This year the PTAR was hosted at Gariep Dam, a town on the border of the Free State and the Eastern Cape Province.
I flew down from Fly Inn Estate with Trevor Davids in his RV 12 and when we arrived on Thursday afternoon registration was in full swing. Sharon Malcolm was at the helm handing out the competitor's gift packs and assisting with the registration. I was immediately impressed by the organisation of the event. The Race briefing was held at 17h30 by the Race Director Robbie Myburgh. Thereafter the navigators collected their maps and went off to do their plotting for the Day 1 race.
On Race Day 1 the briefing was held at 08h30. The start of the race was at 10h00. I positioned myself at the start line to photograph each of the aircraft as they took off for the route of 292.795 nautical miles. Leg one took the competitors from Gariep to Orania, a distance of 73.568nm. Leg 2 at 55.831 took them from Orania to De Aar whilst leg 3 routed them from De Aar to Middelberg on a distance of 72.789nm. Leg 4 was from Middelberg to Steynsburg on a distance of 43.809nm and the final leg 5 from Steynsburg on a distance of 46.192 back to Gariep Dam Airfield.
The top 5 results for the first day of the 92 competing aircraft were:
Position Race Registration Aircraft Pilot
1st 57 ZU-FCE Van's RV 8 Dawie van Staden &
2nd 62 ZS-IJL Beech K35 Bennie du Plessis &
3rd 42 ZS-JIE Cirrus SR 22T G3 Alex Dyason &
Johan van der Hoven
4th 52 ZS-LLH Cessna 182B Phil Wakeley &
5th 78 ZU-JVZ Jabiru J400 Sean Curran &
On Race Day 2 the briefing was again held at 08h30 and the race started at 10h24. The Navigators collected their loggers after the briefing and I could sense the excitement of the pilots and navigators as I walked up and down the runway while they waited for positioning of their aircraft. Robbie Myburgh and Robin Spencer-Scarr took their positions in front of the starting line and with much enthusiasm and a little dancing around, they set off the first plane, race number 96, ZU-BHX a Piper PA-22-150 TD flown by Craig Reid from the starting blocks.
I positioned myself further up on the runway to photograph each of the aircraft as they lifted off the ground on the route of 295.776 nautical miles. Leg one took the competitors from Gariep Airfield to New Holme on a distance of 51.260nm. Leg 2 routed them to Phillips Town on a distance of 29.535nm whilst leg 3 routed them from Phillips Town to cross over at Gariep on a distance of 55.191nm. Leg 4 took them from Gariep to Smith Field on a distance of 56.672nm. Leg 5 routed them from Smith Field to Aliwal North on a distance of 29.616nm. Leg 6 routed them from Aliwal North to Burgers Dorp on a distance of 28.893nm then from Burgers Dorp back to Gariep Dam on a final distance of 48.151nm.
The top 10 final overall results were as follows:
1st 62 ZS-IJL Beech A35 Bennie du Plessis & Cylliers Manser
2nd 57 ZS-FCE Van's RV-8 Dawie van Staden &
3rd 54 ZS-NSL Cessna U206D Mark Dethian &
4th 67 ZS-PFN Beech A35 Mike Finch &
5th 78 ZU-JVZ Jabiru J400 Sean Curran &
6th 33 ZU-ORV Van's RV-7A Rob Kennedy &
7th 52 ZS-LLH Cessna 182B Phil Wakeley &
8th 31 ZS-SDW Diamond DA-42 TDi Steve Dewsbery &
9th 39 ZS-DAM Piper PA-28-235F Mark Bristow &
10th 3 ZS-IBX Beech E33 Johan Doubell &
The formal function awards dinner was held at the Forever Resort on at the Gariep Dam. Robbie Myburgh took the stand and welcomed all the guests and thanked the main sponsors for their continued contribution to the race. Robin Spencer-Scarr all the way from Australia was the MC for the event and kept us all entertained by his comical banter. After the lovely dinner it was straight on to the awards ceremony.
The Wakefield Trophy for first placed woman pilot went to Race 34 ZS-FDS with crew Christa Greyvenstein and Jonny van der Berg.
The Natal Mercury Trophy to the first placed Kwa Zulu Natal Crew went to Race 95 ZS-LXO with crew Larry van der merwe and Johan Juselius.
The Mooney Trophy to the crew for the first placed Mooney went to Race 8 ZS-CBF with crew Waldo Verster and Trevor Davids for the second year running.
The President's Trophy to the aircraft and crew gaining the most time on handicap went to Race 62 ZS-IJL with crew Bennie du Plessis and Cilliers Manser
My appreciation goes to the full organising committee who went out of their way to make sure the race went smoothly and safely. Well done to all concerned. The 2015 PTAR will be hosted by New Tempe aviation club in Bloemfontein.