Porterville is Calling

With the third round of the 2019 Western Cape Rally Championship heralding the arrival of the Porterville Rally on Saturday 8 June 2019 there is much to speculate on as the area will be unfamiliar to the current crop of regional rallyists and with winter settling in the weather could change the anticipated conditions overnight.

But, this is the true nature of rallying, and everyone involved are accustomed to short notice changes. Just keep an eye on Robert Marle as the Clerk of the Course as his hair changes colour leading into the weekend. (Not that there are too many left). Entries close at 21h00 on Thursday 30 May 2019 when the Entry List will be released during the Numbers Function at the CPMCC Rollbar Clubhouse at the Killarney International Raceway. Late Entries acceptable until 17h00 Tuesday 4 June 2019, but they will obviously not benefit from the early exposure.

A minimum of twelve entries are required for a rally to qualify as a round of the Western Cape Rally Championship and the championship consists of six rounds annually. When, as was the case in 2018, a seventh round is hosted crews may drop one score in points. Compare that to the eight starters required for a round of the South African Rally Championship and minimum of five rounds and it becomes clear why the Western Cape Rally Championship continues to grow in stature.

Porterville is just 145km from Cape Town and beautiful spectator points will allow spectators to view the entire field of cars. Four special stages are to be repeated with two very accessible spectator points allowing safe passage. A spectator guide will become available on the Facebook events page. Please do not litter! The total distance of the event approximately 180km will include 99km of stage distance.

The first team set to leave the Porterville Show Grounds at 09h45 with support from BP Sentra Motors, West Cape Volkswagen, CEJ Plant Hire, Imperial Toyota and is expected to return to the same venue at 16h30. The start sequence for rallying is based on a seeding list whereby each driver status is determined by his individual stage times on every event contested. Safety concerns may see an experienced driver slotted higher for a variety of reasons.

Chances are that Porterville will be attracting a strong twenty car entry. Of the four classes the focus will undoubtedly be on S3 where no less than three drivers currently share the points lead. Making a comeback to the regional scene Cobus Edas have proven that experience certainly helps and the Malmesbury driver has veteran Kesevan Naidoo navigating the ex-Chris de Wit 464 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1600.  

This might not make sense as he is currently seeded in 22nd position as driver should everyone, currently seeded, actually enter the event? Having not rallied for many years his current seeding is determined by results of just three events. Possibly a little misleading if one does not follow the sport closely but drivers do value a good starting position. That said, the best starting position might not be first on the road as varying weather and road conditions may favour a starting position lower down the order. An example may be the fact that the first car on the route may not experience dust, but could be the one sweeping a faster line for the opposition?

433 CCMCC Riyaan Amlay and 456 CCMCC Mustapha Mia share the S3 points lead in similar Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 cars but on the navigator side it is not as clear cut. Everyone will tell you that in order to succeed as a rally team the driver and navigator needs to really work together as a unit. Swopping navigators not highly recommended irrespective of your opinion on Rally Rule Number 1! This rule states that Drivers do not make Mistakes!

Thus, having a navigator is considered something of an enforced necessity. They simply provide balance to the car and their main function is to accept the blame for anything that might go wrong along the way! Most drivers claim to not listen as they are quite capable of reading the lie of the land by themselves.

Strange then how most really good drivers inevitably retain the services of the same sandbag throughout their career! And, should there be any doubt, Rule 2 simply refers to Rule 1. (Please do not take these comments too seriously). Yaseen Amlay second and Ameen Snell currently second and third in class S3 as navigators.

409 CPMCC Julian Calvert / TBA and 438 CPMCC Marius and Angelique Swart share fourth spot with 432 CPMCC / WBMK Andy Haigh-Smith and Tania Vermaak one point further back. Three very different teams as Julian Calvert normally represent consistency with a points finish almost standard for this combination on every event – but they failed to score in the Overberg.

Marius and Angelique are newcomers to rallying with a background in WBMK Gymkhana and 4x4 Off Road. Their bright orange 438 CPMCC VW Golf MkI 2.0 8v never intended to do rallying in and they have been showing consistent improvement with each event started.

Andy Haigh-Smith and Tania Vermaak are the defending class S3 champions, but their season started poorly when Andy had to miss the opening event due to knee surgery and then the AHS Racing “Yellow Submarine” 432 CPMCC / WBMK Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600 threw a tantrum in the Overberg.

Erin Joshua and Terry Croy another new combination trying hard in their former Team George 462 CCMCC S3 Toyota Conquest RSi 1600. Most unfortunately they failed to score points on the opening two events but deserve praise for their marketing efforts as Joshua Rallying will be hosting a Night of old school music at the Royal Cape Golf Club on Friday 28 June 2019 as fundraiser. For R100pp you can enjoy a great evening from 19h30 and assist a talented youngster in sport.

