Safari Rally 2013 | Daily reports Africa Safari Rally

Daily Reports 2013 Reports from Africa

Arabella to Cape Town

A coastal run today with lots of beaches and sea views has brought the rally to the waterfront in Cape Town. The finish arch was erected on the docks next to the tour boats and restaurants with lots of tourists there to watch the cars finish.

The Trial winners, of this 2nd sector, are:

1st - Pim and Margit Brunet de Rochebrune, Mercedes 280 SLC

2nd - Henk Eijsbouts / Dono Hardjowisastro, Citroen DS 21

3rd - Stephen and Janice Williams, MGB

 

The 4X4 winners of sector 2 are:

1st - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

2nd - Bert Kersten / Huib Vroenhoven, Toyota Hilux

3rd - John and Algy Rowe, Toyota Landcruiser


And the overall results, for sector 1 + 2:

Trial

1st - Pim and Margit Brunet de Rochebrune, Mercedes 280 SLC

2nd - Henk Eijsbouts / Dono Hardjowisastro, Citroen DS 21

3rd - Stephen and Janice Williams, MGB

 

4X4
1st - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

2nd - Jaap van den Broek / Hansje van den Broek, Toyota Landcruiser

3rd - Arnold van Dobben - Patricia van Dobben, Ford Raptor


For full results day by day please view the Results pages on this website. For the final overall positions, based on the total of points per sector, see the Download page. Detailed results per Leg are available via the Entry list

 

Oudshoorn to Arabella

2 regularities today that totalled 85 kms. The first was close to Oudtshoorn and wound its way past small groups of houses, farms and small cultivations. The second one could not have been more different as the surrounding landscape opened up to giant fields, now harvested and farms with many sheep and cattle. The road was wide and smooth gravel.

At Peter and John's control they were joined by Jenny who lives in Oudshoorn. To make sure they were recording the exact time at their timing point they had 3 clocks all working at the same time.

It was to be another day of puntures. Arnold and Patricia had another as did John and Algy Rowe. Arthur also had one as did Klaus in the RO80, but luckily they had finished the regularity first.

Lunch was in Swellendam and tonight the rally is staying at the Arabella Hotel and Spa with views over the coast near Kleinmont and amongst the greens of an immaculately manicured Golf Course.

Today was the last day of competitive sections on the rally as tomorrow we have a free drive with 2 TCs to get to the finish at Cape Town.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Pim and Margit Brunet de Rochebrune, Mercedes 280 SLC

4X4 Class - Arthur Brouwer / Peter de Koning, Toyota Hilux

 

Knysna to Oudshoorn

Only 320 kms today with three regularities. The first 2 were a mix of gravel and tar roads but sufficiently twisty that the 55 kph average was still difficult to achieve.

After lunch in Prince Albert we headed up and over the spectacular Swartberg Pass. The first 8 kms was run as a regularity but as the road climbed and got progressively narrower the regularity finished and everyone had the chance to travel the road at their own speed and stop to take as many photos as they wanted.

This pass climbs through a narrow gorge at first then heads higher and higher to “Die Top” at 1600 metres.

As you cross the summit the landscape completely changes and you look down into a rich valley perhaps 1000 metres below and to more mountains in the distance beyond.

The rally stopped just north of Oudtshoorn and the Cango Ostrich Farm.

We all had fun doing the tour that covered egg hatching, hand feeding the birds, the history of ostrich farming and some brave souls even had a ride on an ostrich.

Gabriela was our star rider who stayed on the Ostrich for the longest and screamed and yelled as she hung on to the feathers, much to the amusement and applause of everyone else.

Bart had a neck massage when he tried to feed the always hungry birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then moved the short distance to the Buffelsdrift Hotel our last lodge of this trip. Tonight we dine in the resturant overlooking the lake, with hippos swimming and snorting in the lake a few metres away.

