The Witbank Speed Navigation Rally - 26 March 2022

By Rob Jonkers. Photos by Rob and Willie Bodenstein

The field early on Saturday morning taken from inside Apie and Frederick Kotzee's R66, my ride for the day.

This first of the 4th Season Speed Rallies for 2022 was held at Witbank and was organised by SAPFA and hosted by the Witbank Aeronautical Association. This was the 3rd event held at Witbank in the series, which also had to be postponed due to weather issues on the original date of 5th March, the weather forecasting being fickle at best, but looked eventually flyable on the 5th and as Competition Director, you are damned for making those weather-related callsÖ. one way or the other, especially up here on the reef where weather changeability is so prevalent within hours.

The ground marshals who behind the scenes does sterling work.

And so does ATNS. Saturday in was the turn of Kruger Based Clerence Mngomezulu's turn.

Safety Officer Nigel Musgrave with the good folk from CAA who was their in an oversight role.

The change of date saw some competitors having to withdraw but at least others could join. Similarly, we had officials planned that also had to drop out, but the WAA stepped up with an additional ground support team to help out, with the end result that we had a fun & safe event.

There were 20 entries, but with the early morning weather situation on the highveld, many attempted to get to Witbank, but had to turn back or could not take-off, reducing the field to 15. Only two competitors had arrived on Friday before significant thundershowers made their appearance.

Century Avionics's Shane and Mark as always were there to ensure that all was in order as far as instruments were concerened.

The traditional Friday evening briefing was cancelled, so the full briefing was then planned for Saturday morning, where the club provided a nice Friday dinner spread for the teams, officials and club members, before retiring for the evening.

David, Rob and Iaan and some of the competitors during the briefing.

Competitors, organisers and others after the briefing.

Saturday morning dawned with more promising weather; the predicted low cloud did not materialise and by 9 am, the cloud base had risen to around 6000 ft, with light and variable wind. The briefing was delayed to 9h30 am and was concluded at around 10 am, where everybody assembled for a group photo and then to park their aircraft and prepare for the scrutineers. The route for the day was one with a cross over to the east of the field, with the first series of legs to the north-west and the 2nd series of legs to the north-east.

First away Father and son Apie Kotze being waved off by Hans Schwebel.

Followed by another father and son team, Henderik and Jeandre Loots.

Dave Naude and Piet Meyer were third to take to the sky.

1st take-off was planned at 11h20 with arrivals expected at 12h45. With all the competitors off towards the northwest, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turn points, especially TP6 which required good navigating skills to find the dust road intersection from among the same colour surroundings. From the results, this turn point seems to have been difficult to home onto. There were two groups coming over the line, those that were a bit early as they had got waylaid along the course and a group that were accurate with their navigating skills and getting over the line close to their handicap times.

After all teams had returned and were safe on the ground, the scoring team got to work to analyse the results, with the tracks for a number of entrants being quite accurate, although some had wobbles and three had got significantly lost. As everybody essentially left for home, it was left to the scoring team to complete their work off line and hold a virtual prize giving as done at previous events, which commenced at 8 PM.

Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman

For the Navigation Accuracy category, third place went to Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV, in 2nd place Apie & Frederick Kotzee in their Robinson R66 ZS-HRS and in 1st place Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK.

Hendrik & Jandre Loots

For the Handicap/Speed category, third place went to Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV, in 2nd place Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK and in 1st place Apie & Frederick Kotzee in their Robinson R66 ZS-HRS.

Apie & Frederick Kotzee

Overall, Winners in third place went to Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV, in 2nd place Apie & Frederick Kotzee in their Robinson R66 ZS-HRS and in 1st place Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK.

Many thanks to the Witbank Aeronautical Association for hosting this fantastic event, supporting it with logistics and great meals available throughout the day. Thanks, are also extended to Nigel Musgrave who acted as the Safety Officer, Iaan Myburgh for doing the scoring as well as taking up the Deputy Event Director role, Marc Robinson and his team from Century Avionics, who officiated the scrutineering and Martin Meyer & Hans Schwebel, who conducted the start duties. Thanks, are also extended to ATNS for supporting ATC for this event.

Finally, a big thanks to our sponsors, namely Prompt Roofing, Beagle Tracking, Gem Air and Aviation Direct.

Our next Speed Rally event will be held in Kroonstad on the 25th June 2022

A very nice track

Oops - Turned a bit early on most of the turn points.

Events 2022

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