Home win for Team 467 Witzenberg Motorklub Ceres Toyota Rally WP3 13 May 2017 Starting the 2017 Western Province Rally Championship on a high as the first regional team home on the CCMCC iKapa Reticulation and Flow Klipdale Rally in February contact with a rather solid telephone pole on the CPMCC Swartland Malmesbury Rally on 1 April proved to a rather cruel April fool’s joke.
Etienne du Toit and Patrick Vermaak
With the Supa Mac 467 S3 WBMK Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 neatly rebuilt a solid result was first objective when the team lined up for scrutineering with Gavin Adams at Ceres Toyota early on Saturday 13 May 2017. With documentation and scrutineering completed the pre start holding area inside the vast expanse of Ceres Toyota created a pleasant atmosphere with many familiar faces present. Allan and Zachary Martin down from Walvis Bay with Berto Mostert dropping in for a quick visit from Noordoewer.
As expected the starting order had Richard Slamet and Derek Jacobs leading the 22 car field away at 10h00 in the neat I&S Freight Services 98 S5 Toyota Run X 4×4 2.0 with John and Weston Peiser their only realistic opposition in the Speed Pro Cycling Components 425 S5 Subaru Impreza GT 4×4 Turbo 2.0. Keenan Sassman and Llewellyn van Greunen third off the line in their Howard Centre Motors S3 Toyota Corolla Rxi 1.6 with Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak fourth in the Supa Mac S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6. With the S3 / 1600cc category attracting twelve entries this was going to be a serious struggle as a number of teams showed great potential. Five closely matched S4 teams also held promise of a great tussle whilst S2 also came alive with three entries.
At 5.29km the opening special stage, Northridge 1, included the infamous high yump which truly appeals to spectators and tempts competitors to launch their vehicles into NASA territory. Taking it easy not as easy as it sounds when rally drivers are included in any equation, sixth fastest on SS1 did reflect a measure of sanity over the yump. Dropping only one second to Keenan and Llewellyn was most encouraging. Neither aware of the fact that Llewellyn Jones and Warren Scholtz were clearly in determined mood. Unknown at the time Rupert van Zyl and Marius Rudolph had opted for a spectacular exit by literally mowing down a telephone pole with their Hollandse Motors 405 S4 WBMK VW Golf MkII 2.0, fortunately, without injury.
Quians 1, the longest stage of the event at 18.60km, proved to be everything in promised to be on the DVD and it was John and Weston Peiser that set the fastest time whilst Richard and Derek evaluated an alternative route to the ESS TC. Keenan Sassman and Llewellyn van Greunen discovered that there is only one Yellow Submarine by drowning their Corolla whilst Tiaan Rabe and Herman Mathee suddenly made their presence felt. Team 467 still satisfied with fifth fastest and now very aware of the fact that the brand new shockabsorber had popped a seal. Though slightly shorter at 13.89km special stage 3, Laastedrift, held the greatest potential for damage as many before had experienced. Richard and Derek was in attack mode and recovered from ninth overall to second and whilst John and Weston Peiser had 3min01 in hand they were clearly pushing hard.
A touch too hard as the right front suspension was damaged and in the interest of crew safety the Subaru was withdrawn. Capitalising on the wounded status of the opposition Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman lit up the Sabre Paints 406 S4 VW Polo 2.0 20v to win SS4, the repeat of SS3. Crawling out of the stage Richard Slamet and Derek Jacobs then had to give up their hattrick challenge when the Run X spat out a driveshaft, damaging the steering rack and shockabsorber on the way out. With four stages completed Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak became the target and a slender 1 second lead meant the rally had just started for the Supa Mac 467 S3 WBMK Toyota Corolla Rxi 1.6. Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman suddenly a serious threat in the Sabre Paints 406 S4 CPMCC VW Polo 2.0 20v with the indecently quick “Golf” 404 S2 WBMK VW Golf MkI 1.6 of Tiaan Rabe and JeanPierre Jacobs only two seconds shy in third. Clearly everyone was starting to pick up their pace as it had become evident that times were closely matched and the departure of the 4×4 entries left the overall positions wide open
. Used to doing the chasing Team 467 felt somewhat out of place as the leading car on the road and with no idea as to what the opposition were doing there was no choice but to step up a gear and hope that the shocks last to the end. The Madev 423 S4 WBMK Datsun GX Sedan is supposedly a classic Rear wheel drive entry with an affinity to break down in Ceres, but, Herman Mathee and Ruan Reynders certainly proved this to be a myth as they won Bloubank, the absolutely flatout 7.09km SS5. And just to really rub it in they also claimed success on SS6, Amper Bo another 6.10km flatout dash. Copying the Slamet detour in SS7 did little to ease the pressure for Team 467 and with just the short repeat of SS1 remaining there were ten seconds separating the top three positions.
Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak knew that they were being pushed, but as leading car they had no idea what the actual times were and knew that they would have to complete the final stage without error. Pushing as hard as possible they managed to improve by 32 seconds on their opening time. What would the rest be capable of? Herman Mathee and Ruan Reynders arrived at Parc Ferme with the disappointing news that Charl Strydom and Sakkie Bosman was stuck in SS8 with a suspected broken CV on the Sabre Paints 406 S4 VW Polo 2.0 20v. Then Tiaan Rabe and Jean-Pierre Jacobs arrived in that giant killing Golf 404 S2 WBMK VW Golf MkI 1.6, claiming second overall with the Madev 423 S4 WBMK Datsun GX Sedan completing the WBMK podium lockout for the Ceres Toyota Rally. Overall victory on their “home’ event a very rewarding experience for Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak in the Supa Mac 467 S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6.
A special word of thanks to Voyabex, Supa Mac, Imperial Toyota Cape Gate, Avis Van Rental, Weskaap Lewende Hawe, Wimpy Kenilworth, Stunt Network, Kontra Signs and JC Pro Service. Round 4 will take competitors down memory lane with a return to Riebeek Kasteel on Saturday 1 July 2017. To most of the current entry this will be a new event in a new area and as such sets the scene for another cracking event. P.S. It was most rewarding to see Andy Haigh-Smith (69 year old father of Ashley Haigh-Smith) and Tania Vermaak (21 year old daughter of Patrick and Anette Vermaak) finish their third event in seventh position overall in their immaculately prepared AHS Racing 432 S3 Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600.