THE 2020 LAKE UMUZI RALLY 1 AND 2
The late Jan Hettema always sang “On the road again” at the start of anything we did that involved wheels and it would have been appropriate to sing “his” song before the rally this weekend.
We all came through a strange period in time during the first almost three quarters of 2020. Not one single one of us expected this COVID thing and no one except maybe a Chinese or two were prepared for it.
But here we are – eventually – and we do have a rally on our hands again.
This weekend a few of our rally teams are going to measure their speed, skills and braveness against each other for the first time this year.
The championship will be decided by splitting the events into two halves – both halves counting towards the National championship and one half per event will be applied to determine a regional champion – if I have it right.
Believe it or not – I have never attended a Secunda rally and therefore do not want to pretend to have a lot of knowledge of the roads – but what I have seen on TV gave a bit of an idea.
To predict the outcome of this event is not only difficult but also risky as we have no knowledge of the R4’s real ability and there will only be two of them competing, which is a disappointment but then again when you look at the price – not many fathers will be willing to sell the house to buy Boetie or Sussie a rally car.
Defending champion Guy Botterill with Simon Vacy Lyle next to him will drive the one – an all-wheel-drive Toyota Etios 1,6 Turbo while a Hyundai i20 will be driven by the initiator and builder of the R4 in SOUTH AFRICA – Chris Coertse.
The competition for especially Botterill who will probably be the quickest in NRC1 will most definitely come from Theuns Joubert and Carl Peskin in the Salom Toyota Yaris S2000 with the dark horse being Johan Strauss and Elzaan Venter in a Subaru STi 2.0 Turbo.
Johan and daughter Natasha Fourie will be driving a Toyota Celica GT4. All the more the pity that there won’t be spectators to see this car in action.
Johan Fourie – and Rocky Reyneke who is sadly not competing in this event must be the two guys who have presented most exotic and “scarce” cars on the rally scene over the years.
Ismael Davids from Tanzania will be driving a Toyota RunX S2000 in NRC1.
Fans will not see the cars in action but the “streaming of the event” should at least cover some of the action – the link is:
Some unforeseen problems caused Theuns Joubert’s testing and setup-program to be short-lived and the first time he will be able to drive the Yaris on a clean run will hopefully be on Thursday 10th of September 2020.
The technicians experienced untold problems with small snags and also with the computer program that decided that the car was not fueling correctly – and cut out in and through most corners.
Everything being equal Theuns should be able to give Botterill a good run for his money especially on Saturday as the plan is to use the Friday leg of the event as a test and setup day rather than go for broke.
So on paper Botterill should have an easy run on his hands – if he keeps all together. The turbocharged 1600 engine should perform better than the normally aspirated engines and should get out of the sandy corners better than most.
If Botterill manages to keep the power on the road – which is almost a given with the suspension on these cars, he will be a mean target to aim for.
Let us hold thumbs for the sake of the sport that things work out for Joubert and that he will stay in close contact with Botterill to bring in some excitement into the sport.
In the NRC2 class – the competition will have their work cut out to stay with AC Potgieter and more so on his home ground in the Secunda area.
AC with Nico Swartz next to him has become a formidable combination on the rally scene and it would have been very nice to see them in an R4 as well. His competition will most probably come from JJ Potgieter and Tommy du Toit in a Ford Fiesta R2, but … there is a not so dark horse team back on the scene.
Clint Weston and Gerhard Snyman will be sporting a Citroen C2 and if this car performs like it used to in the hands of Weston – we may just be in for a huge surprise. This little car with Weston behind the wheel is deceptively quick.
George Smallberger and Anrico Opperman will take up the challenge in a Polo R2N while Michael McGregor and Robbie Coetzee will attack in a similar car.
In Polo Cup, NRC3, we find the two up and coming young men from the karting scene.
Jayden Els with navigator Matt Kӧhler and Benjamin Habig accompanied by very experienced Barry White.
To make a prediction, in this case, is not as easy as it is dangerous – as both young men have serious family support and both are seen as possible future champions.
All I can say is that young Habig will have a much harder fight on his hands than what he is used to so far in his short rally career, but let us rather wait and see…
In the NRC4 class there are two interesting cars – both turbo driven – Jonathan Simms and Hannes Pienaar in a Toyota Tazz 2.0 Turbo and Paulo Gouveia with Ashley Eddie in a Skyline 2.0 Turbo. I can just imagine – especially that Skyline.
Natie Booysen and Johan Smith will bring up the back of the field in a NRC5 Ford Escort 1600.
That is about all I have to say – let’s sit back and hope to see a rally worth the watch.