Local rally drivers finish in the top five

Despite a cold and windy weekend, the Highveld Motor Club Electrothread Rally 2017 was a huge success with local racers finishing in the top five.

Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle in the Toyota Etios – Class R2

This past weekend Bronkhorstspruit was the place to be as 37 rally teams took to the dirt to put on the best show of off-road skill you could have seen.

The first three stages of the rally were held on Friday. One of which was a first of its kind and not only tested the drivers but their navigators who had to navigate through the course in the dark of night, assisted only by the spotlights that were fitted moments before the third stage.

Jeandre Nienaber and Robbie Coetzee in their Toyota Tazz – Open Class NR2.

Saturday morning was biting cold but this didn’t deter the teams which were narrowed down to 32 after five breakdowns the previous day.

Nico Nienaber and Gert Janse van Rensburg in their VW Polo – Class R2.

The day was split into eight stages and throughout, the number of teams dwindled as breakdowns and mechanical failures narrowed the teams down again leaving only 19 finishers.

Spectators came out in their numbers and cheered the remaining teams on from the well thought out spectator points throughout the eight stages, which mind you gave them the near best seat in the house save for the insides of the cars.

The last two stages of the rally saw the remaining teams take to the tarmac on the grounds of Willem Prinsloo Museum.

Once again Highveld Motor Club organized a superb event and all involved are thanked for making this event a successful one.

The over all top five teams are:

In first – Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle, Class R2 in a Toyota Etios;
In second – Gergen Fekken and Elvene Coetzee, Class R2 in a Toyota Etios;
In third – Richard Leeke and Henry Kohne, Class R2 in a Ford Fiesta;
In fourth – AC Potgieter and Nico Swartz, Class R2 in a VW Polo;
And fifth – Nico Nienaber and Gert Jansen van Rensburg, Class R2 in a VW Polo;

Nico and Gert débuted their Volkswagen Polo which was purchased the Monday prior to the race and they performed exceedingly well with a ‘green’ car.

Other local racers, Johannes Potgieter and Tommy du Toit finished 13th overall in their R2 Ford Fiesta. Jose de Gouveia and Gert Nienaber crossed the finish line last due to a broken side shaft and a leaking gearbox seal.

Juandre Nienaber and Robbie Coetzee’s Toyota Tazz’s engine failed after the seventh stage which put them out of the game for the remaining stages. Schaan and Sherwin Janse van Rensburg’s Toyota Tazz gave them several problems including a flat tyre, broken wheel studs and the failing of a control arm which lead to them not completing the event.

The weekend of racing ended with everyone enjoying the toast and celebrating a successful HMC Electrothread Rally.
The next round of the National Rally Championship will take place on October 20 and 21 October in Welkom.

Trevor Aingworth

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