Our 2021 season kicked off with Rounds 1 & 2 at Delmas on 9 & 10 April 2021.  The Delmas event celebrated the third year of collaboration and support from NTT Toyota Delmas,  various entities in Delmas, as well as farmers and landowners from around Delmas who recognize the positive impact and potential a Rally event brings to a community. 

South Africa’s leading rally competitors lined up again for their chance to walk away with the top honours for the 2021 SA Rally Championship.  NRC 1 saw Guy Botterill with navigator Simon Vacy-Lyle in their R4 Toyota Etios, Rally Technic’s team Chris Coertse and Greg Godrich in their R4 Hyundai I20, and rally master from Limpopo, Theuns Joubert and Charl Peskin in their S2000 Toyota Auris. 

Team Rally Technic’s Hyundai I20 R4

NRC 2 (R2N) showcased newcomers Ticky Martyn and navigator Jaco Vorster, with their recently acquired multiple championship winner R2N Toyota Etios from Guy Botterill.  The R2N class also welcomed back well-known, seasoned drivers such as J.J Potgieter, George Smalberger, and the Swazi Cowboy Jono van Wyk, to name a few.  Making her debut, Magriet Potgieter together with experienced navigator Rikus Fourie, was in action behind the wheel of a R2N car and she made it clear that she is a contender to be reckoned with, with her performance at the Delmas rally. 

The Delmas Rally also saw the return of youngsters Benjamin Habig and Jayden Els showing us what the younger generation can get up to behind the wheel of a rally car on a winding twisty rally stage.  

On the regional front, 2020 northern Regions championship winner Jonathan Simms and navigator Hannes Pienaar were back to defend their title.  Joining them, fighting for a place in the regionals, were mother and daughter team Andrea and Isabel Raaths in their WV Golf, and the well-known and respected Anton Raaths and Louis Menge in their Mazda RX2. 

2021 also saw a new format to our rally events.  The NRC Steering committee had to adapt the format of events in 2020 after the disruptions caused by the nationwide lockdown, and it was decided to host each day of the event as separate rounds.  This concept proofed to be very successful and popular amongst competitors.  The season started with a draw on Round 1 to determine the starting positions for this year.

Theuns Joubert in his Salom Toyota Auris S2000

The top 10 finishers from the 2020 Rally Championship decided their start positions for the 2021 Championship position by means of a number draw.  William Louw, Administrator and Clerk of the Course for the SA Rally Championship, sums up the success of the new format as follows: “the new event concept allows for several positive spins and additions to the traditional way of organising and presenting rally events. Cutting costs, saving on Safety note preparation time, eliminating Super Rally by ensuring that more cars stay in the event and a far more relaxed atmosphere are some of the successful outcomes of the new rally format”.

The NTT Toyota Delmas event consisted of 6 unique stages per day. A total of 183.10 race kilometres awaited the top rally teams, and an exciting feature of this year’s event was experiencing racing through maize fields. Corners were far trickier to approach and manoeuvre, and that added to the adrenaline and excitement. The roads varied between grass and gravel surfaces and overall it was a great event to kick off our 2021 season, exceeding all our expectations for a rally event after our annus horribilis of 2020.

Following the action packed Rounds 1 & 2 of the NRC Rally in Delmas, the teams were ready and eager to kick up the dust and separate the wheat from the chaff at the Rallystar National Rally held at Carousel Casino and Settlers area. The event took place on Friday and Saturday 11 & 12 June 2021.  The Rallystar National Rally is one of the highlights on our rally calendar and it delivered!  The event was adrenaline-filled, action-packed and full of pace.  NRC 1 saw the battle of the titans.  NRC 2 showcased newcomers, seasoned drivers and skilled navigators!  This was an exciting class to watch with strong competition and youngsters eager to show the experienced competitors what they’re made of.  The competitors in NRC Classes 3, 4, 5 and the regional teams were as competitive and full of action as always.

Northern Regions Champion and front runner Jonathan Simms

Rallystar was slippery at the first run, but as grip returned, it was one of the most demanding stages most of the young ones have ever driven. The stage has been designed in such a way that it tested not only skills, but reflexes and car control as well.  The trick at Rallystar was navigation and the correct application through the blind and often deceptive corners. Navigators who called the complicated series of corners correctly gained precious seconds for their teams.  It was a daunting task for Navigators to keep up with the pace, especially at Rallystar, but those who came up with the right calls and managed to stay ahead of their Drivers, contributed to the success of their teams!

