Saturday 2 February heralded the 3rd Speed Rally organised by SAPFA in the last few months the previous two were held at Springs and Secunda. After the success of the first two rallies Morningstar Flying Club, based at Morningstar Airfield, approached Jonty Esser to assist in organising a Speed Rally in the Cape. Dart Aeronautical stepped up as the main sponsor for the event they were joined by Sideslip Aviation Worx, Pilot Insure, Skye Plastics and Aero Shell without their generous contributions events like this would never get off the ground.
The two day event started on the Friday evening, with a training seminar for new and aspiring rally pilots, presented by experienced World Stage Rally Veterans, on what rally flying involved and how to successfully complete a rally. It was well attended by local pilots and proved a great success. All the necessary admin was completed and the officials were introduced to the teams. In a very upbeat function on Friday evening all the competitors were awarded their official race numbers.
Mary de Klerk sharing her vast experience
Race Numbers being Awarded
A total of 29 aircraft were entered into the rally and pilots came not only from the local community, but from upcountry as well. It was great to see them make the effort to travel down and enjoy the local hospitality.
The 29 crews met on Saturday morning and a briefing was held in the club house. Pilots were given all the information they needed and with much trepidation, the first aircraft departed just after 10:15. The route took pilots from Morningstar, via Paarl, Riebeek Wes, Tulbach, south of Mooreesburg, Darling and Atlantis before ending overhead Morningstar airfield.
Alderman Vos the Deputy Mayor of Cape Town wished the team’s good luck and thanked SAPFA and the organisers for promoting this type of events in support of the local economy of the Western Cape.
The Deputy Mayor with the organisers from SAPFA and Morningstar Flying Club
Unfortunately the weatherman played a role in the route, low cloud and some thunderstorm activity and rain along the route, meant that several pilots decided they could not continue and elected to return safely to base. Those that decided to continue had to take a few diversions around the weather and as a result missed turning points along the course.
The teams that opted to completed the course managed to more or less arrive overhead the airfield at their allocated times and the large crowd was kept entertained watching aircraft fly overhead and complete their landings.
Special thanks are due to the time keepers, judges and marshals for the sterling work they did, to ensure the rally was incident free, properly run and safely completed. The handicapper and logging processor, for the event was Dirk de Vos. Nigel Musgrave once again stepped forward as the Safety Officer.
Officials Hard at Work
Whilst the marshallers and time keepers worked through the results and checked all the necessary data, the crowd was entertained by Mark Hensman, who provided a stunning aerobatic display overhead the airfield in his MX2.
The Speed Rally format was developed specifically as a new format for the Presidents Trophy Air Race, to be held in May at Saldanha. It was an ideal opportunity for the local aviation community to practice and hone their rally skills. Taking this into consideration, it was a pity that so few local pilots partook in this rally.
Special thanks are due to the Morningstar Flying Club, under Chairman Ross Leighton, for hosting the event and making it the great success it was.
The next speed rally will be taking place in Middleburg on the 8th and 9th of March 2019, this will coencide with the Aero Club Air Week, for more info please go to www.speedrally.co.za