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PTAR 2022 – Gala Dinner and Prize Giving

By Garth Calitz

The Windmill Casino was the venue for the long-awaited gala dinner and the all-important prize-giving, many of the crews had an agonizing few hours waiting for the final results but this was all about to end.

On arrival, all the visitors were welcomed with a glass of sherry, in the frigged Bloemfontein temperatures this proved most welcome. Starters were served and then it was time for the formalities. David Le Roux, Race Master for this edition of PTAR introduced Franz Smit who had worn two hats for the event, Franz was not only on the organising committee but his company PilotInsure was also one of the sponsors.

Franz thanked all the sponsors for their dedication to the event and reminded everyone that without sponsors events like this just would not be possible.

Mr Heinrich Slabber from Holborn Assets group, The headline sponsor for this event, was asked to say a few words. Heinrich announced that his company will not only be supporting the PTAR but will be the headline sponsor of the Speed Rally competition as well. The Speed Rally format is what is now used at the PTAR as there are up to five Speed Rallies a year this is used as a testing ground for the PTAR.

Leon Bottell, chairman of SAPFA, was asked to share a few words at which time he officially announced that the Race Director, Rob Jonkers, would be stepping down and handing this responsibility to Iaan Myburgh. Rob took control of the PTAR at a very difficult time when the very future of the race hung in the balance, against all odds Rob managed to save the race with the help of a new format devised by himself and Jonty Esser. Rob your contribution to PTAR will not go unnoticed, Thank you very much for all the hard work.

Rob took to the stage to thank all those involved in the race organisation, particularly the Bloemfontein Flying Club under the key organiser Andre Grobler and the experienced PTAR event coordinator, who had provided the ground marshals, turn-point marshals, and all the catering at the airfield. Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer with the ATNS team of Benji Phukubje and Ricardo Afonso, SA Weather Services, ARCC, Bloemfontein Emergency Services team of Braam van Zyl, the CAA Special Air Events team, the local Municipality & SAPS.

A delicious main course was then served with many of the participants getting more and more anxious as the time for the prize-giving grew closer. But, before we got to that long time PTAR participants were presented with pins commemorating their support of this prestigious race.

Finally, the time had arrived for the presentation of all the trophies, The DJA Aviation Trophy for outstanding airmanship was awarded to Kassie and Jean Pierre Kasselman. The team of Gerhard Mew and Percy Rudman Snr were the less than enthusiastic recipients of the Stayers Trophy for finishing under exceptional circumstances after they missed the first turn-point and lost time when they backtracked, it must be noted that the rest of their route was very close to perfect.

Ulrich Kasselman, grandson of the famous Kassie received the ATNS trophy for being the youngest competitor. Michael Heffill and Derick Reinhardt were presented with The Brink Trophy for being the first novice team to complete the course.

The Kassie Kasselman trophy was presented to Apie and Frederik Kotzee, last year's joint winners as they were the first of many parent and child teams. Leon Bouttell and Martin Meyer, also last year's joint winners received the John Sayers Trophy for the first placed turbocharged aircraft in their Evektor Harmony.

The Natal Advertiser Trophy for the fastest aircraft and crew once again went to Dieter Bock and Brendan Boraine in the speedy Lancair 2000. Leon Joubert and Jonty Esser were honoured with the Dolph Kruger Trophy for the first homebuilt aircraft to finish in Leon's beautiful Lancair ES, Jonty and Leon were sadly not present.

The RV Trophy goes to the first RV home, this year it was awarded to Johan van Zyl and Eric Addison in their RV7. Stefan Lombard and Martiens Marais managed to keep all the other Pipers at bay in their PA-24 Comanche to win the Placo Trophy. The first Cirrus to pass the line was crewed by Ryan and Chris Shillaw earning them the Cirrus Trophy. The Comair Trophy was presented to Phil and Scott Wakeley for fending off the rather large field of Cessna’s of all types. The final aircraft type trophy was for the first Beechcraft home this went to Lex and Christo Erasmus in a Bonanza.

The Club Trophy was awarded to Letaba Flying Club for the performance of Stefan Lombard and Martiens Marais who came all the way from Tzaneen to Participate, this feat also assured them the Letaba Flying Club Trophy for the best place Far Northern Province aircraft and crew. The Stellalander Trophy went to Mark Goedger and Mario Febbraio for being the first Cape-based team home. John Sayers and Dion Raath earned themselves the Hoofstad Pers Trophy for the first Norther Province team to finish. Dion and John were adjudged to have performed best against their handicap earning them the Professional Aviation Trophy, they must have pushed the Harvard to the absolute limit over the 300nm course.

With all the “minor” awards taken care of, it was time to announce the winners of PTAR 2022. In third place and the recipients of the Vincent Maclean Trophy was the team of Johan van Zyl and Eric Addison who fly out of Springs airfield in Gauteng.

Dion Raath and John Sayers who hail from Hoedspruit and Hekpoort respectively walked away with the Air Charter Trophy for the second-placed aircraft and crew in their North American T-6G Harvard “Mighty Mouse”

The winners of the coveted Presidents Trophy and the honour of wearing the revered black race winners jacket went to the team of Stefan Lombard and Martiens Marais flying a beautiful Piper PA-24 Comanche.

With the award ceremony done there was only one piece of business still to conclude and that is the handing over of the official Presidents Trophy Air Race flag to the host of next year's race. Deon Loots the chairman of Bloemfontein Flying Club called on Jock Nel, chairman of the Middelburg Aero Club to receive the flag and effectively the responsibility of organising the 2023 PTAR. I have no doubt the good people from Middelburg will be more than up to the task judging from their history of organising major events like the Aero Club Air Week. See you all in Middelburg next year as the history of the prestigious air race continues.