The rooms are well equipped tents, with a bathroom, outside shower and air conditioning. The rooms info sheet tells us that the ear plugs are provided in case we have trouble sleeping due to the noises of the wild animals outside.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Pim and Margit Brunet de Rochebrune, Mercedes 280 SLC

4X4 Class - Arthur Brouwer / Peter de Koning, Toyota Hilux

 

Rest day in Knysna

The rally had a rest day in Knysna today. Knysna is a beautiful coastal town set in a lagoon with a narrow rocky access channel to the Indian Ocean. Clear blue skies and temperatures of 28 C put everyone in a relaxed mood.

The day was not so relaxing for Stephen and Janice though as they spent 5 hours dismantling the engine bay of their MGB to get access to the exhaust manifold and have it welded up. The only consolation for a lost rest day for Stephen was that the bill for all the work only came to 50 Euros.

The Marshal team took the chance to take all the Toyotas to a nice location by the bay and have a group photo. With only 3 more days to go to Cape Town this was the best chance we will have to get everyone together. Lots of smiles and some coffee overlooking the sea was a nice relaxing interlude after rushing around for the last 3 weeks.

This evening we will celebrate Margit Brunet de Rochebrune’s birthday with South African champagne and local oysters as we watch the sun set over the bay.

 

Port Elizabeth to Knysna

Today we headed east from Port Elizabeth for the 460 kms to Knysna, not on the modern N2 but through the hills of the Eastern Cape.

Four regularities were on offer today and they caused some grief and provided lots of gravel over passes and through the valleys.

Local wild life included monkeys, ostrich and the occasional tortoise slowly crossing the road and to be avoided.

On the first regularity Henk and Dono came to grief after their exhaust all but fell off after they hit a particularly large rock.

They had to stop to do emergency repairs to stop the whole system from ripping away from the car on the next big bump.

This mishap cost them many minutes of penalties and has dropped them back behind Pim and Margit in the trial standings for leg 2.

The photo is taken at the TC after the regularity, where Henk made a more permanent fix to the exhaust with some wire provided by the local Hotel owner.

Regularites 2 and 3 were on flatter smoothish gravel but even here some wrong slots occurred. The final regularity was the best of the day and probably the best of the rally so far.

After a Time Control in Uniondale the route went south over the Prince Alfred’s Pass and then on to Knysna. The regularity was the first section on very narrow twisty gravel down hill track after the pass.

The first section was set at 60 kph and after 4kms it dropped to 40 kph. Even at 40 it was difficult to keep to speed as the blind bends were relentless and the drop offs to the sides were threatening.

Bart had positioned himself lower down the pass to persuade any local traffic, of which there was very little, to pull over, have a rest and watch the cars come by. A good precaution as meeting traffic coming up against rally route could have been a problem.

After the regularity the gravel continued for a total of 60 kms over the hills and down through remote, thickly wooded terrain. This is a unique track of mostly good gravel which in a few years time will no doubt become tarmac like many other such roads around the world.

Eric and Walter decided to have a go today and drove the full route and made the coffee halts and lunch in plenty of time. They even managed to get to one of the manned timing points with only 8 seconds error. Unfortunately a long wrong slot on another regularity amassed them a lot of penalties that spoiled an otherwise excellent day for them.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Pim and Margit Brunet de Rochebrune, Mercedes 280 SLC

4X4 Class - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

 

Barkly Pass to Port Elizabeth

Today was another interesting day, starting at 2000 metres up and finishing 600 kms later at sea level. Three regularities provided the competition and we are in Port Elizabeth overlooking the Indian Ocean with sea views tonight. After cooler temperatures in the mountains last night we are back up to 25 C in PE.

After their success yesterday Pim and Margit lost time today with a wrong slot that at one point had them 4 minutes late. They pulled it back a bit but by the time they reached the next time control but they had also passed some gps logger points so that gave them a total of 6 ½ minutes. So from hero yesterday to disaster today.

The other big shock today was that Klaus and Maja finally decided to compete on a regularity. They chose regularity 2 that was all on a tarmac. Well without clocks and without a trip meter they managed to record only 2 seconds error when they reached Peter Rushforth’s contol. They must have been so pleased with their success that Klaus then sped on in his NSU and promptly got stopped by the police for speeding and paid the instant fine. Once again the ups and downs had played their hand.

