Bridgestone South Africa

Van Niekerks win Firestone Legendary Drives MG Winter Rally

Jul 18, 2011
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Schalk and Susan van Niekerk continued their domination of the 2011 Firestone Legendary Drives regularity rally championship last Sunday when they drove their SAAB 9.3 to victory in the annual MG Winter Rally in Gauteng.

The husband and wife combination, who have now won four of the six events held so far and enjoy a comfortable lead in the championship, finished with a penalty score of 99 seconds. Bill Dreyer and Stewart McGregor in a Triumph TR7 (119 penalties) were second for the second year in succession, while David Gilson and Gary Berndt (123 penalties) were third in a Fiat 131.

The popular event, hosted by the South African Regularity Rallying Association (SARRA) attracted a record entry of 74 cars spread over the classic and novice classes as well as a special category for the Total Blind Navigators Rally Championship. Cars ranged from classic Lotus, MG and Triumph sports models dating back to the 1960s to modern multi-valve-engined sedans.

The route took competitors from Nooitgedacht, just off the Krugersdorp-Pretoria highway to the halfway stop at Magaliesburg, via 100 km of quiet country roads not previously used for the event, and returned to Nooitgedacht.

The Blind Navigators class, supported by 24 unsighted enthusiasts, was won by Patrick Mills and Jessica Gribb in a Toyota Corolla with 182 seconds penalties Second were Ralph White and Jan Bam in a Toyota Prado (186 penalties), followed by Jerry Paice and Bonita Blankenberg and third in a GVM Florid (260 penalties).

Chief organiser Roger Pearce of the MG Car Club declared himself delighted with the large entry, which was bigger than last year, and was particularly pleased with growth in novice entries. "Regularity rallying is one of the most enjoyable and inexpensive forms of motor sport and is the ideal way for a family of motoring enthusiasts to spend a Sunday. The idea is to complete a predetermined route at reasonable speeds over good tar roads with the least number of time penalties.

"The objective of our novices class is to attract new people to the sport and this weekend we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams," Pearce added. "This is good for regularity rallying and we are encouraged to see that several of the first-timers from last year are now regular competitors."

The start/finish and prize-giving venue at the Ball and All golf driving range at Nooitgedacht proved as popular as it did last year, with competitors enjoying a hot breakfast before the start and a hot lunch afterwards.

The halfway stop was again at Supa Quick in Magaliesburg, where owner Willie Dry and his enthusiastic staff repeated their great hospitality of last year with food and refreshments for the competitors and officials."

The next round of the SARRA Firestone Legendary Drives regularity rally series is the Forkman Rally in Gauteng on August 28.

More information about the Firestone Legendary Drives Championship and regularity rallying in general can be obtained from the SARRA website http://www.sarra.co.za/.

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