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Bela Bela Miniature Pylon Racing

By Matthys Botha


With the Covid19 Restrictions being lifted, SAMPRA made their way to Bela Bela to continue the racing calendar for the remainder of 2021. The Venue was Bela Bela Airfield, with runways for days and space aplenty. The weather also played along nicely, making for some exciting and fast racing. Saturday Morning saw the pilots testing and doing some practice flights and the howl of Q40's in the wide-open spaces is something to experience.

Matthys Botha called all the pilots together for Pilots Briefing, along with the Club committee members of Bela Bela. We were also fortunate enough to have the CAA Present on the days flying. With the safety briefing complete, and the pilots informed of the days schedule it was time to get racing.

First up was Standard Quickies, a must fly class for those who want to have fun, and get those fingers loose for the rest of the day. The racing started off with Stuart Kirby still finding his feet with the new plane, but after round two he was on pace and raising some eyebrows in the pits area. Stuart had to retire early due to a loose servo tray and was very fortunate to be able to safely land the plane. it was then down to two Pilots, Eben Muller, and Matthys Botha. The Duo decided to ditch each other as callers and fly head to head from round three onwards. Matthys Started off nicely catching Eben, and narrowly beating him in the next two rounds, however in the final round Matthys could not get his plane started in time due to a Hydraulic lock, and Eben sailed to victory. Congratulations Eben it was a well-deserved win.

Next up was Hot Quickies, this class consist of a similar airframe that standard quickies, however, the Motors are much more tuned and they fly much faster. With four pilots making their way to the start line we were set for some serious racing as these boys can really move around the course. All four pilots started off nicely with Russel vd Westhuizen taking the first round, but it would seem that the practice of earlier started to pay off for Eben Muller as round after round he started flying faster and faster, ending the day with the fastest round flown 76.06, which is an official South African Record. Congratulations Eben!

Eben was also the Winner in the Hots class for the day, followed closely by previous record holder Russel Vd Westhuizen, and Trevor Budd taking the final position on the Podium. Well done guys!

Last but not least, Q40, and five pilots taking to the field.

Wound one started and saw some seriously close racing with all three pilots flying finishing within one second of each other. the following rounds saw the same close racing, however, there was one pilot who was on form, and he started pulling a substantial lead over the rest of the pack. We also had some early retirements which were unfortunate, with Matthys and Russel retiring due to engine problems on the day, better luck next time. This left the top three pilots to battle it out head to head and in the end, there was only one winner, a familiar sight at this point and also the only pilot to break into the 60s on three occasions during the day.

Eben Muller, Well done Eben, the hard work and practice paid off, and it is nice to see it all fall into place on the day. Second place was awarded to Trevor Budd, followed by Wayne Willcox.

A big thank you to all who made it to the racing. SAMPRA and its members would also like to extend their gratitude to the Bela Bela Club members and committee for allowing us to fly at their wonderful facilities. We would also like to thank our Sponsors, NewNation Construction and Easyweb. Special thanks go out to Rodney Willcox who was the braai master on the day, and the boerie rolls won't be soon forgotten as they were legendary!

That brought us to the end of a wonderful weekend away, and we will definitely plan another weekend to Bela Bela in 2022. Our next event for 2021 is still on the negotiation table, however, we hope to have closure on that in the near future. Please keep an eye out on our website for more information or follow us on social media the links are listed below.

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