Full throttle at Swakop Rally

ACTION PACKED … The Swakop Rally took place over the weekend. Photo: Francois Lottering

The first rally for this season was surely a wake-up call for many teams, as some cars broke down – a few before the event, others right at the start and some in the later stages.

However, this is to be expected at rallies, with cars taking a beating – sometimes harder than expected – due to the terrain, speed and often driver and navigator’s errors. But as the saying goes among the teams, “it is all for the love of the sport”.

This past weekend saw 16 of the entered 18 cars starting due to technical and other mechanical issues.

Wido Bartsch from the Walvis Bay Motor Club (WBMC), one of the organisers of the Swakop Rally in the Erongo region, told Top Revs though the rally was tough on the cars, no incidents or accidents were reported.

“There were a lot of breakages and it was hard on the cars. And since it was the first rally for the year, a lot of cars haven’t been sorted out 100%.”

The rally took place over 10 stages, covering just under 100 kilometres, with the liaison distances between the stages at around 150 kilometres, combining to make the entire rally around 250 kilometres.

All the stages were well planned to ensure good competition between the teams, as well as to test the vehicles’ endurance on the gravel roads and ensure spectators could see and enjoy almost every moment of the Swakop Rally.

While some cars experienced glitches during the second stage, it was from stage 5 that the real rally kicked. Some teams even managed to finish the rally, despite a faulty gearbox, like the Bisschoff brothers, Ewald and Hein, who finished in second place in their class.

Zachary Martin from Walvis Bay managed first place in the S2 class. He told Top Revs it was a great rally for him and his navigator Anique Schoeman.

Martin commended the organisers and sponsors for their commitment, and praised his entire team, including his navigator and technical team, for their unwavering support throughout the rally.

In many cases, the mechanics and technical teams tend to go unnoticed, but they are the ones who ensure cars are in tip-top condition throughout all the stages of the rally.

Unlike factory sponsored cars that have dedicated technical teams to maintain cars, the majority of local rally teams are supported by friends and family, while some teams do not have that luxury and have to get under the bonnet themselves at the service parks.

The battle between Loic Bathfield and Johan Steyn in their Century Racing CR-6 with Jeandre Dippenaar and Gielie Visser in the CR 2 class was epic at times, since both had powerful and well prepared rally cars.

It was Team Bathfield that ensured a victory for his team.

In the CR1 class, it was Ekko Eisenberg and Rassie Rietz with their JAC T8 that ended in first place in their class, followed by the Bisschoff brothers.

The rally started at 10h45 at Steckels Toyota and ended at the Paintball club, where the prize-giving ceremony took place.

The results are as follows:
Sedan S2 Class: Martin and Schoeman (first), Gert Coetzee and Elmarie Barnard (second), Peer Rohm and Peter Steyn (third).

Class S1: De Wet and Lara du Plessis (first).

Bakkie Class CR-2: Bathfield and Steyn (first) and Dippenaar and Visser (second).

CR 1: First – Eisenberg and Rietz (first), the Bisschoff brothers (second).

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