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Coertse & Godrich out to defend National Rally title

What    South African Rally Raid Championship Round 1 & 2 Preview
Where    Secunda, Mpumalanga
When    26-27 May 2023
Community    South Africa National

It is going to be a tough task for Chris Coertse and Greg Godrich to defend their South African National Rally Championship title when the 2023 season roars to life in Secunda on May 26 and 27. Chris and Greg will again campaign the RallyTechnic Mazda 2 that took them to victory last year but will be under huge pressure from 2021 winners Theuns Joubert and Schalk van Heerden’s Toyota Auris S2000.

The event in Secunda, better known as the Lake Umuzi Rally, has been renamed the Billy Te Water Rally this year in honour of a great friend, Rally Supporter and Sponsor, Billy Te Water, Owner of the TW Group where the popular Quarry stage is run every year. Billy tragically lost his life this year in January after he was struck by lightning on the very farm where part of the Rally is run.

However, when the dust has settled there can be only one winner – and with interest in the sport of special stage rallying growing steadily, there are a number of crews hoping to be the ones on the top step of the podium. In addition to the duo already mentioned, other top crews in the premier NRC 1 class include privateers  J.J Potgieter and Tommie du Toit’s Hyundai i20 and circuit convert Mandla Mdikane and Kes Naidoo’s Toyota Gazoo Racing Starlet.

The Swazi Cowboy, Jono Van Wyk and Nico Swartz have swopped their Ford Fiesta R2 car for a monster AR1 all-wheel drive Toyota Gazoo Racing Starlet previously driven by multiple Rally Champion Guy Botterill. Privateers Johan Strauss and Elzaan Venter will also be in action in their Subaru Impreza.

Despite being only 1,6-litre turbo engines, the NRC1 cars are rip-snorting beasts that make for spectacular spectator action as they four-wheel drift through corners. Alongside them are the AR1 cars that run with a 2,0-litre turbo engine but are specifically made in Africa, for Africa and qualify for the Africa Rally Championship.

Packing slightly less punch – but just as spectacular – are the 1,6-litre NRX2 cars that are two-wheel drive and the main contenders in this hotly contested class are privateer crews, Benjamin Habig and Barry White’s VW Polo R2, Magriet Potgieter and Rikus Fourie in a Ford Fiesta R2 and Gerald Klopper and Johan Auckamp’s Toyota Etios.

This season’s newcomers include Kim Fine and Etienne Lourens’ VW Polo 1000cc Turbo R2, and Gustav Potgieter with highly experienced navigator Carolyn Swan alongside him in their Ford Fiesta R2. Some 29 cars and crews will make the start at one of the most spectator-friendly events on the rally calendar with most of the action centred around Charl Cilliers.

The Service Park will be located on the Farm of Tjorrie Kruger, off Charl Cilliers on the outskirts of Secunda. Round 1 kicks off at 10:30 from Eastvaal Motors in Secunda on Friday morning. Planned at this stage are 7 competitive stages totalling 90 odd Kilometers of Racing.

Round 2 on Saturday, will see the rally kick off at 11:00 from Eastvaal Motors in Secunda. There will be a total of 6 Competitive stages throughout the day. The ever-popular TW Stene stage, named Billy this year, will offer great action that can be viewed from the banks of the quarry.  The action will move between Tjorrie Kruger’s farm and the TW Group property just off Charl Cilliers, making it spectator friendly and not needing to travel far between stages.

The rally organisers extend a heartfelt thank you again to their loyal sponsors. Johann and Serene Rosslee from Lake Umuzi, Eastvaal Motors Secunda, Tjorrie Kruger – Silkaatszkop and TNJ Properties, Dewald te Water – T.W Group, Debbie from Talisman Hire in Secunda.

The SA National Rally Championship prefers MRF Tyres.

Check SA Rally’s website,, and Facebook page for updates in the run-up to the Billy Te Water Rally.

Issued on behalf of SA Rally Championship

Photography by:  Jacques Mouton

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