Team 418 - Living a Dream

Going back to 1972 John and Cecile Clift started rallying in Natal before moving to Paarl, joining the Wellington Motor Club in 1973. Contesting club rallies until 1975 and navigating for amongst others Addie Vervaart, Gawie Steyn and Ted Venter. Ted was deaf and they developed their own sign language, which apparently worked quite well! Does anyone else have any recollection of the Wellington Motor Club?

With Bobby Twiss driving they earned a much valued Gold medal award as the first privateers home in class C of the Datsun International Rally under the Hella SA banner. Then the family Clift moved to Worcester to be closer to the School for the Deaf as their daughter required special attention, but whilst living in Worcester there were opportunities to navigate for Nic Coetzee, Johan Sauerman and Deon Moore before reluctantly leaving the sport in 1986.

Then in 2007 John and Derick Clift returned as service crew and spectators and whilst present in Namibia to spectate on the 2013 Total Tara Rally they were commandeered to do 0 Car duty when the appointed crew failed to pitch and they enjoyed this so much they immediately retired the business ACW Engineering Toyota Hilux 2.0 with 364 000km on the clock to build an adventure vehicle. Just for fun they entered the 2014 Total Tara and after three tough days they came home first in class. They repeated the excercise in 2015 and managed a superb 7th Overall and 2nd in class. John also acquiring Terra Firma in the Parc Fermé area for good measure, but that is another story for another day!

During 2014 – 2016 the Hilux was regularly present as either 0 or 00 on Western Cape Rallies and eventuallly the decision was to rebuild the Hilux to qualify as proper entry on regional events. They tackled the night & day event in PE during 2016 to test the vehicle and have surprised friend and foe in 2017 with consistently good results on each of the five rounds to date in the 2017 Western Cape Rally Championship.

In fact their “fun” approach have now placed them second overall in the team standings (Individually John Clift second as driver and Derick Clift third as navigator) and they share the class S4 lead with none other than the immacculately prepared Sabre Paints A7 / S4 VW Polo 2.0 20v of Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman.

A truly commendable feat for a 1994 vintage ACW Engineering 418 WBMK S4 Toyota Hilux 2.0 driven by a 66 year old enthusiast who simply never gives up!
A privilege to see the father and son combination on each event and they will undoubtedly be enjoying every minute of their “home” rally, the 22-23 September 2017 Overberg Grand Prix around Caledon.