Richa D adds Swartland!

Saturday 1 April 2017 dawned dry and dusty in the Swartland but despite the desperate need for water in the Western Cape an air of optimism had everyone anticipating an exciting second round of the Western Cape Special Stage Rally Championship. After all, the Cape Peninsula Motorcycle and Car Club is the second oldest motor club in South Africa and the Swartland will always be the spiritual home of the sport in the Cape.

Just six stages or 87km of competitive driving, but the opening three stage loop certainly proved extremely challenging if one looked at the attrition rate and even the condition of the cars in Parc Ferme. Sportingly Richard Slamet (WMC) and Derek Jacobs (CCMC) contested the opening two stages minus power steering in their I&S Freight Services S5 Toyota Run X 4x4 before reachng Service Park A for much needed attention.

Leading with apparent ease was Allan Martin (WMC) and Carl Peskin (CPMCC) in their J&P Hydraulic S5 VW Polo 4x4 but just as it seemd that the Walvis Bay ace would win unchallenged the ex-Hergen Fekken VW developed a misfire that not even Stephen Bothma could resolve midday. Though the pace of the Polo was truly impressive their event was over.

Shaun Jones and Craig Gray valiantly defended local honour in their S5 CPMCC Subaru Impreza WRX 4x4 Turbo 2.0 but an invitation for a braai with Mossie Mostert at Bottelfontein after SS5 had them set the turbo alight and forget about SS6. Oswaldo Mendes (WBMK) and Tinus Malan (WBMC) for once seemed to encounter little problems enroute to a well deserved second position overall in their Sky-Way S5 Subaru Impreza Sti 2.0 Turbo.

There was however no stopping of the Richard Slamet (WMC) and Derek Jacobs (CCMCC) I&S Freight Services S5 Toyota Run X 4x4 as they cruised to a deserved second consecutive victory. To finish first one first have to finish and they certainly ticked all the boxes enroute.

With only a single second separating the S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 entries of Ettiene du Toit / Patrick Vermaak and Keenan Sassman / Llewellyn van Greunen after SS1 the scene was set for another almighty tussle but then the Howard Centre Motors CCMCC Corolla encountered gear selection problems in SS2 and conceded 1min17 seconds to their opponents in the Supa Mac WBMK Corolla. Unfortunately the latter combination then came unstuck on a !Dip.R1 which unfolded as three nasty consecutive compression dips and a immovable telegraph pole which somehow succeeded to turn the Corolla into a (almost) Conquest.

Instant retirement the result for the Supa Mac version and with their names almost engraved on the 1st in S3 trophies the Howard Centre Corolla then retired with a broken CV on the penultimate stage.

Winston Neethling and Lyle Marais completed SS4 before retiring their X-Hannes Grobler S5 CCMCC Nissan Sentra 4x4 with the centre gearbox minus oil. Having done a very entertaining nose-down ass-up on the same squence of dips in SS3 the Amlay Motorsport S4 CCMCC Toyota Run X 1.8 was retired after SS4 with electrical problems. Llewellyn Jones and Michelle Taylor looked set to reach Parc Ferme without mishap but a broken rosejoint saw them grind to a halt in their S3 CPMCC VW Polo 1.6. Ismaeel Davids and Quinton Swarts also calling it quits after SS5 in their Extreme Contractors S3 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 having broken a CV.

Armien Levy and Jean-Pierre Jacobs retired at the midday point with their Jive S3 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1600. Piet Bakkes and Kesevan Naaidoo parked their acciDent Guru S3 WBMK VW Golf MkI 2.0 near the scene of the du Toit / Vermaak incident and though it seemd like they had cooked the motor the effect of fuel fumes inside the car had Kes looking overly friendly once fresh air hit his lungs. Warren Scholtz and Justin Gay another combination that could not repeat their good Klipdale performance when the 444 CPMCC VW Polo cried enough after just two special stages.

