Springs Season Finale Speed Navigation Rally - 27 Nov

Photos by Willie Bodenstein and Rob Jonkers

Participants, organisers and officials pose for a photo on Saturday morning after the briefing.

The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) organised the 2021 Season finale Speed Navigation Rally on Saturday 27th November 2021 to take place at Springs, this being the 4th event in Season 3 of the Speed Rally series. As a season finale, it would end with a black-tie gala dinner on the Saturday evening against the standard already set in 2020 ending Season 2. Our Season 3 events were held in Witbank, Middelburg, Secunda and lastly Springs.

Some of the Saturday competitors. Many could not attend because of the weather at their home fields.

Century Avionics' Sean and Mark were, as per usual, present to assist with the disabling certain devices

Holding such events in the height of the rainy season has its risks, doubly so with this past week's weather characterized by a cut-off low, which brought abundant rain to all our provinces with significant flooding, particularly in the Cape, where it is unusual to have summer rainfall of this sort of magnitude. Thus, lots of weather watching and predictions were the order of the day from the beginning of the week and it seemed that it would be ok by Saturday.

The weather radar picture at around 11h30 with the rain bank stationary towards the south.

However, it was not to be and even the previous day's predictions did not feature with no rain forecast and the cloud base lifting to 7000 ft. Come Saturday, after a rainy Friday, the rain clouds kept rolling in and even after seeing the possibility of a big storm cell moving fast towards the south-west that would have the skies clear later, did not come to pass. By 11h30, that cell just stayed put over the Heidelberg area and slowly moved eastwards bringing drenching rain to Springs with it. The rally was earmarked to start with papers at midday and with the situation as it turned out, Rob had to make the call to cancel. With the weather out north and east still clear, it allowed competitors to fly to their home fields in their chosen direction.

That left the gala dinner to take place in Gavin Brown's Classic Wings hangar with a great backdrop of two Tiger Moths and two Chipmunks. The décor was being prepared during the day, with guests numbering around 90, began arriving at 6 pm.

David le Roux and the author.

Everybody was seated by 18h45 and Race Master David le Roux opened the proceedings with thanks to all the helpers, officials and the Springs Flying Club for hosting this event. The sponsors of the sponsored teams were given airtime to show their videos, with a new sponsor Safomar Aviation having just come on board with 3 teams, strutting their stuff. Thereafter Race Director Rob gave an overview of the difficulties encountered of the race that never was and an overview of the year's events, as well the planning being done for 2022's fixtures, along with the plan to look at other potential venues further afield.

The Trophies.

With the main course enjoyed by all, it was time for prize giving, where only the season's prizes could be handed out to the overall winners, fastest on handicap winners and accuracy winners. For this season, the top honours went to Mike Blackburn & Steven Briggs in their Yellow Sling ZU-IBM, Mike having been a competitor from the start of the Speed Rally series.

First L - R Steven Briggs and Michael Blackburn

Second Mary de Klerk and Phil Wakeley

Third Martin Meyer and Leon Bouttell

Season Overall Winners

Ryan and Chris Shillaw season's fasest team winner.

Second and third not present.

Season accuracy winners Fanie Scholtz and Herman Haasbroek not present.

Second Lourence Matthee not present and Christo Erasmus

Third Quintin Krugers and Johan Whiteman

Many Thanks to all the officials who put in the effort to make the Speed Rally series what it has become, namely Adrian Cronje as the Chief Marshall, Bernhard Jansen supporting marshalling, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Iaan Myburg doing the scoring, Mauritz du Plessis & Sean Cronin doing test flights and starting, Marc & Shane from Century Avionics for GPS & Fuel Scrutineering, Lizelle Kruger, Leoni du Plessis and Chareen Shillaw on papers handout with Chareen also acting as the Race Secretary. Scrutineering of the crew ably handled by Clarissa Dacostaesilva and Anthea Cronin. ATC from the Special Air Events team was always on hand to support our events, as well as Santjie White as our guardian angel. Anneke Pretorius supported us in the last two events for catering for the officials as well as for the season finale and who put together a fantastic gala dinner spread with all the décor and trimmings fitting for a black-tie event. Thanks also goes to David le Roux who took on the Race Master role, this being his baptism of fire event, as well as Frans Smit and the rest of the Pilot Insure team. Thanks also extended to the team at Springs, Raymond Ayre, Eric & Antoinette Addison who graciously supported the officials in their hangar and Gavin Brown for the use of the Classic Wings hangar for the gala dinner.

Without sponsors, these types of events would not be possible, thanks to Prompt Roofing, Beegle Tracking, Gemair Maintenance, Century Avionics and Safomar Aviation.

To round off the evening, an auction was held for 11 table cloths that were part of the décor of the dinner tables, each representing previous Speed Rally events and their competitors, the photos kindly provided by Flightline Weekly with the layout design done by Anneke Pretorius, the auction became very lively as the values went up with the first table cloth going for R500 and the last one going for R 4000! This was for sure a high note to close on the formal proceedings before Leon Joubert and his band WASP got everybody into the mood for party time.

Our next Speed Rally event will be in Witbank in the 5th of March 2022.

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