Nuwedam success for Franken and Köhne

The acciDent Guru Nuwedam Rally heralded the arrival of a completely revamped Western Cape Regional Rally Championship. Shorter stage distance, compact format and various other cost saving amendments supported by all four remaining rally clubs in the Western Cape encouraging news.

Paul van Wyk and Piet Bakkes the first to show their support at Nuwedam and though the entry list eventually delivered thirteen starters there were encouraging signs of more teams returning to the regional championship.

Mike Nathan and Craig Gray dominated all three stages in their class S5 Mike Nathan Auto Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Turbo 4x4, but though their stage times were very quick indeed they somehow managed to miss the service exit TC. An error which would have them excluded from the Final Results.

Youngsters, Paul-Hendrik Franken and Henry Köhne, kept their cool and despite an annoying misfire at high revs their Mantinou Group class S4 Nissan Skyline 2.8 GTX remained intact and the Witzenberg Motorklub duo recorded their first overall victory in a Western Cape Regional Rally. Watch this combination on the nationals where they are slowly but surely finding their feet in their new Manitou Group S1600 VW Polo Vivo.

Drive of the day however belongs to Justin and Brian Hoskins in their neatly prepared class S VW Golf MkI. It used to be a 1.4i Gp N1 specification entry but certainly performed much better than that in the Swartland with two second fastest times overall. Unfortunately the son-father combination dropped almost seven minutes on stage two and eventually found themselves second overall. A combination with serious intentions in 2013!

Newcomers, Julian Calvert and Anthony Connolly, posted consistent times in their ex-Warren Köhler class S3 VW Golf MkIII 2.0 and had good reason to feel satisfied with third overall on debut. Paul Emmanuel and Robin Benjamin quicker in their ex-André Cleenwerck class S4 VW Polo 2.0 but they too lost time in special stage two and had to eventually settle for a fighting fourth spot overall. Fagmie Isaacs and Tariq Khatib the fifth and final classified finishers of the event in their class S3 VW Golf MkI 2.0.

Keenan Sassman and Mathew Köhler should have been fighting the Hoskins combination for overall victory but the youngsters tried to win the event on stage one, winning a rather solid gate post rather than a trophy! The class S3 Toyota Corolla RSi 1.6 shed quite a few kilograms by leaving a few panels next to said gatepost and after some rapid repairs it proved what may have been by finishing the event sixth overall under Super Rally rules.

Paul van Wyk and Divan de Goede found more oil in the water than in the sump after special stage one and after some determined work repaired the acciDent Guru class S3 VW Golf MkI 2.0 to recover to seventh under Super Rally rules.

Darren and Llewellyn van Greunen made their competitive debut in the ex-Gugulethu Zulu / Benjamin Johnson class S2 VW Golf MkI 1.4i and were looking good until they punctured and eventually a CV broke on SS2, leaving them stranded for the day.

Winston Neethling and Lyle Marais won the WP Rallysprint Series in 2012 and started first on the road at Nuwedam, but their title defence was cut short when they also lost an argument with a rather solid gate post. To their credit they took on the railway line post smack in front of the well attended spectator area, retiring the ex-Hannes Grobler class S5 Nissan Sentra 4x4 in style.

John and Weston Peiser had their shortest outing to date in the normally very reliable class S5 Speed Cycling Components Subaru Impreza GT 4x4 Turbo when they snapped a CV just beyond the start of SS1. Warren Köhler and Terry Croy completed SS1 in the Clinton Sassman class S4 E30 BMW 325i but then disappeared from the scoresheets for reasons unknown.

As always the catering in the documentation / prizegiving barn proved excellent and the marshals had to be complimented on a tough job well done. The weather could have been considered mid summer and not a breath of wind assisted those out on course. Looking at all the open bonnets allowing steam to escape it would be fair to say that the standard of preparation will require attention before teams head for Ceres and the WBMK Rally on Saturday 11 May 2013.

The encouraging elements being the return of the Western Cape Regional Rally Championship and a number of new combinations joining the older guard. Could not help but notice the absence of any Team REACT entries and then there is that Toyota parked at Ettiene du Toit as well as the “new” Escort growing horns in the Zulch garage?

See you in Ceres!