Andy Haigh-Smith (CPMCC) and Tania Vermaak (WBMK) made quite an impression with the refreshed “Yellow Submarine” AHS Racing S3 Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600 looking great and consistent as ever, until the clutch cried enough in SS3. Shaheen Amlay and Yusuf Ganief retiring their new Amlay Motorsport S3 CCMCC Toyota Tazz 1.6 after SS2 with serious overheating problems whilst Ian Long and Brian Hoskins only started their event on SS3 after the wiring loom was damaged in SS1 and the acciDent Guru S2 VW Golf MkI 1.5 had to enter under super rally rules. Only to retire after SS3 with more issues.

Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman eventually coming home as the 1st WP Team, 1st Class S4, 1st CPMCC crew and 1st front wheel drive in the always immaculately prepared Sabre Paints S4 CPMCC VW Polo 2.0 20v. Having Petter Solberg, 2003 World Rally Drivers Champion and 2014-15 World Rally X champion drive the Polo during the 16 March 2017 media launch at Killarney just the incentive needed to rejuvenate this team.

Herman Mathee and Ruan Reynders trailed the Polo by just 16 seconds in the  Madev S4 WBMK Datsun GX Sedan after another very impressive drive which also included a overshoot when exuberance saw the driver getting pedals and feet mixed up. Could it have cost a class victory? Never the less their best overall position to date, 2nd WBMK team home and 1st rear wheel drive enough to keep them happy leading up to their ultimate challenge, Ceres on 13 May 2017. For some unknown reason this combination have as yet not succeeded in completing Ceres with a clean run and good result. Watch them this time around!

Riyaan Amlay and Rafick Mia almost chucked an easy class S3 victory away when they attacked the railway line on SS6 and removed much of the front end of their normally very neat Ramlay Construction Toyota Corolla RXi 1600. Arriving at the Parc Ferme with leaking radiator and no lights there were obvious relief in retaining the class victory.

Paul van Wyk and Divan de Goede finished in an encouraging sixth overall with their acciDent Guru S3 WBMK VW Golf MkI 2.0 after a testing period leading up to the event. A burglary at their premises eliminated six years of data and left the team with many late nights preparing their cars. For Divan it was a last event as bachelor with the big date awaiting him on 8 April.

Trevor Hodges and Ian Thebus also enjoying a good run enroute to seventh overall in the well known orange S4 CCMCC VW Golf MkIII 2.0 whilst Rupert van Zyl and Marius Rudolph celebrated their first gravel rally in three years with eighth overall in Die Hollandse Motors S4 WBMK VW Golf MKII 2.0. John and Derick Clift ninth overall in “Daai Bakkie” S4 WBMK Toyota Hilux and tenth overall going to Tariq Khatib and Robyn Isaacs in their freshly restored and neat looking S2 CCMCC VW Golf MkI 1.6. Final finishers Julian Calvert and Terry Croy in their neat S3 CCMCC VW Golf GTi 2.0.

Had there still been a Club Award based on the combined total of the top three finishers from a specific club the Witzenberg Motorklub would have certainly claimed the accollade. With five WBMK teams in the top ten, WBMK Chairman, Pierre van der Westhuizen, had plenty of reason to smile. Team 421 adding the superb Teng Tools impact gun award provided by Tool Importers (Donovan Wolhuter) to their success on the day. Trophies handed over by Mrs Simone Janse van Rensburg, MSH Services during a most enjoyable prizegiving at the Malmesbury Rugby Clubhouse.

The presence of the Namibian competitors really raising the standards and it was again stressed that their presence are relevant only with respect event results and not regional championship points. A topic that have enjoyed much discussion is the fact that some of these visiting drivers are utilising local navigators who qualify for points in the region and could split teams in championship positions at the end of the year. It would indeed be a pity if this happens as rallying is after all a team effort.

The Ceres Toyota Rally follows as round 3 of the 2017 Western Province Rally Championship and another humdinger event is anticipated.