The 17th Rand Airport Challenge Nav Rally 28 Feb 2021

By Willie Bodenstein

Thirteen teams, twelve in the Advance Class and one in Sportsman, entered for the Rand Airport Challenge that was postponed from January because of inclement weather. Althought not perfect on Saturday conditions were flyable and the first aircraft eventually took off almost an hour after the planned time. By then, Ron Stirk and Hans Schwebel had withdrawn due to bad weather forecasted on their route home to Brits.

With the SAPFA National Rally Flying Championships set to take place from 15 to 17 Apr 2021 at Stellenbosch Airfield, time is running out for teams to qualify for the 22nd FAI World Rally Flying Championship, set to also take place at Stellenbosch from the 6 to 20 November 2021.

The cockpit of Rob Jonker's and Martin Meyers steed before the race

Jonty Esser and Sandi Goddard finished in 1st place

Adrian Piling and Mary de Klerk were 2nd in ZS-KSF after NBN went US……..3rd were Mike Heffill and Leon Boutell

4th went to Hendrik and son Jeandre Loots………Rob Jonkers and Martin Meyers was placed 5th

Piet Meyer and Adrienne Visser finished in 6th place

Saturday's route planned by Cally Eckhardt took into account the fact that most teams have had little experience this past year and that teams need lots of practice in order to be prepared for Nationals. Her route was a mixture of super-easy and quite challenging sections. This allowed for everyone to be able to focus on aspects of their game in which they need to improve.

7th place went Andre Kluyts and Don Lucas

Father and son Ryan and Chris Shillaw 8th…………Fanie Scholtz and Herman Haasbroek 9th

Father and son Apie and Frederick Kotzee 10th ………………Tarryn and Iaan Myburg 11th

Stephen Sands and Neil de Lange were the only Sports man competitors

In order for teams to qualify for selection for the World Championships, teams need to score less than 692 points. At this stage and with the results from yesterday's rally, only one team would have qualified for selection.

However, that said, our local pilots will have the advantage of flying their own aircraft in terrain that most are familiar with. There is no doubt in my mind that Team SA will make us proud. We have after all been world champions in this aviation sport and have almost always performed admirably when competing abroad and under extremally difficult conditions.

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