After the Rallystar stage the teams moved to farms near Settlers. The two repeated stages away from Rallystar near Settlers did not offer a very big advantage to the NRC 1 class, while NRC 2 cars fared better through a number of fast sections and were definitely not left behind in the dust by the much more expensive and sophisticated all-wheel-drive monsters of the NRC 1 class.

The Rallystar event always had a bit of a sting in the tail and this year was no exception. This rally sorted the men from the boys and the best drivers finished on top of the heap.  Congratulations to all of the competitors, teams and services crews for yet another successful NRC event.  We appreciate your commitment to, and passion for, the sport. 

Johan Strauss and Elzaan Venter

Here are the final results following the NRC Rallystar Carousel Rally:

National Overall

1st Theuns Joubert and Schalk van Heerden Toyota Yaris S2000

2nd Chris Coertse and Greg Godrich Hyundai I20 R4

3rd AC Potgieter and Kesevan Naidoo WV Polo R2

 

NRC Class 1

1st Theuns Joubert and Schalk van Heerden Toyota Yaris S2000

2nd Chris Coertse and Greg Godrich Hyundai I20 R4

3rd Johan Strauss and Elzaan Venter Subaru Impreza STi

NRC Class 2

1st AC Potgieter and Kesevan Naidoo WV Polo R2

2nd Gerald Klopper and Mari Ducasse Toyota Auris R2

3rd NRC Class 2 after round 4 George Smalberger and Anriko Opperman WV Polo R2

1st NRC Class 2 after round 3 Jayden Els and Armand du Toit VW Polo R2

NRC Class 2 overall 3rd Jayden Els and Armand du Toit VW Polo R2

4th NRC Class 2 after round 3 George Smalberger and Anriko Opperman WV Polo R2

NRC Class 4

1st – Jonathan Simms and Hannes Pienaar Toyota Tazz

NRC Class 4 Round 3 – 1st Jonathan Simms and Hannes Pienaar Toyota Tazz

NRC Class 4 Round 3 – 2nd Jonathan Simms and Hannes Pienaar Toyota Tazz

NRC Class 4 Round 4 – 1st Jonathan Simms and Hannes Pienaar Toyota Tazz

NRC Class 5

Round 3 – 1st Anton Raaths and Louis Menge Mazda RX2

Regionals

REGIONALS NR Class 1 – 1st Anton Raaths and Louis Menge Mazda RX2

REGIONALS NR Class 1 Round 4 – 1st Andrea Raaths and Isabel Raaths VW Golf

REGIONALS NR Class 1 Round 4 – 2nd Andrea Raaths and Isabel Raaths VW Golf

REGIONALS NR Class 1 Round 4 – 3rd overall Andrea Raaths and Isabel Raaths VW Golf

REGIONALS NR Class 1 – 2nd Sarel Coetzer and Andreas van der Venter Datsun

REGIONALS NR Class 1 Round 3 – 2nd overall Anton Raaths and Louis Menge Mazda RX2

REGIONALS Round 3 – 3rd Jonathan Simms and Hannes Pienaar Toyota Tazz

REGIONALS Round 4 – 1st Jonathan Simms and Hannes Pienaar Toyota Tazz

REGIONALS NR Class 4 Rinus Plomp and Johan Aucamp Subaru Forrester

Round 4 National Results
Round 4 Regional Results

What happens next?

We were ready and eager to head east for the Algoa Rally planned for July 2021, but lockdown level 4 regulations stopped our plans in its tracks!  Sadly, the beautiful landscapes of the eastern Cape will have to wait for 2022. 

The Rally Steering Committee has decided to cancel the September rally due to the uncertainty about our country’s Covid 19 situation and the lockdown regulations that are ever-changing, to assist in the flattening the curve. Safety is and will always remain our first priority.   Cancelling the event was not an easy decision, but it was the right decision for the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Our next rally event will be on 8 & 9 October in Secunda, the 2021 SECUNDA RALLY.

We will again finish the season on a high in Dullstroom with the African Rally Championship  2021 TRAC RALLY OF SOUTH-AFRICA on 26 & 27 November.  The event hopes to attract numerous competitors from Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda as well as our own home grown talent.

Conclusion

And there you have it Rally Fans!  The remainder of our 2021 season promises to be exciting and adrenaline filled!  Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SARallyChamps to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the action and it is also the platform where we will post updates and / or changes to our upcoming events. On a closing note, we wish to thank our partners and sponsors, CTrack, Electrothread, Mibern Medicall, MRF, RacedayTV, SS Telecoms and TRACN4 for their continued support and commitment to the NRC, as well as all our competitors, fans and followers for sticking with us through bumps and straights!  We appreciate you.