When a Subaru grows wings!

Who would have thought that a little town nestled at the foot of the Olifants River Mountains would prove to be a brilliant host for the third round of the Western Capa Rally Championship on Saturday 8 June 2019? With the sulpher yellow Disa only found in a single colony in the town of Porterville powerful summer thermals attract paragliding enthusiasts and the Dasklip Pass will take you to the Groot Winterhoek Reserve and now, the annual Porterville Rally.

With the support of BP Sentra Motors, F.T.Services Porterville, West Cape Volkswagen, Imperial Toyota, CEJ Plant Hire and Porterville Tourism the Cape Peninsula Motorcycle and Car Club (the second oldest motor club in South Africa, founded in 1910) negotiated a brilliant 8 stage (97.96km, 79.78 liaison section  and total distance of 178km event at the foot of the Voorberg. Four testing specials stages were to be completed twice and these would prove testing indeed.

Llewellyn Jones and Christophé Pichon started as favourites for overall victory but with no service between the opening two special stages it soon became apparent that all was not well with the CEJ Plant Hire 434 CPMCC S5 Subaru Impreza Turbo 2.0 4x4. The gear lever  somehow became dislodged and Llewellyn was pretty much forced to drive in whichever gear he was fortunate to select at any given time.

Ismaeel Davids and Yusuf Ganief comfortable leaders after specials stage two in the S2000 specification ID Paving 431 CCMCC S5 Toyota Run X 2.0 4x4. But, this is rallying, and in rallying circumstances change almost continuously. Special stage one providing much drama when Shaun Jones and Jason Thorpe made contact with a gate post in their Advanced Asphalting 424 S4 BMW 328i and though the John Deere camouflaged Beemer could continue after some emergency repairs it left a unwanted surprise for following crews.

The loose rail in the cattlegrid, now turned towards the approaching cars, led to the retirement of the normally reliable Madev 423 S4 Datsun GX Sedan 2.0 of Herman Mathee and Ruhan Reynders. The errand rail damaged the differential casing as well as the rear suspension and though they would complete special stage two the crew had no choice but to withdraw from the event. Warren Scholtz and Justin Gay losing two tyres after contact with the same rail, but the 444 S4 VW Polo could continue.

Cobus Edas and Kesevan Naidoo came into the event as the class S3 points leaders in their ex-Chris de Wit Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 and though confident of their chances they would be back at the Porterville Showgrounds by the end of the opening special stage when the engine dropped a valve.

Repeating the 15km Middelpos and 16.48km Poskantoor special stages brought about many dramatic changes as the routes proved almost perfect thanks to the recent rains. No concerns about road order as there was just enough rain to eliminate dust and marble presence, increasing the pace almost without anyone noticing – except for the rally cars that were showing early signs of strain.

The very friendly farming community really welcomed the rally to their area, but man, can these guys built contours! Hard landings were the order of the day and the second stage had an additional surprise in the shape of a pretty decent water crossing. Do you take the cautious approach or the flat-out approach? Suffice to say some tried both and succeeded whilst some found this to be their well, waterloo.

Riyaan and Yaseen Amlay saw their positive start to the 2019 season evaporate with the electronics on their Ramlay Builders 433 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6. Crossing without misfortune on special stage two they tried the flat-out approach on special stage four. The front bumper and number plate reached the opposite shore before the car did and they spluttered to the top of the hill before retiring from the event. Ismaeel Davids en Yusuf Ganief crossed with caution on both occasions but a faulty fuel injector on the ID Paving 431 CCMCC S5 Toyota Run X 2.0 4x4 saw them drop to fourth overall by the time crews reached the midway mark after special stage four. Keenan Sassman and Randall Marais was driving with maturity and found themselves second overall after SS4 in their Barno’s 413 CCMCC S4 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.8 whilst Paul-Hendrik Franken and Matt Köhler clung onto third spot despite having had the gear selectors on their Franken Motorsport 125 WPMC S5 VW Polo Vivo GT Turbo 1.0 three cylinder break in special stage two.

This new concept of rallying truly an interesting package as the 3 cyliner engine sounds pretty much like a DKW on steroids, but the car has proven extremely reliable with some 3500km of special stage testing – and it is quick too. Breaking the linkages literally the first ailment suffered on the new car, fortunately quick to repair.

Newcomers, Gareth and Gill Vernon, sadly had to retire their 459 CPMCC S2 VW Golf MkI 1.6 with a broken tie-rod end on SS3 whilst Kevin Calvert and Brian Hoskins managed to remove the left rear suspension from their similar 436 WPMC S2 VW Golf MkI 1.6 on SS3. Faizel Davids and Lloyd Brady looked promising until their neat MFD Paving 422 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6i covered itself in steam in the middle of the water crossing on SS2 and then cooled the engine on SS3 by putting two conrods through the block. Ouch!