Stephen and Janice were also pleased to see the smooth tarmac on regularity 2 as their MGB had been suffering a bit on some of the rougher gravel sections. They only dropped 4 seconds.

Rhinos have been spotted and photographed today for the first time on this rally. The photographers were off route visiting interesting locations and the illusive beast was seen.

Better news today from Erich. After leaving early and finding a very nice lunch of specially pepaired fillet steak, Erich took his 2 new navigators to a game park so they could see some of the animals we had been seeing earlier on the rally. Success, they saw lions, lots of elephant, buffalo and a python.

With Pim’s wrong slot and Stephen and Janice’s good result on regularity 2 the winner in the Trial class today was Henk and Dono in the Citroen DS. A great result for them, Stephen and Janice were second with Pim and Margit third. As the event draws to a finish in 5 days time the competition is getting keener.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Henk Eijsbouts / Dono Hardjowisastro, Citroen DS 21

4X4 Class - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

 

Clarens to Barkly Pass

The route today headed south and to the west of Lesotho. The scenery got better and better as the day went on. The clear air and blue skies with cotton wool clouds all combined to enhance the views. As we finished the day at Barkley pass we were at 2020 meters and in amongst the Maloti Mountains that were being beautifully lit by the setting sun.

Competition today was 3 regularities plus a 4X4 section. Mostly on smooth surfaces although some short sections were a little rutted. The main excitement came on the 3rd regularity where Mark had set the route on a map marked with waypoints.

One of the waypoints defined the route as the long way around a small triangle junction. It was clear on the map but keen eyes or a magnifying lens was needed to see the intended route clearly.

Only 1 car drove the route without error. That was Pim and Margit in the Mercedes 220. All the other cars came to the marshals from the wrong direction and were told to retrace their route and come back the correct way before they would be given a time.

Other mishaps included both Raptors. After missing the triangle Arnold and Patricia then wrong slotted again, this time for 14 minutes. It turned out that Patricia was not using a map at all in the regularity and just relying on the GPS.

The other Raptor of Bas Koijck and Gabriela Baeza had an interesting experience as well. As they started a regularity today, a local car overtook them and then would not let them pass. Bas tried left and then right and sounded his horn but with no luck. A few kms further on he was then blocked by another car that had stopped and blocked the road.

The girl in the car he was following thought that she was going to be hijacked and had called her father for help, saying “I am being chased by a Big Red Bakkie”. (Bakkie is Afrikaans for pickup). When Bas explained to her father that he was on a rally, all became clear and everything was resolved.

After the navigation disasters of yesterday Erich had a change of plan today. He decided against hiring a third navigator and instead he would now navigate as well as drive the car.

Well he did find lunch, just as the marshals were closing and leaving the location. He was not seen on the regularities but he is once again at the rally hotel tonight.

He is also reported as having visited the Lesotho boarder at some point today which the rest of the rally did not do.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Pim and Margit Brunet de Rochebrune, Mercedes 280 SLC

4X4 Class - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

 

Sun City to Clarens

As we left Sun City this morning the rains came down. But it did not last as by the time we reached the first regularity 160 kms south the skies were clearing.

Stephen and Janice Williams were pleased to have a working starter motor in their MGB again after needing a push or a tow for the last week. The chairman of the MG Club of South Africa had a new one sent up by motor bike to Sun City last night and Stephen promptly fitted it.

A couple of crew changes have occurred overnight. Erich’s wife has now gone home and he has 2 friends with him both helping to navigate. The Master of Disaster plus 2 navigators, heaven help us. Early reports tonight are that all has not gone to plan.

They got lost in the first regularity, then managed to find lunch and also the hotel tonight, so it is not all bad news. Erich is now threatening to take on a 3rd African navigator to see if things will improve.

Arthur Brouwer also has a crew change and now has Peter de Koning with him. All day long Peter has had a big smile on his face so he must be enjoying the experience.

Most of the day has been spent at high altitude. Even the afternoon coffee halt was higher than the Col de Turini. After the first regularity and lunch, we had a long run to Bethlehem across rolling plains with distant views to the horizon.