Warren Scholtz and Justin Gay another team who would enjoy a clean run in their 444 CPMCC VW Polo 2.0. Missing a few names here? Indeed, twice Western Cape Rally Champions, Lourens and Nina van Rensburg have put their R2 Ford Fiesta 1600 up for sale and are in the process of preparing an N12 Subaru Impreza WRX 4x4 Turbo for action. M Sport chassis 001 still safely parked at ABACA whilst Ashley Haigh-Smith plays with interesting off road space-framed cars.

2017 Western Cape Rally Champions, Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak, on a somewhat enforced sabbatical for the season whilst the 467 WBMK Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 gathers dust without reaching any gravel. 402 S3 Shaheen Amlay, 435 Clint Lingeveldt and 422 S3 Faizel Davids currently all missing in action.

However, 469 S3 Paul van Wyk, is planning a comeback in the acciDent Guru VW Golf MkI 2.0 8v and everyone would be well advised to keep an eye on car 454 S3. Officially, Owen Jones and Michelle Taylor, will be making their debut in the ex-Llewellyn Jones S3 CPMCC VW Polo 2.0 and based on their unofficial first appearance this combination is undoubtedly going to ruffle a few feathers. Rumour also has it that 415 S3 Darren van Greunen and Quinton Swarts might also be back in their rapid Toyota.

Ismaeel Davids and Yusuf Ganief jumped up to the ex-Jean-Pierre Damseaux S2000 Extreme Contracting 431 CCMCC S5 Toyota Run X 4x4, but is also busy building the meanest S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 ever. Currently leading the overall points standings they certainly cannot rest on their laurels as Llewellyn Jones and Christophé Pichon proved their pace in the CEJ Plant Hire S5 CPMCC Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 4x4 2.0 and the latter combination simply have to stay ahead in order to close the gap to the Toyota crew.

An interesting new development in class S5 is the 1000cc Turbo 125 VW Polo of Paul-Hendrik Franken. Thoroughly tested and genuinely impressive in performance this car offers a cost effective option for teams with long term aspirations in the sport of rallying. Just maybe somebody will consider building a number of cars (making them even more affordable), then providing a mobile workshop / spares support (centralised service parks) and youngsters could potentially arrive and drive without the need for a service crew? Not as far fetched as it may sound.

Currently the seeding list features Llewellyn Jones and Shaun Jones ahead of John Peiser but one could understand Shaun wanting to support his son, Owen, on this occasion whilst John Peiser, 3x Western Cape Drivers Champion, will be photographing game in some exotic location on the same weekend. Winston Neethling and Lyle Marais should enjoy the new terrain in their ex-Hannes Grobler 428 S5 Nissan Sentra 4x4 2.0.

Almost resident visitor from Namibia, Oswaldo Mendes, still awaiting delivery of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, and it is rumoured that Alan Martin might just be down for the Swartland round in his new Skoda R5.

Keenan Sassman and Randall Marais in the Howard Centre Motors 413 S4 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.8 have really shown great form this season and one can expect them to lead the class battle in Porterville. Derick and John Clift got their debut as son and father all wrong in Darling but showed good form in the Overberg.

Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman gave their beautifully rebuilt A7 Sabre Paints 406 S4 VW Polo 2.0 16v it’s debut in the Overberg, and promptly put it on it’s side! Repainting the scratches not much of an issue and this car should start showing it’s true potential again.

The ECW Engineering 418 S4 Toyota Hilux 2.0 of Derick Clift and Marius Rudolph (rumour says he will be replacing John Clift as navigator) looks and sounds healthy but they will have to be very aware of the returning 423 S4 Datsun GX Sedan 2.0 of Herman Mathee and Ruan Reynders. Herman super fit thanks to a serious Mountain Biking campaign and Datto having benefitted from some more clever engineering. They are shaking off the cobwebs having been out of rallying action for a year but rest assured, Datto is coming. Anthony Connelly and Lyle Marais also making a return in their 429 CCMCC S4 VW Polo 2.0 8v.

Trevor Hodges and Ian Thebus can be another surprise in the orange CCMCC 421 S4 VW Golf GTi 2.0 16v whilst Paul Emmanuel and Robin Benjamin will be seeking a morale boosting result in their 450 CCMCC S4 VW. Tiaan Rabe and Nico Esterhuyse as always indecently quick in their Time2Go Travel 404 S2 WBMK VW Golf MkI 1.6 but they only do the occasional event which leaves the class war wide open.

Gareth and Gill Vernon could not have started their rallying careers better as they currently lead the class points log in their VW Golf MkI 1.6. Johann and Petra Zulch missed the Overberg event and should be back from their international travels as the team to beat in Porterville with the Ceres Toyota backed 439 WBMK S2 Ford Escort 1600 Sport.

Another question received is why cars are numbered with three digits. The first digit denotes the region – the Western Cape being 4.

With the Cape Peninsula Motorcycle and Car Club 109 years young in 2019 they have certainly stood the test of time as the second oldest motoring club in South Africa.

Please: Whatever you take with you whilst spectating on this event, remove it with yourself and leave the properties involved clean and tidy. Littering is the greatest threat to the sport of rallying!