Jones and Pichon dominate CEJ Plant Hire Rally

Cyril and Lynette Jones could not have chosen a more rewarding moment to step in as title sponsors of a round of the Western Cape Rally Championship than the CEJ Plant Hire Rally Malmesbury.

Rain, wonderful rain, and more wonderful rain, saw the dams making excellent progress and the stock of wet weather tyres diminish as the persistent rain would last till Friday. Saturday dawned chilly, but in beautiful sunshine, and the 21 teams entered faced the reality of standing water and saturated soil. Perfect conditions if you were seated in the comfort of anything with 4x4 traction.

Untouchable would be an acceptable description of Llewellyn Jones and Christophé Pichon in their CEJ Plant Hire 434 CPMCC S5 Subaru Impreza WRX STi 4x4 Turbo 2.0 as they won all eight stages enroute to a brilliant, and dominant, victory on what could now be termed their home event. Their third victory of the season and given their current form they have now grown crosshairs on the back of their Scoobie as the team to beat.

Ismaeel Davids and Yusuf Ganief almost failed to start the event as preparation of the ID Paving 431 CCMCC S5 Toyota Run X 4x4 saw the team burning midnight oil, without much progress being made. A desperate visit to Colin Porter saw the team arrive, later than planned, in Malmesbury and though they set second fastest stage times on six of the stages it was clear that the Toyota was not running perfectly. Fortunately the extreme conditions favoured the 4x4 cars and the results.

John and Weston Peiser had no intentions to come out guns ablaze in the championship leading Speed Pro Cycling Components 425 WPMC S5 Subaru Impreza GT 4x4 Turbo 2.0 as they simply needed to stay close to the Davids / Ganief Toyota to protect their championship challenge with one round in reserve. Ironically they retired from the REACT Nigh Rally Malmesbury earlier this year with a differential problem and encountered a similar handling problem. Third place however, quite satisfactory for them on this occasion.

Keenan Sassman and Randall Marais proved the wisdom of legendary Dirkie Kruger when they arrived in Malmesbury with an 1800 powerplant fitted to their Howard Centre Motors 513 CCMCC S4 Toyota Corolla. Given the smile on the talented young driver face the concept works better than anticipated and not even a burnt out radiator fan with two stages remaining could spoil their confident drive to fourth overall.

Fifth overall was just reward for Andy Haigh-Smith and Tania Vermaak in the AHS Racing 432 CPMCC / WBMK Mitsubishi Lancer GT1600 after a tough day in the office. Recovering from ill health Ashley Haigh-Smith was on standby to drive the Yellow Submarine if required and the now infamous crossroad instruction on Special Stage led to suspension damage when the steering was damaged and an argument with a rather solid concrete wall had the service team working flat-out to keep the team in the event. The Yellow Submarine fortunately still proved immune to water and though looking a little worse for wear the result was certainly well deserved.

John and Derick Clift another combination that enjoyed mixed fortunes on the day. The ACW Engineering 418 WBMK S4 Toyota Hilux 2.0 sounded great on arrival having been treated to a visit to Dynotech and the father and son combination certainly had the correct vehicle present – plaas bakkie vir plaas paaie! They too had a joint rattling experience on the SS2 instruction and then the Hilux picked up an uncurable misfire in the deep water encountered on SS5/6 which hampered their progress. Sixth overall however still a very respectable result.

The announcement by John Clift (67 years young) that he intends stepping down as driver at the end of the season certainly came as a disappointment but the good news is that the Hilux will continue with Derick Clift behind the wheel. John will still do the final Western Cape event in Riebeek Kasteel on 6 October 2018 and quite fittingly he will call halt after the Total 50th Tara Rally Namibia 8-10 November 2018. What other event can claim a 50 year pedigree!

Faizel Davids and Terry Croy also showed signs of SS2 contact but brought the 422 CCMCC S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6 home in seventh spot overall whilst the ever consistent Lulu, the 409 CCMCC S3 VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 8v of Julian Calvert and Marius Rudolph, claimed the final finisher accolade in eighth overall. Matt Köhler and Wendy Mitchell completed seven of the eight stages to finish reach Parc Fermé under Super Rally Rules in the Crest Max 401 CCMCC S1 VW Golf MkI 1.4i.