Much of this area grows crops like maize and sunflowers but cattle are also in abundance. By the time we reached the hotel tonight in Clarens we had clocked up another 650 kms.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Pim and Margit Brunet de Rochebrune, Mercedes 280 SLC

4X4 Class - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

 

Palapye to Sun City

After a nights stay at the very new Majestic Five Hotel in Palapye, the rally has stepped up a pace as we covered the 560 kms to Sun City.

First we crossed back from Botswana to South Africa with no problems in a record time of less than 30 minutes.

Then the first regularity was eventful with the antics of the camera crew. First they got stuck in sand will all 4 wheels buried to the axels, luckily they were pulled out by Ruud and Mark in the course opening car.

Then they positioned themselves to film a water splash but it was them that got splashed.

The second regularity was a different affair as a fast red mud / sandy track had been set at 80 kph out into the bushes. Everyone had some fun on this section.

There was also a 4X4 section close to Sun City to finish off the day.

Tonight we are staying at the Palace of the Lost City Hotel in Sun City which is South Africa's version of Las Vegas with a huge Casino, lavish hotels and Golf Courses.

Dinner was in the Club House of the Gary Player Golf Course surrounded by photos of the worlds best golfers.

 

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Henk Eijsbouts / Dono Hardjowisastro, Citroen DS 21

4X4 Class - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

 

Nata to Palapye

Today included just one regularity which was a repeat of yesterday's on some sandy tracks either side of the road from Nata going West towards Maun. The navigation system was Tulips without distances, but if you used the GPS and waypoints that the cars all carried it all became clear. Everyone had an easier time today and found their way around

Mark had hoped to use the tracks on both sides of the road but with the recent rains, all those to the South which lead to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans had become flooded. This just left a short loop on the North side.

As the rally stayed in Nata last night we had some spare time yesterday to explore the area. Some went to look at the salt flats.

All they saw was what resembled an inland sea with waves on it. They must have had a lot of rain recently and it will take a long time for the salt flats to dry out again.

Mark consoled himself at the loss of the regularity section with a quick paddle.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Pim and Margit Brunet de Rochebrune, Mercedes 280 SLC

4X4 Class - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

 

Kasane to Nata

Today we are back rallying again for the 370 kms to Nata as the start of sector 2. A short 4X4 section used some tracks close to the Zimbabwe border while the classics heading south on the straight very smooth tarmac. Some sections of the road are being improved and made even wider but on the whole all we saw was grass and bushes and small trees for a long way.

Some changes are beginning to occur to the land in fertile places, as large sections are being stripped of undergrowth, levelled, fenced and being used for mass-produced crops.

These fields stretch to the horizon, a sign of the future and the need to feed many mouths.

After a coffee halt in Nata, the rally headed west for a short regularity in the long grasses and sandy soil north of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.

Many tracks both man made and animal made exist in this area and the regularity was set using waypoint navigation between the thorn bushes and through the sand. Most found their way around but without using waypoints and the GPS some guess work was needed and some wrong slots occurred.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Henk Eijsbouts / Dono Hardjowisastro, Citroen DS 21

4X4 Class - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Hilux

 

Kasane rest days

The rally has now spent 3 nights and 2 full days in the excellent Mowana Safari Lodge in Kasane. This has allowed everyone plenty of time to take some of the guided trips and tours that are available from this location.

Kasane is located on the south bank of the Chobe River just 10 kms east of where this river joins the Zambezi River. From here it is aprox 85 kms by road to Victoria Falls.

Many people used 1 day for a trip to see Victoria Falls, travelling by coach or taxi to view the falls, have lunch in the old colonial Victoria Falls Hotel and possibly take a helicopter site seeing trip as well.

A second day offered safari trips into Chobe National Park to see more Elephants, Giraffes, Lions, Hippos, and Crocodiles to name just a few of the inhabitants of this very lush park. Chobe wild life park holds around 60,000 elephants alone plus the many 1000s of other animals of many species.

Also popular was a 3 hour river tour on the Chobe river into the park where it was easier to get closer to the Hippos and Crocodiles in the river. As this trip finished at sunset, the evening light and setting sun of the water added to the pleasures of the trip.

