Springs Season Finale Speed Navigation Rally - 28 Nov 2020

By Rob Jonkers

Photos by Willie Bodenstein, Rob Jonkers and Mary de Klerk

The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) together with our main sponsor Aircraft Unlimited, organised the 2020 season finale Speed Navigation Rally on Saturday 28th November 2020.

Although strictly not planned to have been the end of the 2nd season, 2020 being a year what it is, with reduced events, we decided to review the events and shorten the 6 per season to 4, so season 2 started and ended at Springsin order that season 3 would start and end in 2021.

For the overall season, scoring the best of 3 events would count towards the season's results.

Ivan van der Schaar in the Aircraft Unlimited branded Boeing Stearman celebrated the event with a brief display

As the event has evolved, changes have been brought into play, all with the participation of the organisers and competitors. For this season the overall distance was reduced to 138 nm (from 150 nm), a handicap overspeed penalty was instituted and allowance to fly with a GPS track-made-good magnetic heading reference. For this final season 2 event, 32 entries were received. Springs 2019 was also the debut of the Grand-Prix circuit and was also planned this year, a format that has also evolved over the last four GPs.

Some of the participating aircraft

The route was mostly to the east and south of the airfield, with a bit more of a scenic route than previous events going close to the Vaal Dam. The weather on Friday started out really well, the forecast giving an indication to late afternoon thundershowers, which were lurking towards the west. Test flights commenced with some new entries requiring test flights and some old entries wanting to retest to re-confirm their handicaps. The test flights were done by Mark Clulow and Sean Cronin and had to be curtailed after 3PM as the weather deteriorated.

Saturday mornings briefing

At 18h30, Jonty Esser, as the MC introduced Rob Jonkers, who took to the stage and provided a briefing on what to expect for the next day in terms of the planned route, how many turn points, distance, departure and arrivals protocol. He also elaborated as to how the scoring system worked in terms of penalties as well as the expected weather conditions, which looked like overcast to start with but lifting after 9 am and 10+ kts of gusty northerly winds.

Aircraft on the field on Saturday

Mark & Shane from Century Avionics were on hand to block off / seal Aircraft GPS and autopilot systems. Scorers, Dirk and Louna de Vos taking a break

Rob during the Saturday briefing and Jonty during the Saturday evening's prize giving

Jonty and owner Andrew Lester owner of the sponsors, Rand Airport based Aircraft Unlimited

Jonty Esser then took to the stage in his signature competing crew introductory theme song videos and race number handouts and also included introductions to the event and team sponsors. For this event, an event sponsor was secured in the form of Aircraft Unlimited, an AMO based at Rand Airport. Jonty proudly introduced the new owner Andrew Lester and his team and advised that they would also provide AMO support for aircraft during the event. Thereafter everybody was treated to a buffet meal before retiring for the evening to the music of one of the competitors Leon Joubert and his band re-living the 70s real music era.

Competitors and organisers before the start of the racing

Some of the competitors prior to the start of the rally

Saturday morning dawned with windy and low overcast cloud conditions. The decision was made to start the briefing an hour later at 9 am with the start to commence an hour and a half later at 11h30 for an over the field arrival at 1 PM. Once the shortened briefing was over, everybody prepared their aircraft and got themselves sorted into the parking bays. Aircraft were then also scrutineered with all portable electronic devices sealed up in bags. For this event Mark & Shane from Century Avionics were on hand to also block off / seal Aircraft GPS and autopilot systems.

The start line manned by Sean Cronin and Mark Clulow

Scrutineers Lizelle, Louna, Bernhardt and Adrian were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices

Scrutineers Lizelle, Louna, Bernhardt and Adrian were on hand to seal up all portable GPS capable devices, handing out papers at the allotted time and also checked the fuel tanks were full. Starters Mark Clulow and Sean Cronin set up at the starting line adjacent the threshold of Runway 03, who would release each aircraft at their allotted time slot. Each team then received their envelopes with their loggers at 20 minutes prior take-off time and taxied to the starting line within 10 minutes of brake release. 1st take-off was at 11h30 for the slowest aircraft and last take-off at 12h100 with a planned arrival at 1 PM.
With all the competitors off towards the east, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turn points with some river crossing also thrown into the mix and a little more scenic than previous Springs events. In general, the competitors found the course easy enough this time round, with the photographs now in larger format to identify the ground features more prominently and which can be seen in the results, where many had a clear round in their tracks. Just before 1PM, the first aircraft appeared over the line and was a little early. It was then followed by at least three quarters of the field all within a minute, with tail enders after that.
After all teams having returned, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, completing the individual scores by 3 PM. A season ending gala prize-giving evening was arranged, which turned out really well as most of the teams stayed over or got dressed in their finest black tie. The evening got under way at around 6 with starter platters and then at 7 with Rob Jonkers showing everybody's tracks - from the most accurate to the most creative. Jonty had Andrew from Aircraft Unlimited and Rob Jonkers hand out certificates to each of the teams. Prize-giving got underway with three trophies going to best husband and wife team - Eric and Antoinette Addison, best Father and Son team - Apie & Frederik Kotzee and best school entry - Legend Sky from Rhino Park. The most creative track trophy went to the first-time entrant Chipmunk team of Grant Timms and Duncan Ritchie.


2nd & 3rd

The GP race winners were Dane Laing in an RV4, Johan van Eeden & Cor Esterhuisen in an RV7 took 2nd place and Leon Joubert in a Lancair in 3rd place

Handicap season results placings

Accuracy navigation Season results placings

Season overall placings

This was followed by the Springs event results in navigation accuracy, handicap and overall. As this was the end of the 2nd season, the season results and winners in each of the categories were also announced. The final results for all the teams for Springs and the season will be posted on the Speed Rally website.

In the tower from Search and Rescue were Santjie White and daughter Jean Michelle with ATNS's Marcus Pitner and Gladwin Sekgobela

Jonty then thanked all the officials who put in the effort to make the Speed rally what it has become which included Adrian Cronje as the Chief Marshall, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Dirk de Vos doing the scoring, Mark Clulow & Sean Cronin for doing test flights and starting, Marc & Shane for Century Avionics for Scrutineering, Lizelle Kruger, Louna de Vos, Bernhard Jansen for handing out competition papers to the crews as well as Scrutineering (we missed Chareen Shillaw who could not join this time round). Also thanked were Jonty & Lizelle & Sandy for putting together an awesome Friday evening launch event and Gala Dinner on Saturday, the ATNS team for managing the ATC for the weekend and Santjie White for being everybody's Guardian Angel. Thanks also to the East Rand Flying Club for the excellent airfield facilities.

More participating aircraft

Also to the sponsors Aircraft Unlimited, who was the main sponsor of the event, Flightline Weekly for sponsoring the race numbers, team sponsors JB Electrical - Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer, Fast Flame Laser Cutting - Hendrik & Jandre Loots and Johan van Eeden &Cor Estrehuiz, Beegle Micro Trackers - Quintin Kruger and Johan Whiteman, Prompt Roofing - Leon Joubert and Sandi Goddard

Our next Speed Rally event will be in Witbank in the 6th of February 2021.

1st placed Race 5's accurate track

Oops - We went to Nigel instead

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