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Seventeen regional ARC entries bolstered the Algo Rally field and after an early morning single pass recce teams completed the popular parade through Jeffreys Bay before the action started with a popular spectator stage at Mentorskraal. The prospect of three stages running in the dark and returning to Longmore Forest setting the scene for an action packed day of rallying.

Defending Western Cape champions, Owen Jones and Aden Bredenkamp, started their ARC Algoa Rally in fine style when they totally dominated round 3 on Friday 7 July 2023. Neither Shaun Jones or Jonathan Bright needed to break into a sweat as the 454 ARC1 Subaru Impreza WRX STi 4×4 Turbo 2.0 won all six stages with comparative ease.

Johan Viljoen and Riaan van Huysteen (who was standing in for regular navigator Juane Viljoen) impressive with a steady and determined drive to second place in the Jesus Saves 581 ARC3 VW Polo. Unbeknown to them the CV boots were damaged and the popular watersplash removed traded all the grease with grinding mud. Juan van Rooyen and Tarryn van Rooyen served notice of their intent with a fine third place in the neat Innova 524 ARC4 VW Polo.

Jody van Zummeren and James Johnson were getting better as the event progresses and the ex-Bryan Heine 579 ARC3 Datsun P510 Coupé 2.0 ran without any hiccups to record an encouraging fourth overall , just 5.5 seconds clear of a recovering Deon Kretzman and Jason Schneider in their neat 515 ARC4 Triple L Plant VW Polo. Deon starting his day with a spin on stage one, but they were clearly getting into the groove.

Etienne Malherbe and Patrick Vermaak enjoyed a somewhat frustrating day in the 54 ARC3 Silverton George Datsun 160U SSS as a selector issue made finding second gear on the downshift and third on the upshift somewhat of a challenge. But, not even two left front punctures could wipe the smiles of their faces as the Longmore Forestry stages were designed for sideways rear wheel driven rally cars. Sixth overall and 1st Clubmans still satisfying as a result.

Jeandre Marais and Tegan Taljaard only 5 seconds down on the Datsun in their Castrol liveried Ocean Truck Sales supported 547 ARC4 Toyota Conquest RSi. A left rear shockabsorber issue delayed the progress of Oliver de Man and Craig Stepp in their Ocean Truck Sales 501 ARC3 Toyota Corolla 2.0 but they were getting comfortable in the rear wheel driven ex-Leif Asterhag / Jan Hettema classic.

Marco Griessel did not know whether he was wearing a nervous smile or smiling in fear as he stated that veteran driver Riekus Schmidt was compensating for the lack of power in their ninth place 513 ARC5 VW Polo by simply never taking his foot off the accelerator, finishing just 1.2 seconds slower than the Corolla after six stages.

Completing the top ten was Jeandré Coetzer and Vincent Davies in their Ocean Truck Sales 514 ARC4 Toyota Corolla RXi with the spectacular Toyota powered 575 ARC3 BMW E36 of Eddie Banks and Morris Brown eleventh. He really does enjoy driving this car and spectators love it.

Gary Heine and Demi Kretzman twelfth in their 517 ARC5 VW Polo with matriculant Ulrich Roberts and teacher Wesley Schultz bringing the first of the two Daniel Pienaar Motorsport cars, the 531 ARC5 VW Golf MkI, home in thirteenth spot. Fourteenth going to their stablemates, De Villiers Wessels and Francois Anker, in the Daniel Pienaar Motorsport 532 ARC5 VW Polo 250. 318 ARC3 VW Polo Vivo

Sadly Francois Laubscher and Mark Irvine were forced to retire their Castrol liveried and Ocean Truck Sales supported 578 ARC4 Toyota Conquest with a broken CV locking the wheels on SS4. The highly rated challenge from Clyde Challenor and Grayham Bishop in their 318 ARC3 VW Polo Vivo only lasted four stages whilst Ross Bartle and Roxanne Bartle was even less fortunate and called it a day after three SS in their 519 ARC3 VW Polo.

