The Sixteenth Rand Airport Challenge 2020

By Cally Eckard Photos by Willie Bodenstein

Competitors and officials with Rand's historic terminal building in the background

Early morning at Rand. Photo by Michael Crause of the Sling in which he and Edzart Verseput competed

With the World Rally Flying Championships in sight, a record 8 teams took part in the Class 1, or "Open" category of the sport at the Rand Airport Challenge. In previous years most participants preferred to stick to the simplest and easiest Class 3, or "Fun Rally", but this year pilots and navigators were encouraged to enter the most advanced group. They all certainly found their skills were challenged on this first rally of the year. Mary de Klerk and Rob Jonkers presented a Navigation workshop the previous week, so everyone was keen to exercise their new-found knowledge in this rally.

The route map and photo sheets

Route Planner Cally Eckard gave the teams the task of flying two back-to-back arcs, which are curved tracks between two turn-points and a follow-the-feature, where they had to fly along a road. All navigators plotted the arc perfectly:- the pilots flew them accurately and really enjoyed the challenge.

Frank and Cally and some of the competitors during the briefing

Sadly, drizzle and low cloud kept some of the entrants grounded at their home airfields, but for local pilots, the skies cleared early enough for them to fly through just in time for the briefing by Competition Director Frank Eckard, so there was no delay in the start time for the rally. The sky continued to clear during the course of the morning, but strong winds challenged the pilots on some of the legs, making it difficult for them to maintain their allocated speeds.

Plotting is serious business

Use of Google photos which were taken in mid-winter were also difficult to match up to the current terrain after soaking summer rains which have coloured the landscape a lush green.

Andre Kluyts and Don Lucas

Leon Boutell and Karin Purchase

Tony and Pam Russell flew from Cape Town and rented a C172 at Rand in which the participated

Jonty Esser and Mary de Klerk

Milan Daniz and Caroline Koll

Quintin Tayler and Derick Bird

Father and Son Hendrik and Jandre Loots

Thys vd Merwe and Kerry Matthysen

Shane Britz and Karen Stroud

Edzart Verseput (left) and Michael Crause (extreme right

The route took them west from Rand Airport, over Soweto, with the Start Point the train station at Nasrec, then the two arc between Carletonville and Fochville, skirting north of Vanderbijlpark, before turning northwards for the return journey over Ennerdale to a tricky Finish Point which was the "Stirrup Club".

Some of the tracks. The logger in the last one unfortunately stopped working at turn point two

Although none of the results were of National standard, there are many rallies and training opportunites between now and the World Champs, and we hope to put together five "A" team and five "B" team partnerships to give SA the best chance of a good team result.

Jonty Esser and Mary de Klerk won Class 1 Advanced and the Rand Airport Floating Trophy

Tony and Pam Russell finished in second place

with Andre Kluyts and Don Lucas in third

The Rand Airport Trophy, donated by Rand Airport, was won by seasoned rallyers Jonty Esser (pilot) and Mary de Klerk (navigator).

Michael Crause and Edzart Verseput finished first in Class 3 Sportsman

Thys vd Merwe and Kerry Matthysen won the Class 2 Intermediate

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of this sport and are all very motivated to take part in the next rally events:
7 March - Brakpan Rally (Classes 1, 2 and 3)
3 - 5 April - Rally Nationals in Stellenbosch (Class 1 only)
5 April - Stellenbosch Rally (Classes 1, 2 and 3)
8 August - Rally Training Camp in Brits (Class 1)
22 August - Krugersdorp Rally (Classes 1, 2 and 3)
3 October - Witbank Rally (Classes 1, 2 and 3)
Look out also for our very exciting Speed Rallies.
Please see our website for our events calendar

Events 2020

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