The first Speed Rally of the 2022 season took place at Witbank Airfield on 26 March, the very popular Speed Rally concept has now entered its fourth season and remains very popular. Since the advent of the Speed Rally competition, many new competitors have been brought into the more serious Rally Flying Competitions.
The Speed Rally was scheduled to take place earlier in the month but had to be postponed due to bad weather that weekend. The weather for this attempt was only marginally better but a decision was taken to go ahead. Sadly, five of the entered teams had to withdraw as the weather at their respective bases was not flyable.
The change of date also saw some competitors having to withdraw and at least others could join. Similarly, we had officials planned that also had to drop out, but the WAA stepped up with an additional ground support team to help out, with the end result we had a fun & safe event.
The traditional Friday evening briefing and numbers function was cancelled as very few competitors could fly in on Friday, the standard Highveld afternoon thunder-showers kept them away. As a result, a full briefing would be held on Saturday morning once everyone had arrived.
Saturday morning dawned with more promising weather, the predicted low cloud did not materialise, and by 9 am the cloud base had risen to around 6000 ft, with light and variable wind. The briefing was delayed to 9h30 am and was concluded at around 10 am, where everybody dispersed first for a group photo and then to park their aircraft and prepare for the scrutineers. The route for the day was one with a cross over to the east of the field, with the first series of legs to the northwest, and the 2nd series of legs to the northeast.
1st take-off was planned at 11h20, and arrivals at 12h45. With all the competitors off towards the Northwest, the route had a mix of easy and challenging turn-points, especially TP6 which required good navigating skills to find the dust road intersection from amongst the same colour surroundings, from the results this turnpoint seems to have been difficult to home onto. There were two groups coming over the line, those that were a bit early as they had got waylaid along the course and a group that were accurate with their navigating skills getting over the line close to their handicap times.
After all the teams had returned and were safe on the ground, the scoring team got to work to analyze the results, with the tracks for a number being quite accurate, although some had wobbles, three had got significantly lost. As everybody essentially left for home, it was left to the scoring team to complete their work offline, and hold a virtual prize giving as done at previous events, which was done at 8 PM.
For the Navigation Accuracy category, third place went to Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV, in 2nd place Apie & Frederick Kotzee in their Robinson R66 ZS-HRS, and in 1st place Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK.
For the Handicap/Speed category, third place went to Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV, in 2nd place Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK and in 1st place Apie & Frederick Kotzee in their Robinson R66 ZS-HRS.
Overall Winners in third place went to Quintin Kruger & Johan Whiteman in their Cherokee 235 ZS-FVV, in 2nd place Apie & Frederick Kotzee in their Robinson R66 ZS-HRS, and in 1st place Hendrik & Jandre Loots in their Sling ZU-IHK.
Many thanks to the Witbank Aeronautical Association for hosting this fantastic event, supporting with logistics and great meals available throughout the day, Nigel Musgrave as the Safety Officer, Iaan Myburgh doing the scoring, as well as taking up the Deputy Event Director role, Marc Robinson and Shane Somerville from Century Avionics for Scrutineering, Martin Meyer & Hans Schwebel for doing Starting. Thanks are also extended to ATNS for supporting ATC for this event.
Also thanks to our sponsors, who sponsored our sponsored teams, Prompt Roofing, Beagle Tracking, Gem Air and Aviation Direct.
The next Speed Rally event will be in Kroonstad on the 25th of June 2022