For competitors and crews in 4X4 vehicles it was also possible to drive their own vehicles in a self guided tour of the wildlife park, using the narrow sandy tracks and getting extremely close to hundreds of animals all accustomed to vehicles and camera clicking tourists.

Some people found themselves in the middle of a large troop of Baboons, or amongst a group of at least 100 water Buffalo, and just about everyone will have experienced the enormous herds of Springbok, eating the vegetation and sheltering under the trees and bushes to keep cool.

All of this was in addition to the constant sightings of Elephants and Giraffe. 

Popa Falls to Kasane

Today was an untimed day of 580 kms to get us to Kasane. The route headed east along the Caprivi strip and the small groups of mud hut dwellings continued. Many items were for sale along the road, mostly piles of firewood, but also woodcarvings and some local produce.

The woodcarvings were interesting, as each local carver seemed to have his own speciality, one carved toy trucks and cars, another aeroplanes, another canoes but the majority carved various animals of all types and sizes.

The highlight of the day came after we crossed from Namibia into Botswana as we then had an 80 km crossing of the Chobe National Park. Here there is the largest population of Elephants in the world.

Their presence was well advertised by the amount of elephant droppings all along the straight smooth tarmac highway, each pile accompanied by a host of small brightly coloured yellow butterflies. We think the elephants wait until they cross the road to leave their mark and let us humans know who really owns the Park.

Everyone saw elephants and some of us saw lots and lots of elephants, even a complete heard of in excess of 60 crossed the road while we clicked our cameras.

The rains have resulted in lush knee deep grass which seems to be especially tasty alone the roadside verges, and this seemed to attract lots of small groups who casually pulled up the grass and munched away.

Many babies were in the groups with their mothers guarding them and escorting them as they crossed the road. Another day of unique memories.

Kasane marks the finish of Leg 1 of the Event and Bart presented the Leg 1 awards at Dinner.

The Trial Class winners are Pim and Margit Brunet de Richebrune in their Mercedes 280 SLC and the 4X4 winners are Pit and Silvia Lindner in a Toyota Landcruiser.

Leg 2 runs from Kasane to Cape Town and gives everyone a clean sheet to try again. The overall winners in Cape Town will be the based on sum of both legs 1 and 2.

 

Etosha to Popa Falls

Back to normal today with 120 kms of good tar road then 2 regularities before lunch. The regularities were back to back with the usual gravel, dips, crests and curves. Between the 2 there was a coffee stop and TC at a lovely guest farm which had been an old Mission house until the mid 1960’s. Now a successful large farm in the rich and fertile area.

Sadly the Volvo Amazon has broken again, stopping just short of the coffee halt so help was soon available from competitors and marshals. Bert Kersten has picked up the crew and taken them to the next night halt for them to arrange for a rental car, and the Volvo will be transported back to Cape Town. We now have only 5 classics running.

The route from Lunch, also at a nicely situated guest farm, was another 240 kms along  a very long straight road to Rundu and then a further 225 kms on equally straight roads to Popa Falls. The very noticeable feature that struck everyone occurred 130 kms after lunch as the route crossed for the managed farmland and townships of Southern Namibia to the “Old Africa” of Northern Namibia.

Here there are mud huts in small groups with wooden stockade type fences, close to small plantations of maze and other crops. These dwellings are strung out continuously along the highway and the primary means on transport is by foot. So everywhere these are to be people walking and carrying their items on their heads.

The night stop was split between 2 lodges on the banks of the Okavango River. The evening dinner was enjoyed outside in the lush gardens, with a spirited display of African dance and songs provided by the staff of the lodge.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Pim and Margit Brunet de Rochebrune, Mercedes 280 SLC

4X4 Class - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

 

Etosha Game Park

Today will stick in the memories of the competitors and crew for a long time.

No rally timing, just proceed at your own pace to drive the 200 kms across the Etosha Game Park.

Some people took 11 hours to make this trip.

The reason was because at every turn of the road there was stunning wildlife to watch and photograph. The best way to see them was to follow the gravel tracks that visited the water holes where the wildlife is concentrated.