Kevin Calvert (father of motorcycle racer André) and Brian Hoskins showed signs of a rather rough return to rallying after an absence of one calender year but the duo were happy with both the performance of the car and crew and one could expect the 436 WPMC S2 VW Golf MkI 1.5 to return stronger on round seven. Shaheen and Ibraheem Amlay were heading for a good result in the Amlay Motorsport 402 CCMCC S4 Toyota Run X RSi 1.8i until something punctured their fuel tank on SS5.

Clint and Lloyd Lingeveldt also made a welcome return in the neat 435 S3 CCMCC Toyota Conquest 1.6i but they fell foul of the slippery condition and beached their car SS4. Warren Scholtz and Justin Gay disappeared after SS1 with the 444 CPMCC S4 VW Polo 2.0 16v returning home on a trailer.

Ettiene du Toit and Patrick Vermaak suffered a broken radiator on the SS2 crossroad instruction which spoiled an encouraging start for the Team 467 WBMK S3 Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6i combination. Fourth fastest though SS1 they were relishing a good battle with the Vyekraal 415 WBMK / CPMCC S3 Toyota Run X 1.6i of Darren van Greunen and Quinton Swarts. Unfortunately they too would fall foul of the SS2 instruction. Paul Emmanuel and Robin Benjamin possibly the most spectacular exit when they almost parked the 449 CCMCC S4 VW Polo 2.0 on it’s nose.

Johann and Petra Zulch were more than satisfied reaching the end of SS2 in sixth position overall with the Ceres Toyota 439 WBMK S2 Ford Escort 1600 Sport, but the oil filter released itself and the engine ran bearings shortly before the flying finish of the stage. 

Riyaan and Yaseen Amlay decided to exit the event in more scenic fashion when they launched the Ramlay Builders 433 CCMCC Toyota Corolla RXi 1.6i into the palm trees on SS3 whilst Marius and Angela Swart snapped the lower control arm on debut with their bright orange 438 WBMK S3 VW Golf MkI 2.0 8v on SS1.

Erin Joshua and Ian Thebus failed to start when the gearbox on their 462 CCMCC S3 Toyota Conquest 1.6i developed a serious oil leak whilst the 428 CCMCC S5 4x4 Nissan Sentra of Winston Neethling and Lyle Marais also failed to make the 09h30 start.

One could long debate the SS2 crossroad instruction as it was familiar to most of the regulars and though always considered tricky, it certainly never presented a car breaker scenario. The tulip notes reflected a triple caution whilst the single caution warning in the Route Notes constitutes the equivalent of a danger warning but having viewed the DVD and based on previous experience the specific instruction did not look any worse than normal.

The recent heavy rains could certainly have eroded the rut and being in the shadow of the trees it was hard to visually evaluate the risk when approaching at speed. Two red arrows on the danger spot could have made all the difference, but it is always easy to provide the solution afterwards. The two long stages were testing whilst the two shorter stages clearly suffered heavily from standing water. However, round six of the 2018 Western Cape Rally Championship will be remembered as a real tester and with less than a month to prepare for the final event in Riebeek Kasteel the heat is on.

A hearty thank you to CEJ Plant Hire (Cyril and Lynette Jones), Amandla Construction, TAC Steel, Iselula Screens & Demolition, K&H Freight, Hi Clean, A&A Powder Coaters, Vital Engineering & Angus McLeod and TengTools for their continued support of the Western Cape Rally Championship. Though their names are not know to most of the competitors each and every landowner certainly enjoys our gratitude in allowing us to pursue our sport.

A great many people behind the scenes also have to be recognised with Billy Thorpe, Clerk of the Course, ably assisted by Stage Marshals, Radio Marshals and many more. No matter how small your contribution, it results in a successful event!

Now, the 6 October 2018 season finale will see competitors head for Riebeek Kasteel!

Do not miss this one.