift presented the 46th Total Tara Open Category winning Toyota Hilux as 0 car in Ceres whilst Lance Maythan had Michael Taylor as navigator in the Follow-Up Toyota Hilux Dakar. Believe they are still having difficulties getting Lance out of the drivers seat?

Competitors will find themselves in Klipdale on 11 July 2015 for the fourth round of the Western Province Rally Championship – it’s well worth supporting!

Full Summary to follow