We all lost track of the number of species we saw during the day, truly a magic day.

Tonight we are staying in the Mokuty Lodge outside the east gate of the Park.

Tomorrow is a long day to bring everyone back to Rallying again

 

Windhoek to Etosha

Another 460 kms today as we left Windhoek and headed north to the Etosha Wildlife park almost on the Namibian Angola border.

The tar road out of Windhoek soon changed to gravel and hard packed mud roads as the rally completed 2 regularities just south of the Erindi Game Reserve and a 3rd just south of Etosha that was converted to a 4X4 section due road deteriation.

Some soft spots and muddy patches still remained after the rain a couple of days ago but today was mostly cloud free and the temperatures are rising again.

Most of the tire puncture problems experienced over the previous 2 days are now fixed and punctures are repaired or new tyres found and purchased. The photo of the Landcruiser shows some of the destruction that at the last count has totalled over 20 punctures to various cars.

The gravel today was much smoother and less rocky, lets hope the air stays in a bit longer until we get back onto tarmac.

The Volvo 123 of Arthur and Harry has had an interesting day. First they ran out of petrol this morning but were saved by Arnold van Dobben who is carrying large amounts of spare fuel in case his thirsty Ford Raptor can’t find enough fuel stations.

Next they ran out of road. Luckily it was a straight gravel road but in one of the dips their front top wishbone mounts lost a bolt and the wheel then steered them off into the loose stuff. They did manage to reverse out and when last seen were waiting for the sweeper car to help get the wishbone bolted back into its correct place.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Henk Eijsbouts / Dono Hardjowisastro, Citroen DS 21

4X4 Class - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

 

Sossusvlei to Windhoek

Today the Rally restarted at midday. That left time for everyone to visit the magnificent Sossusvlei Sand Dunes in the morning. It is possible to spend many hours in overland busses touring the dunes but we did not have the time. So most people went to Dune 45 and either climbed the dune or took photos in front of this very impressive pile of sand.

This photo is of our Rally Doctor, showing his gymnastics abilities. We are told he did land safely and no injuries were suffered in his rather impressive leap.

The restart today was also an interesting place that looked more like an old US car scrap yard. Many gently ageing chevies and fords were spread around the entrance. The route from there consisted of one long regularity and a long road section ending at Windhoek. In total the distance today was 350 kms.

However the regularity did have a bit of a sting. Over the past couple of days a lot of rain has fallen in this area. To be sure that the route was passable the team rechecked the route while everyone else visited the sand dunes. The regularity had 2 water crossings in it and they were deemed passable.

Unfortunately the car with the lowest ground clearance, the MGB of Stephen and Janice Williams, did come to a stop in the river. Luckily the NSU of Klaus and Maja von Delen arrived close behind them and after crossing the river Maja waded back in with a towrope and Klaus then pulled the MGA out of the river. An unlucky incident for Stephen and Janice that cost them a few minutes in time penalties, as well as for Klaus who also got penalties while helping them.

More and more wildlife is crossing our path and cameras are clicking at each passing animal. We hope the memory sticks will be big enough to hold all the photos by the time the rally finishes in Cape Town.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Pim and Margit Brunet de Rochebrune, Mercedes 280 SLC

4X4 Class - Arnold and Patricia van Dobben, Ford Raptor

 

Fish River Canyon to Sossusvlei

More great scenery and now a few animals, mostly farm animals such and goats, cows, horses and donkeys but with the odd Gazelle, Springbok and Ostrich. Three regularities and 600 kms got us to Sossusvlei Lodge and the famous Sossusvlei Sand Dunes.

The road today was good Namibian gravel and distant mountains with some scattered farms.

Local transport was by busses, the inevitable Toyota pickup crammed with passengers in the back and the occasional Donkey Cart.

While the regularities were dusty the temperatures were more reasonable as again we had rain clouds all around which, thankfully for all, did not leak water.

However, on the final leg into our overnight stop we did finally experience the might of the heavens as visibility dropped to a minimum and heavy rain quickly flooded the roads and surrounding areas. This created some instant water splashes in the dips and washed the dust off the vehicles.

