Trackers finally do it!

When Lourens and Nina van Rensburg posted the winning time on the opening stage of the 2014 Fix-a Smash All Tar Rally many considered it game over as the tarmac set-up of the 7Films / LLJ Racing S1600 / S5 Ford Fiesta R2 1600 had the car look the part on course.

Motorsport is unpredictable and though they would indeed win the event after seven entertaining special stages rally pride would take a knock on the chin and the margin of victory would be just three seconds, the same margin by which they won special stage one.

Attempting to pass a slower competitor on special stage three contact saw the Ford crew haemorrhaging 1min30 to the finish of the stage with only fourth gear active. Keenan Sassman and Matthew Köhler started the final stage with their names engraved on the first overall trophy, only falter within sight of the flying finish. The Howard Centre Motors S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 overshot the final chicane and the resultant 360º recovery turn gave 16 seconds to the Fiesta couple who graciously accepted the 3second overall victory.

The sweetest result however went to Danie and Vicki van Niekerk (husband and wife) who not only cleaned-up amongst the Challenge entries, they also became the first closed circuit combination to achieve a faster total time than any rally team! And just to rub salt into the frail rally ego’s Dirk Snr and Dirk Jnr Kruger (father and son) followed the neat E36 class C BMW 325i home just seven seconds later in their ex-Wesbank class B Toyota Corolla 1.8. Double whammy to the rally fraternity!  Cannot say this too loudly as it really hurts, but well done!
 

André George had Robin Benjamin pointing the way in the Flying Fridge S3 Toyota Conquest RSi 1.6 and a consistent outing saw them finish in a fine 3rd Overall. Shaun Jones and Mark Avice du Buisson enjoyed their debut in the ex-Klaassen S5 Subaru Impreza 4x4 Turbo and their only hiccup was on SS3 where they too lost about a minute. Winning SS6 must have them feeling confident about their 2015 prospects. The Klaasen car was rolled at Klein Wolwedans and Shaun rebuilt the empty shell into this very good looking rally challenger. The 2014 WP Rally Champions, John and Weston Peiser, can be expecting a serious challenge in the new year.

Tiaan Rabe and Nico Esterhuyse had a mission to accomplish in the Time 2 Go Travel S2 WBMK VW Golf MkI 1.6 and accomplish they did, winning class S2 and the 2014 WP class S2 Championship by finishing 44seconds ahead of their season long rivals, Justin and Brian Hoskins, in their similar JD Motorsport VW Golf MkI 1.6.

André Cleenwerck and Justin Gay should have been fighting for outright victory but an electrical glitch on SS1 saw them arriving at Malmesbury corner in reverse, losing some two minutes in the process. The very rapid 20v 1.6 S3 VW Polo simply too far down to make an impression on the final result and 7th overall was best they could manage.

Roughly forty years ago Armien Levy was the "wild" and spectacular driver of the Nosarka Tyres Datsun 1600 SS, could actually have been a few of them as rolling was considered part of the learning curve every rally driver had to complete.  Almost disappointing to see how much neater he had become driving the Jive S3 VW Polo 2.0 normally campaigned by his son, Anwar. Dare we mention that Anwar had rolled this car too!

Rule number one in rallying does however clearly state that drivers do not make mistakes and should there be any doubt rule number two simply refers one to rule number one. Thus, no matter what was said afterwards they did not roll, did not go off the road or do anything embarrassing – because the navigator was old and slow! Jokes aside, it was great to see Armien Levy and Derek Jacobs home in 8th spot, without a scratch on the Polo. The real reason rather the fact that Armien sponsors his son and any damage would have been followed by demands for a faster car! There is no truth in the rumour that Innes Murudker was seen practicing in the parking lot of the mall, but keep watching those mirrors Armien?

Rupert and Pieter van Zyl joined forces in the Shaun Jones S4 E36 BMW 328i and though they started cautiously the brothers soon found the Beemer to be to their liking and they eventually finished one second down on the Jive Polo in ninth spot. Expect the brothers to return in 2015 armed with 20v Polo Cup power and six speed gearbox on their Golf MkII. Not to mention the Subaru brakes and independent rear suspension.