With day one finishing around 21h00 for the regional entries the night was short to do repairs and prepare for Round 4 which saw documentation open at 06h00 Saturday 8 July 2023.

The stages were holding up nicely and the weather was perfect with little dust or standing water to be concerned about. With great support from spectators the Longmore Forest had a sting in the tail on Saturday with the penultimate stage a full 38km in length.

Jody van Zummeren and James Johnson sealed victory on Saturday with a great SS2 time and then consolidated their position with a steady drive in the Border Towing 479 ARC3 Datsun P510 Coupé. Juan van Rooyen and Tarryn van Rooyen shrinking their advantage with some impressive stage times in their 524 ARC4 Innova VW Polo to claim second, King of Longmore Forest and the Tissot watches award by Gabriels Jewellers for good measure.

Deon Kretzman and Jason Scneider kept the 515 ARC4 Triple L Plant VW Polo pointing in the right direction all day to finish in a fine third overall whilst Marco Griessel looked even more nervous having navigated Riekus Schmidt to fourth overall in the 513 ARC5 VW Polo. Losing a minute in the final stage possibly costing them third overall after a splendid effort.

Francois Laubscher and Mark Irvine recovered well from their day one mishaps to record fifth overall and 1st Clubmans in their Castrol liveried 578 ARC4 Toyota Conquest RSi with the similar looking 547 ARC4 Toyota Conquest RSi of Jeandre Marais and Tegan Taljaard sixth.

Oliver de Man and Craig Stepp may well have been higher up in thr finishing order but required some repairs along the way which resulted in 2min20 penalties to slot them into seventh overall in their Coastal Truck Sales 501 ARC3 Toyota Corolla 2.0.

Eddie Banks and Morris Brwn added 3mi in penalties to their total and the very sideways Toyota powered 575 ARC3 Wheeltech BMW E36 2.0 slithered into eighth overall. Schoolboys Ulrich Roberts and De Villiers Wessels again bringing their respective teachers Wesley Schultz and Francois Anker home in ninth and tenth overall.

Owen Jones and Aden Bredenkamp looked set to repeat their Friday domination but then powersteering started to play up and it is suspected that hydraulic fluid leaked onto the hot turbo in the middle of the 38km stage, creating a scary on board fire that could fortunately be contained with their on board fire extinquishers. Damage to be determined, but hopefully they will be back for the WPMC All Tar Rally on 5 August 2023 at the Killarney International Raceway.

Jeandré Coetzer and Vincent Davies attempted a shortcut down the side of the mountain but their 514 ARC4 Toyota Corolla RXi called it a day on SS4. Etrienne Malherbe and Patrick Vermaak suffered a right rear puncture (3rd for the event) on SS2 and being a Classic Rally Car the 1974 model 54 ARC3 Silverton George Datsun 160U SSS was only equipped with a standard crossover wheelbrace. Changing the wheel took some time …….

Then the Datsun remembered when Etienne broke the right rear swing arm in the same stage 10 years earlier and promptly did so again, in front of the spectators of course. And that was their day run on SS4. We mentioned the grinding paste in the CV’s of the 581 ARC3 Johan Viljoen and Juane Viljoen VW Polo? Well, a second attempt to wash it out on SS1 failed and their event was run.
Gary Heine and Demi Kretzman tried every trick but their 517 ARC5 VW Polo simply refused to start at Mentorskraal. Nick Davidson and Ashley Bezuidenhout must be considered super enthusiasts as they brought two cars to the event, but sadly neither reached the finish, the 522 ARC4 Stu Davidson & Sons VW Polo calling it a day after SS2.

The ARC spirit is alive and well and with some interesting events coming up the Eastern Cape Rally Championship as Juan van Rooyen and Tarryn van Rooyen find themselves leading the overall points table in their neat 524 ARC4 Innova VW Polo.

Round 5 of the ARC is set for 19 August 2023 as the Scribante Rally whilst the postponed second round will now be run on 30 September 2023. Another season highlight should be the return to the Amatola district near East London for rounds 6&7 on 10-11 November 2023.

Published by: Patrick Vermaak

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