Tsumeb rally lives up to billing

NO HOLDING BACK … Richard Himmel and Adolf Botes in their Toyota Etios.

The second leg of the high-speed Tsumeb rally over the weekend began with 14 cars lined up in front of the Minen Hotel, where the event started and ended.

The nine stages, covering a distance of around 100km, threw everything at the teams, from tight corners, washed away road surfaces, and jumps – all contributing to a spectacular rally for participants and spectators alike.

Teams once again entered in both the Sedan S1 and S2 class, as well as the Challenge Bakkie class CR1 and CR2.

This time around, the rally was held around Tsumeb town, unlike last year’s event which stretched from Grootfontein to Tsumeb, putting extra strain on the vehicles as temperatures soared above 40 degrees.

Tsumeb Motor Club’s Jaco Haasbroek said the rally was organised over several weeks to ensure the best routes were utilised to ensure tough competition.

Top Revs experienced the various stages when driving with Haasbroek to get acquainted with the routes, conditions and distances to be covered. The verdict is clear, both the driver and navigator had to communicate throughout the rally to avoid any incidents that could have cost valuable time or caused damage to vehicles.

Thus, the persistence and experience of Richard Himmel and Adolf Botes in their Toyota Etios in the S1 Class, saw them garnering home crowd support. Team Himmel did not hold back from the start, giving youngster Zachary Martin and navigator Angelique Schoeman a run for their money, as both teams were determined to scoop the title.

At the end, it was Himmel and Botes that took first place, followed by Martin and Schoeman.

In the CR2 class, Lady Luck did not play along when the favourite, Jeandre Dippenaar and Gielie Visser in their Toyota Hilux, who were forced to retire after losing two tyres in the seventh stage.

“I do not know what happened, we struck a tree stump and around five kilometres further, the tyres went flat. My navigator and I worked hard to make a comeback, but seems to me this was our bad luck rally,” Dippenaar said after the race.

This left it open for Willie Schoeman and Chanè Havenga to take first place in CR1, followed by Ekko Eisenberg and Horazio ‘Rassie’ Rietz in second place.

Sportsmanship was displayed at the highest level throughout the entire rally, and those who don’t get the recognition they deserve are the marshals and time keepers, who ensure each team sticks to the rules.

Roger !Gaeb, in charge of the officials manning the start and stop points at the various stages, said their role ensures a smooth rally and no “cutting of corners”.

“It takes us quite a time to set up everything, and that is why we have a recce run a day prior to the event to familiarise ourselves with the stages,” !Gaeb said.

These guys and girls have to face the sun, wind and dust while keeping record of each start and end at the designated points.

The navigator also plays a vital part, tasked with guiding the driver through every stage at maximum speed and ensuring minimum mistakes and damage to the vehicle.

Overall, it is a team sport and each member of the team can determine a win or lose. Even the technical teams at the set service parks have the mammoth task of ensuring vehicles are fit when leaving the pits.

Himmel, after quite a long absence from the sport, described the rally as well organised.

When quizzed on his possible participation in the upcoming Tara Rally, Himmel was secretive.

“That, we will see,” he said of the oldest and most popular rally in the country’s history, dating back to 1969.

Haasbroek acknowledged the support of Bank Windhoek, the Minen Hotel and Power Line Africa as the sponsors, alongside the Namibian Police, who assisted with traffic and crowd control, while M+Z Commercial vehicles once again came on board to provide a car carrier to ferry some cars to Tsumeb and back to Windhoek.

The results are as follows:
S1 class: Himmel and Botes (first), Pieter Greef and JP Robinson (second), De Wet du Plessis and Morne Bouwer (third).
S2 Class: Martin and Schoeman (first), Gert Coetzee and Elmarie Bernhard (second), Team Coetzee just made it to the end when the car overheated.
CR1: Willie Schoeman and Chanè Havenga (first), Eisenberg and Rietz (second).
CR2: Werner Bartsch and Madeleine Koegelenberg managed to complete nine stages.
For now, all attention and energy goes to the upcoming Tara Rally next month.

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