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SAPFA Baragwanath Fun Rally

Johannesburg Light Plane Club hosted the latest’s edition on the South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) rally flying calendar. This rally, maybe due to the wonderful flying weather attracted many “new” competitors.

With the new points system every competitor stands a chance of being selected for the National Team which will compete in the World Championships that will be held in Stellenbosch in 2020. We will elaborate on the points system in our newsletter on Thursday.

For the first time in many Rallies’ the full field of entries, eighteen in total managed to arrive on the day. As it was a predominantly “newbie” field it was decided to incorporate training in the briefing. Each team was issued a blank full size 1:200 000 scale map as well as a smaller A4 map with the course already plotted, this could be used to aid the teams to plot the competition map.

Map of Route

The minute markers times and headings had to be worked out by the teams, if need the experienced Protea teams members were available to assist with this.

Teams Hard at work Plotting

The first aircraft got airborne at 10:30 and headed to the North to the start point which was situated just north of the N12 on the outskirts of Soweto, then they made their way to the Randfontein area, west to a farm house in the Ventersdorp region before returning southwards towards Carletonville, south past Westonaria with the finish point over Ennerdale. Some of the teams managed a near perfect track and some as can be seen on the right found things more difficult.

Two classes flew in this Rally, Unlimited and Fun, both flying the same route although the rules for each class vary quite considerably. In the fun class contestants are given a sequence of photos for recognition and they are limited to one per leg whereas the unlimited class get a ten scrambled photos and they need to identify and just to make things a little more exciting some of the Turn point photos are incorrect. The fun class had a window of fifteen seconds to pass through the gates where the unlimited class is limited to only two seconds.

As the teams returned the loggers were downloaded and the photo recognition sheets marked before the final scores could be announced. This is a mammoth task with such a big field and Rob Jonkers was assisted by Sandi Goddard.

First in the Fun class was Leon Bouttell and Karyn Purchase flying a Sportstar with a total of only 190 points, second place belonged to Pierre and Francois vd Merwe flying a Sling II with a very respectable score of 286, in third place was Phil and Scott Wakeley flying a C210 scoring only 322 points. All three the top teams flew a perfect track with no penalty points earned.

Leon Bouttell and Karyn Purchase

Pierre and Francois vd Merwe

Phil and Scott Wakeley

In the Unlimited Class, in first place were the Protea Team of Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk flying their C150 with a very good score of 261, in second place Thys vd Merwe and Sandi Goddard flying in a C172 that was being flown at full speed of 120kts having the engine being run in, which made navigation very difficult which could be the result of their 914 points, third place belonged to newcomers to the Unlimited class Shane Britz and Karen Stroud in a Jabiru who came in with a respectable 1277 points.

Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk

Thys vd Merwe and Sandi Goddard

Shane Britz and Karen Stroud

It is very encouraging to see such a large field taking part in a fun Rally and I hope the new contestants enjoyed the challenge and will return for the next one. Who knows the next world champion may have been amongst them.

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