Jacques Theron and Francois Erasmus the final finishers in the rally category with their ex-Kobus Roos S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6. Doing the final three stages without brakes not recommended, but rallyists never give up whilst the wheels are still capable of turning!

Clinton Sassman had his 16 year old youngest son navigating in the Howard Centre Motors S4 E30 BMW 325i but a combination of over enthusiastic driving and a little bit of rust from not driving regularly saw the Beemer imitate a Polo by losing it’s rear end against a concrete retaining wall in the old pit complex. BMW’s apparantly need the rear axle to finish rallies and they had a new one fitted to contest SS6 and 7! A father's promise is a father's promise and Clinton promised they would finish the event!
 

Fagerie Isaacs and Tariq Khatib quietly vanished from the scoresheet returning to complete the final four stages in their S2 VW Golf MkI 1.6. Kesevan Naidoo and Randall Marais looked neat and tidy in their Freightmore S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 and held a handy third position overall until the car simply died on them in SS4. The problem was quickly traced to a blown fuse but the reason took a while longer and they too had to Super Rally the final two stages. Rule number one comes to mind here as Henry also failed to finish the final EP rally as navigator for Etienne MALherbe?
 

Paul-Hendrik Franken and Henry Köhne were still celebrating their 2nd position in the SA S1600 categroy with the Manitou Group VW Polo R2 1.6 and that first class win in Bela Bela was still sweet in their ears, but the FR Motorsport S4 E30 BMW 325i refused to go further than SS2 with overheating problems sending them home.

Martin Esterhuyse and Mareli de Lange made their debut in the S3 Toyota Breadvan 1.8 of Harry Giliomee and looked impressive on SS1, unfortunately retiring with a serious oil leak on the differential after SS2. Martin still very capable in the rear wheel driven Corolla. Former overall WP champions, Winston Neethling and Lye Marais another combination who found the old pit complex a little too narrow and the S5 Nissan Sentra 4x4 trimmed down to size by walloping a wall or two before retiring with mechanical problems on SS2.

The neat Castrol S4 Toyota Run X RSi 1.8i of JP Brewis and Mike Mitchell disappointingly did not even complete SS1 before the gearbox cried enough. Clinton Sassman sportingly offered the use of a reserve unit but the team opted to rather come back better prepared in 2015.

On the Challenge side Anwar Levy and Jean-Pierre Jacobs stayed clear of all the obstacles to finish third overall in the Jive class B VW Golf MkI normally campaigned by Erahim Levy in the GTi Challenge championship. Gary Fourie and Shaun Ludwig next in the hard working Sullivans E36 BMW 325i, the same car that finished the gruelling Africa 3 Hour the previous weekend at Killarney!

David van Schalkwyk and Conrad Kolbe designed their own route in the class B VW Golf MkI 1.8 on SS1 but then calmed down to bring the little car home in 5th overall. Francoise Groenewald and Jaco van Zyl as always entertaining enroute to 6th overall in their always attractive class A winning Datsun GX Coupé.

A faulty fuel pump slowed Rishay Moodley and Warren Lawrence on SS3 but then they managed to actually win the final stage in the ex-Innes Murudker class B E30 BMW 318i 1.9 as proof of their true potential. Dexter Bruce and Ernest Page the final finishers in the Challenge category with their class B VW Golf MkI 2.0.

Desmond Harding and Fritz Blom is actually credited with the SS2 overall victory in the class A Chana LDV and managed to complete four stages before the clutch expired with their finishing aspirations. Gavin Cerff and Ernest Roos was tipped as serious challengers for overall victory in the Spur class B VW Golf MkI 2.0 but nobody told the gearbox that they were serious about winning and a box full of neutrals saw them retire after SS3.

Gunter Drotschie and Martin van Staden consider weight restrictions in motorsport a myth, they simply invest in brighter overalls and 6.3 liter V8 power. Their Overpowered and Undertyred class C G&A Promotions classic left hand drive Opel Coupé truly entertaining until the original 1973 sideshafts cried enough on SS3.

Running on a December date undoubtedly influenced the number of entries (27 compared to 40 in 2013) but the event itself lived up to it’s normal spectator friendly appeal and the competitors certainly gave it their all. With the 8Hour “buzzie” race taking place on the karting circuit on the same day there was plenty of action at Killarney.

Pity you missed it!