This short, sharp downpour had a few benefits. First the temperature went down a lot, next all the dust was settled and finally we got some superb rainbows.

Apparently this was the first rain in this area for the past year.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Stephen and Janice Williams, MGB

4X4 Class - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

 

Springbok to Fish River Canyon

A much shorter day today. A 4X4 section north of Springbok and then the border procedures and into Namibia. Crossing the boarder took approximately an hour and we were on our way again.

The roads soon changed to wide, well graded smooth gravel where the faster cars had no problems travelling at 120 kph. Long straight roads with gentle crests and dips and almost no other traffic.

The lunch halt was at the Ai Ais hot springs. Buried down in the Fish River Canyon with high rock faces either side. Here there is both an outdoor and an indoor pool. The indoor one adjoining the rear entrances to some of the bedrooms.

Another regularity after lunch climbed back out of the gorge and again the gravel roads were very good. More rain showers were all around as the sky slowly built up puffy clouds and then dropped very isolated and intense showers. The views all around were excellent.

The Hotel for the night was the Canyon Lodge just east of the Fish River Canyon viewpoint. This hotel is spectacular as it sits in amongst large granite boulders that in many cases are part of the wall structure for the individual bedroom houses. A short walk away was a lovely pool built into the rocks and providing a direct uninterrupted view out into the surrounding desert.

There was plenty of time to visit the viewpoint of The Fish River Canyon, the second largest in the world after the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Again isolated rain clouds and showers enhanced the views and cast shadows and highlights into the Canyon.

Another evening meal was then enjoyed under the stars on the patio. Bert and Huib caught back up arriving after dinner so we now have another Toyota 4X4 in the rally.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Pim and Margit Brunet de Rochebrune, Mercedes 280 SLC

4X4 Class - Arnold and Patricia van Dobben, Ford Raptor

 

Stellenbosch to Springbok

Away we go. The rally started this morning from Stellenbosch on a mainly tarmac road to Springbok some 700 kms away. 2 regularities provided some interest and a chance try out the unfamiliar GPS devices and pick up a few time penalties on the gravel sections.

As we headed north with grapes growing in every available location the temperature started to climb. Those in the 4X4s had the benefit of A/C but the classics started to suffer. By the mid afternoon coffee stop the thermometers were showing 42 C and the marshals at the control and the competitors were feeling the heat.

The third  regularity had been cancelled due to poor road conditions discovered by the 48 hour car 2 days ago. That meant the rally rolled into Springbok a little earlier than planned and allowed everyone to head for an air conditioned room, the swimming pool or the bar in an attempt to cool down.

The accommodation in Springbok was split between two very nice guesthouses and the evening dinner was enjoyed outside under a clear sky full of stars on the patio by the pool. And yes, Orion is upside down in the Southern Hemisphere.

Casualties for the day were Bert Kersten in his Bentley with magneto trouble. The sweeper crew stayed behind to help and arrived very late at the hotel. Bert and Huib are arranging to ship the Bentley home, switch to a 4X4 and catch the rally again tomorrow.

The Winners today are:

Trial Class - Stephen and Janice Williams, MGB

4X4 Class - Pit and Silvia Lindner, Toyota Hilux

 

Pre Start activities

All cars arrived in South Africa ok and with some shuffling between the Rally Hotel at the Lanzerack Wine Estate Hotel in Stellenbosch and the docks in Cape Town all cars and drivers were reunited. 

However the reunion did not last long for Pit Lindner as only 2 kms after leaving the docs his Mercedes 200 had lost oil pressure and run the big ends. No more engine and not much hope of a quick repair before the Rally starts.

So Pit and silvia have now joined the 4 by 4 class in a rented Toyota pickup.

Competitors have been getting to grips with the various GPS devices that have been placed in their cars. Besides providing GPS waypoint navigation and GPS data loggers to assist the results calculations, the cars are also carrying the eXtrac GPS position reporting system. This allows the organisers to find lost cars, should that happen, and also provides a live internet display of where all the competitors are.

This webpage is now live and can be seen at www.extrac.net/

 

Some competitors are also blogging:

Henk en Dono (in Dutch)