The time all of us in the sport or shall I say because of the sport, feared, has arrived for the Rallystar website.
But first things first.
As all our readers know, Andries van der Walt has been Editor of the Rallystar website for many years, to be honest, the way time flies, I am not even sure for how long but I am certain he has been with us for more than six years.
During this time what Andries did here and there caused a wave or two that would have sunk the Titanic again, but at the same time he kept the readership on a level that made me proud. We managed to maintain figures above 20 000 a month. Combined with our Facebook page, we almost did double that during some months.
He did a wonderful job for little money and kept you all well informed about all that happened in motorsport on local and international level.
I cannot say anything else but thank him, Andries, from the bottom of my heart for his contribution to the media and the sport. We had a few good laughs about some very sensitive people when he cut too close to the bone and he was the reason for me not being the only “controversial” person around anymore.
What few people know, is that I have been carrying the Rallystar website from my personal pocket for 14 now going 15 years at a personal cost of around R1,5m.
During that time we did not really have time to canvas advertisements and to tell the honest truth, I was always reluctant that it may look as if we depended on any adverts of vehicle manufacturers, as I wanted to tell the story as it was. In retrospect – the comings and goings of the manufacturers have been so uneventful that apart from not winning when they should have won, crooking with emission readings, allowing cars to self-ignite, withdrawing from the sport or rallying because they could not build and develop proper cars, overshooting the self-important levels and a few other things, there was not much to write about, anyway. So, I might just as well have accepted their adverts anyway.
While I still competed actively it was great to tell all the stories and goodness knows I made an enemy or two in the process. My wife used to say that when she accompanied me on rallies, even during the time I did the pace notes, and someone who were usually friendly, did not greet her, then she knew I wrote “something, somewhere” that did not go down too well.
During the Pretorius and company, Saga, we kept our readers updated on the latest developments and still said it as it was. Not that anyone worthwhile neither listened nor believed that this was the start of the end of the sport as we knew it.
I suppose in a sense we won the battle, but on the other end, I lost the war. Some undesired and incompetent people disappeared, but others who should have vanished, let alone step down, clung like super glue onto an army coat.
Prediction after prediction I made, came true, but still those in charge stumbled along, running through the hurdles, instead of at least trying to jump over one or two. I did at least receive an “informal” apology – not a life-long achievement award like some people who managed to do what few before them got right!
Now we are where “they” can (I believe with the exception of one or two more things) not screw up any further.
These stories will get my attention again a little later on – maybe even in the long-awaited book for which I have had a few sponsors lined up for over five years now. They want me to publish my book on rallying in South Africa, as seen by me through the years. Unlike van der Merwe I will not tell about the girls I took to bed, but rather talk about the sport and the scenes, behind the scene – and the name of a certain Wheeler comes to mind…
Back to the present into the future.
It is a fact that www.Rallystar.net is the most read local rally website and its Facebook page proved to be very popular as well. This is why I have to be very careful when I make decisions (mostly emotional) about it.
If I could have my wish, I would keep the site running as long as I live and a bit past that even, but that is not a business decision.
We have truly tried a number of things to be able to cover the basic costs such as Andries’ salary, the hosting cost and other diverse costs. Andries being there left me free to concentrate on some other aspects of rallying that needed attention.
Sponsorship and then of course, to try and get the sport back to where it belonged and beyond, from the outside as that little holier than thou, inner circle is as tight as a clay ox’s ass.
At a stage, we did our best to get readers to subscribe, but although a number of loyal old hands did, something we appreciate immensely, the numbers were not enough to come close to covering the post. What we saw was “rally lovers” suddenly link to other websites with some news – just like the days of Rallystar, where many would rather “test” illegally on farms, instead of paying R350 for a whole day at Rallystar. Probably why I made more money training overseas drivers than locals.
No matter what history tells us – I have to make a decision regarding the Rallystar website and at the same time also let down one of the people who did so much for rallying over the years.
This can be avoided if a miracle happens and we manage to obtain a few sponsors, donors and or advertisers soon and Andries will be able to give you the quality of service you are used to, hopefully for a long time to come.
I truly never wanted to make money from the website, but rather add value to the sport but I can simply not afford to carry the can on my own anymore.
if there are any of you who would like to make a small monthly contribution in exchange for an advert on the website, please feel free to transfer an amount which you feel is fair into the Rallystar account, (account number: 9286350167) which is sadly still with ABSA.
We will do all we reasonably can to promote you or your business and for marketing purposes, it is good to know that we have in excess of 20 000 readers – of which around 60% is from Gauteng.
The account will be transparent to contributors and any excess (please Lord) will at the end of the year be applied to improvements or to assist someone in need – which may even be me!
You are more than welcome to contribute a few Rand per month per Debit Order – or put up products for sale on which we can earn a commission. See SponsorshipSeekers further down.
If you do not react to this final plea, then you will have to be satisfied with only my contributions about the sport and the happenings around it, when I find some time to write.
P.s. There may be some very exciting news coming your way soon!
Look out for news on the Super77 Series, a hill climb, an economy run and a great biker’s event this year.
SponsorshipSeekers is almost up and running after the design of the website has been taken over by a new and more reliable web developing company.
Just to explain the reason why this website took so long to surface, we have been led by the nose for two years by a scoundrel of note. Criminal charges are currently being formulated – but that does not give me back the sleepless nights, hair loss or the two years he stole from my life.
We will very soon be able to assist a few competitors – not that you seem to lack money – but for what it is worth, we will be there.
You are welcome to send us a list of products you would like us to advertise and sell – on condition that the SponsorshipSeekers Supporters will benefit by at least 20% and that a further portion goes to the “mutual sponsorship fund”. A full explanation of the unique SponsorshipSeekers website will be provided, should you be interested.
SponsorshipSeekers generates sponsorship through marketing!
The website is in its final stages and will be running soon, yet we are already negotiating sponsorship for six sporting events, four athletes, a skydiver, an action netball team, two rally teams, some charity organisations and a dozen or so, more in the pipeline.
You will soon be able to buy popular & daily required products at reduced prices (20%) and every product you purchase will help a person or team of your choice to get the necessary sponsorships.
We want everybody will gain – the sponsor – the seeker and the supporter!
Also, keep an eye out for our incredible new bidding site – where you might even succeed in buying a R50 000 article for less than a R1 000!
Seriously – all this is on its way to you!
I know Andries may be upset about this letter or plea to you, but I believe that he has done enough for the sport that we should all put in a few Rand each, and keep him doing what he loves to do and does so damn well!
Thank you all for your support over all these years and for reading what we managed to dish up!!
I hope we will still be able to share this fun on Rallystar and on some of the intended events!
Enjoy the fast-approaching season!
Note: Jacques and I will be competing in two local rallies in February – Gauteng and Cape – more about this later.
Kind regards to all,
082 555 3119