By Garth Calitz
The World Rally Flying Championships are currently taking place atMâcon Airport located about 15 minutes North of Lyon in the quaint town of Charnay-lès-Macon in the Saône-et-Loire district in France. Four South African teams have taken up the challenge of competing in this, the pinnacle competition in the Rally flying world.
South African teams sadly do not receive any assistance from any sporting body in South Africa and the cost of competing is solely for the account of the competing teams. This includes their entry fee, travailing costs, aircraft rental for the duration of the competition and accommodation which in many cases is totally prohibitive for attendance in foreign competitions. Four teams however decided to take on the burden for the love of their sport and made their way to France.
Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe, both airline pilots, have emerged as the leading South African team after day one of the competition, they are currently in 14th place. Steve has taken up the baton from his father Thys who is a veteran of many World Rally Flying World Championships.
The second-placed South African team is the husband and wife team of Iaan and Tarryn Myburgh, Tarryn is the pilot and Iaan is the navigator. Tarryn and Iaan are products of the very popular Speed Rally competitions and made the transition to pure rally flying in 2019 hoping to take part in the 2020 World Championships were to be held in Stellenbosch, unfortunately, the competition was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic as it was the following year they finally earned their colours in 2021 for the worlds that were held in Brits.
Anthony and Pamela Russell are currently in the 35th position and are the third-placed SA team after the first day of competition. Anthony and Pamela hail from Cape Town and as with Tarryn and Iaan hoped to take part in the 2020 worlds in Stellenbosch.
Daniel “Apie” and Frederik Kotzee are yet another product of the Speed Rally competition and have gone on to become two-time winners of the prestigious Presidents Trophy Air Race. Apie and Frederik hail from the East Rand of Johannesburg and actually went out and acquired a C150 just to practise for Rally Flying competitions.
South Africa has also been asked to send three international judges to the competition they are Rob Jonkers, Barbara Freiboese and Martin Meyer. Leon Bouttell was appointed by the team as team manager and will be taking care of all the team's needs while in France.
We wish all teams well for the next couple of days and we will publish the full results in next week's edition.