Team 432 gaining momentum

If the true value of a sportman is determined by what he has contributed towards a particular sport then Andy Haigh-Smith deserves to be amongst the very best in rallying. Respect is earned, not commanded, and over more years than he cares to remember this 69 year old have set an example to all who have taken the time to notice.

Team 432 dominated the opening event at Klipdale from both ends. Andy Haigh-Smith topping the age log at a spritely 69 years whilst debutant navigator, Tania Vermaak, could only add 21 years to the AHS Racing statistics. Officially it was the only way that Andy could avoid having the oldest combined age in his car! The yellow submarine had been rebuilt to represent the fresh legs for the 2017 season and though the nerves were visible in the suicide seat they opened their account with a very respectable result on the iKapa Reticulation and Flow Klipdale Rally.

Round two, the CPMCC Malmesbury Rally, unfortunately saw a recurrence of their clutch problem and they were forced to retire shortly after having passed the stricken Team 467 Toyota. Another lesson learnt as Tania saw the OK board in action. Then it was the Ceres Toyota Rally and another very good performance saw the team finding their rythm in the legendary Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600. Round 4 unfortunately saw the yellow submarine succumb to engine overheating maladies, but the team gained confidence as their pace was picking up.

And then came the Freightmore All Tar Rally at the Killarney International raceway with no DVD or pace notes to prepare for the event. Fortunately the couple of years experience as gymkhana driver and navigator quickly saw Tania adapt to the foreign looking tulip instructions by treating the tarmac format as a gymkhana on steroids and once the layout of the route had been transferred into reality Team 432 were back in action.

With the All Tar being the All Tar there had to be drama and their first stage was shortlived as the 444 S3 VW Polo 2.0 of Warren Scholtz and Michelle Taylor brought out the red flags in the old pitlane. Another new experience for the new navigator and the amended times saw them back for SS2, which they fortunately completed without mishap. SS3 saw the Mitsubishi lose it’s power steering and at Killarney that is not good news for youngsters, never mind 69 year olds. Unfortunately this would lead to a 2min 25 penalty as Ashley Haigh-Smith was forced to get his hands dirty for Dad!

With the steering sorted they completed SS4 and SS5 without drama and then they even managed a overshoot on SS6. On SS7 they found the road blocked after someone had tangled with a chicane and no yellow flag or effort by marshals to clear the road had them eventually moving the obstructions with their car. The popular Super Specials started with a very nervous navigator, but it was all smiles at the end of a very demanding day.

Equaling their best result of seventh overall there was cause for celebration as they finally made the podium positions with 3rd in class S3. Undoubtably the toughest class in which to compete in the Western Cape with at least 13 teams present and capable and there are more scheduled to make their debut in 2018.

Team 432 now preparing for NRC2 on the final event of the 2017 season, the Overberg Grand Prix on 22-23 September 2017.