Club Mykonos was the venue for the PTAR 2019 gala dinner and awards ceremony, the organisers couldn’t have chosen a better venue. After a very busy test flying and racing it was time to relax although the competitors were still very much on edge as they still had no idea who had one the race. The opening of the awards ceremony was delayed slightly due to the judging team having to compensate each team’s tracks and times as one of the turning points had to be moved to an alternative spot. The local farmer who’s land the turning point was supposed to be on decided to withdraw permission for the gazebo to be erected as his sheep had lambs and he was worried they would be disrupted.
Finally, the judging team arrived, and it was time for the formalities to get under way, Jonty Esser the Master of Ceremonies for the evening welcomed everyone and handed over the mic to SAPFA Chairman Rob Jonkers. Rob gave a breakdown of the days flying and showed some of the tracks that were flown, some very good, some not so good and some tracks looked as if the crew went to do a bit of sightseeing.
Jonty then introduced Lt Col Donovan Chetty, OC of Central Flying School based at AFB Langebaanweg, the race would never be able to take place in the Langabaan area without the buy-in of the SAAF as the route crossed directly overhead AFB Langabaanweg. Lt Col Chetty gave a very entertaining address on the disciplines of flying.
The Hon Marias Koen, Mayor of Saldanha gave an informative talk on the region and economy of the Saldanha area, I’m sure many of the people present had no idea how geographically large the area is and that it comprises of many small towns combined under one umbrella, the largest of which are Saldanha Bay, Langebaan and Vredenburg. Another interesting fact that he disclosed is that Saldanha Harbour is the deepest natural harbour in the Sothern Hemisphere, and it is one of the biggest iron ore transport terminals in the world.
After the speeches it was time for the awards ceremony, the first awards were long service badges. Chester Chandler made PTAR history by being the first person to ever receive an accolade for 40 years’ service to PTAR, Chester assisted with the running of the 1962 race and also competed as a navigator from 1971 to 1975, in 1976 he competed as PIC with his late wife as his navigator. Chester became the handicapper in 1984, a position he still holds today.
Thirty year badges were awarded to Jan Visser and John Sayers as competitors and Dirk de Vos as an official, Dirk was in charge of the loggers for the 2019 race with the large field that took part this must have been a daunting task.
Crista Greyvenstein received a twenty year badge on her birthday, she was joined by Barry de Groot as a fellow competitor, Ron Stirk and Deon van den Berg were awarded twenty year badges as officials.
The list of ten year badges was considerably longer Mary de Klerk, Phil Wakely, Ivan Marx, Martin Marx, Jolandi le Grange, Johan le Garnge, Mauritz du Plessis, Johann van den Berg, Adriaan Kleyn, Sarel van der Merwe, Jack Coetzer , Dieter Bock, Herbert Wentzel, Pieter de Beer and Bennie du Plessis all received badges as competitors. Hans Potgieter, Hans Schwebel and Sharon Potgieter received badges as officials.
The two main sponsors were given a chance to make a short address first up was the Marketing manager of AeroShell, followed by the owner of PilotInsure. PilotInsure are the leaders in life, Loss of License and dreaded disease insurance specifically for the aviation community.
Franz Smit is the man to contact if you are unsure if your cover includes your flying activities, it’s surprising how many pilots are not covered for general aviation activities.
Centaury Avionics, Dart Aeronautical and Bose donated wonderful prizes that were given away by means of a lucky draw, any of the navigators or pilots stood a chance of walking away with one of these amazing prizes. The prizes included a Garmin Smartwatch, Bose Speaker systems and a Host of Dart Aeronautical gift vouchers.
Now it was time for the business end of the evening, the long awaited trophies for each category of the PTAR. First up was the Natal Advisory Trophy awarded to the aircraft and crew that finished the course in the shortest overall time, there was no surprise as to who this would go, the Lancair flown by Dieter Bock and Brendan Boraine were by far the fastest in the pack.
The Lataba Flying Club trophy was awarded to John and Judy Lehman for being the first placed far Northern Provinces team home.
The Cirrus trophy was awarded to the one and only competing Cirrus crewed by Ryan and Chris Shillaw.
Eduard du Plessis and Hubert Wentzel Awarded the Comair Trophy for being flying the first Cessna to get home.
The Natal Mercury Trophy was awarded to Willem Nuwenhuizen and Pieter de Beer for being the first KZN based team.
Alwyn Burger and Charles Peck received the RV Trophy for being the First RV to get home as well as the Dolf Kruger Trophy for the first home built aircraft to finish.
Bennie du Plessis and Barry de Groot received the Beechcraft and the Phoenix Volkswagen for being both the first Beechcraft team home as well as the first Free State based team to end the race.
Johan Whitman and Quinton Kruger walked off with both the Placo Trophy for the first piper home and the Kassie Kasselman Trophy for the first father and son team
The ATNS Trophy was awarded to the youngest team to compete Jovan Barkenhuizen and Pieter Stofberg are only eighteen and nineteen, to compete in a race like that with very little experience is a major feat.
David Ross and James Braid, the current Speed Rally Championship leaders, walked off with the Brink Trophy for the leading novice team.
The Club Trophy was awarded to Kobus Nel and Martin Grunert for the best performance by a crew from the host club
Andrew Lane and James Pitman were awarded the John Sayaers Trophy for being the first turbo charged aircraft over the line, they were flying a Sling 4 which is manufactured by James’ company The Airplane Factory
The Stellander Trophy was awarded to Kobus Nel and Martin Grunert for being the first Cape based crew home. Kobus and Sarel van Merwe in their Moony were awarded the Southern African Moony Trophy as they were first Moony to cross the finish
Tina van Wyk followed in her mother’s footsteps and also became a recipient of the Wakefield Trophy for the highest placed lady pilot
Dieter Bock was adjudged to have demonstrated the most impressive airmanship throughout the competition and as a result received the Dennis Jenkalow & Associates Trophy
Only day two of the competition was run and the winner of the best handicap performance on day two was Kobus and Sarel van der Merwe
With all the other awards out of the way it was time for the main awards of the night, the ones that everyone had been waiting for first, second and third place. In third place it was the father and son team of Johan Whitman and Quinton Kruger in their Piper PA-28-235C
Second place belonged to the local pair of Kobus Nel and Martin Grunert in a Pipistrel Virus SW 100
And finally, we came to the overall winners and 2019 PTAR champions, Kobus and Sarel van der Merwe in a Mooney M20F, Well done to you and all the teams that participated.
Club Mykonos superb catering and venue made this amazing evening that will be remembered by all for a long time 2019 PTAR will be remembered for the many firsts that happened, first time the new format was used, first time that only one days racing was possible and a first for the new committee that manged to pull out a brilliantly organised event against all the odds
The venue for the 2020 PTAR will be Ermelo Airfield and it will be proudly hosted by the Ermelo Aeronautical Association, until next year thank you to everyone involved and we hope to see you all in Ermelo.