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When Rozario Bonafede and Ralph Behm won the 1964 Western Province Rally Championship in their dedicated Le Mans specification Simca 1000 they created history as it then represented the very first regional championship in South Africa, of any sporting discipline.

Then controlling authority, the Royal Automobile Club, acknowledged the new championship with the RAC Floating Trophies and the Cape Rally Association presented the Bennie Truter Floating Trophies (father of Chris Truter). Hopefully these will be returned, updated and reinstated.

When veterans such as the 1975 Western Province Rally Drivers Champion, David Pike, attend with his not one, but two, regular navigators it certainly adds to the atmosphere. Robyn Pike did not enjoy navigating much, so she married David whilst her sister, Trunell, continued to read the notes.

Finishing the 1975 championship tied on points with one D.Hodson, Trunell Pike was most unfortunate not to become the first female Western Province Rally Navigators Champion.
Acknowledging the achievements of those who gave their all in a sport that often requires everything and more certainly has to be the highlight of every season. That horrible little virus certainly stuffed up the world and inevitably it has had it’s influence on sport at all levels.

The 2023 Western Cape Clubs Class Championship may not have represented a full regional championship on paper but it certainly proved that the sport is slowly but surely gaining momentum again in each of the individual classes and at the time of writing a proper Western Cape Regional Rally Championship may well be on the cards in the 60th season.

Trevor Hodges and his CCMCC team presented the awards at the WPMC Clubhouse Killarney International Raceway and typical January heat made sure everyone stayed indoors. Trevor Hodges represented CCMCC and Billy Thorpe CPMCC with Joy Dolinschek (MSA), Robert Marle (President CPMCC) and Pierre van der Westhuizen (President WBMK) also present.
Many familiar faces, young and old, had the floor buzzing with all the memories before Trevor Hodges kicked off the awards. Starting by thanking the many faces that contribute to every event, behind the scenes, it was Fagerie Isaacs who stepped up first as WC Scrutineer, accepting his award from Chandré Dodgen.

Off course no event is possible without the Cape Rally Controls Group and they were well represented by nine members. Few will ever understand just how dedicated one has to be to maintain the high standards required to make an event succeed. The ever smiling and entertaining manner of Sean Kriel tipping the scales in his favour as the WC Marshal of the Year.

Everyone sees the 0 car on events, but few realise the responsibility this crew has on each event and when former champions volunteer their services it takes a fair measure of pressure off the organising club knowing that they have experience on their side. The Teletubbies alias Thorsten “Pau” Pay and Mark “Dipsey” Palmer recognised for their contribution in the “Having Fun, Having a Ball” Landrover Discovery V8.
At least they know Billy Thorpe and his Toyota Fortuner is always on standby with a trailer.

Of course once everyone has reached Parc Fermé and Follow-Up gets back to base the Scorer becomes the most popular person present and Jeanine Gray provides the answers. Eric Joseph and Patrick Vermaak accepting recognition for their contribution annually before the individual teams were called onto stage.

The consistent team of the Western Cape took third overall in class S3 with another consistent run in Liewe Lulu. Julian Calvert and Nick Knights once again proving that finishing every event reaps benefits. Second place in the class went to brother and sister Edas, Juneyed and Reyanah and topping the class was Seraaj Amlay and Ziyaad Amlay. Proving quick and consistent in their Toyota they certainly raised the bar in this category. Riyaan sal moet uithaal en wys in 2024!
Gareth Vernon and Craig Gray finished third in class, but they never drove together and ditto for Rupert van Zyl and Lloyd Brady in second spot and sadly that also affected Warren Köhler and Marius Swart in first place. Starting the season very confident in their Köhler Pac S4 BMW E36 325i had Warren Köhler and Lloyd Brady look like the winning crew, but a mid season shunt left Lloyd with a broken foot and the loss of points resulted in splitting Gareth Vernon / Marius Swart as well as Rupert van Zyl and Craig Gray.

Suffice to say Inus du Plessis and Piet Carinus won class S5 with Llewellyn Jones and Christophe Pichon second and Paul van Wyk / Aden Bredenkamp third.
With no overall championship to play for the prizegiving was concluded with a touch of longing for more in 2024.

The new season will in fact be the 60th and the Western Cape Rally Championship is the oldest regional sport championship in South Africa.

The CPMCC Porterville Rally will be the opening round on 2 March 2024 and the new reverse direction route should level the playing field in every class as well as potentially being much dryer with the earlier date.
Be there!

Published by: Patrick Vermaak

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