Anthony Connelly and Lyle Marais also lost time through the water and the Connelly Engineering 429 CCMCC S4 VW Polo would disappear after SS4. The much anticipated return of Mike Nathan and Clint Lingeveldt in the D&S Motorsport 417 CPMCC / CCMCC S4 Toyota Tazz 1.8 proved worthy as Mike certainly did not hold back. Attacking the water crossing with such force that the front indicators popped out on the first attempt and on the second the little car developed two interesting fountains on the nose. Sadly an Inner CV was damaged on SS5 and the lack of lubricant eventually saw the Limited Slip Differential cry enough.

The second half of the event saw the competitors tackling the 10.01km Stoffel SS5 – 7 and 7.49km Eikenhof SS6 – 8. If there was any doubt as to whether the local community was in support of this new event one only needed to view attendance at the airfield spectator points. With the Olifants River Mountains as backdrop it simply had to be one of the most beautiful settings for a rally and the weather was absolutely perfect.

Not that Llewellyn Jones and Christophé Pichon had any time to appreciate the view as they set the fastest time on six consecutive stages to take an emphatic victory in the CEJ Plant Hire 434 CPMCC S5 Subaru Impreza 2.0 Turbo 4x4. Ismaeel Davids and Yusuf Ganief recovering to second overall in the ID Paving 431 CCMCC S5 Toyota Run X 2.0 4x4 with the Franken Motorsport 125 WPMC S5 VW Polo Vivo GT Turbo 1.0 of Paul-Hendrik Franken and Matt Köhler completing the podium positions on the very first Porterville Rally.

Mustaph Mia and Ameen Snell drove the rally of their careers to finish a mighty fourth in their 456 CCMCC S3 Toyota Tazz 1.6 whilst Keenan Sassman and Randall Marais had to accept a disappointing fifth overall after they ran into gearbox maladies on special stage five and then had to complete special stage six before reaching their service crew for repairs. Derick Clift had Marius Rudolph as navigator in the ACW Engineering 418 CPMCC S4 Toyota Hilux 2.0 and the new combination lost valuable seconds on both water crossings before reaching the finish ins fine sixth place overall.

Paul van Wyk and Tiaan Rabe combined their driving skills to bring the freshly rebuilt acciDent Guru 467 WBMK S3 VW Golf MkI 2.0 8v home in seventh overall position. Time lost on special stage two ruining their aspirations of a higher position, but they were one of the most spectacular combinations present. Finishing their third event was extremely satisfying to relative nemcomers to the sport of rallying, Marius and Angelique Swart, and their EPR 4x4 438 CPMCC S3 VW Golf MkI 2.0 8v looked ready for another eight stages in position number eight. Shaun Jones and Jayson Thorpe created havoc in special stage two by running over a steel post but when they managed to keep the bright green Advanced Asphalting 424 CPMCC S4 BMW 328i from acting like a John Deere tractor they actually posted some very decent stage times. Ninth overall not based on pace. Expect Shaun to return in his own Subaru come July!

Warren Scholtz and Justin Gay somehow survived the opening two stage and then kept their noses clean to become the final classified finishers in tenth overall with their 444 CCPMCC S3 VW Polo 2.0 8v. Traditionally the final finishers also the recipients of the Wooden Spoon awards.

Much was expected from the official debut of 17 year old Owen Jones and Michelle Taylor in their CEJ Plant Hire 454 CPMCC S3 VW Polo 2.0 8v and though their times certainly impressed they were forced to retire from the event – completing SS8 under Super Rally rules. Erin Joshua and Terry Croy another relatively new team to suffer time lost in the SS2 and 4 water crossing and they too would finish under Super Rally rules in their 462 CCMCC S3 Toyota Tazz 1.6. Great to see the enthsusiastic support this young team enjoys on the local events. Trevor Hodges and Ian Thebus only completed the second half of the event under Super Rally rules in the 421 CCMCC S4 VW Golf GTi III 2.0 16v.

Compliments to Robert Marle and William Thorpe on a pleasant, compact, event that certainly proved tougher than anticipated. Behind the scenes many deserve appreciation and apologies if you are not mentioned specifically. Craig Gray and Martin Esterhuyse Jnr did duty as the 0 and Sweep vehicle whilst Jeanine Gray did the Scoring of the event. And those fortunate to feature in the final result were only too happy to receive their accolades from Sue-Mare de Vries.  

Twenty two starters for the Porterville Rally was encouraging and it is anticipated that round four, the WPMC Tarmac Rally at the Killarney International Raceway on Saturday 13 July 2019 could enjoy even better support as circumstances beyond their control saw a number of teams absent in Porterville.

Thank you to all for the assistance in keeping spectator areas litter free. The good news is that Porterville 2020 is already confirmed!