August 1997

1987 BMW Eastern Province Rally

Port Elizabeth – 22 August 1997

Dave Perelson and Ivanhoe Perelson
Dave Perelson and Ivanhoe Perelson

Scheduled for Saturday 22nd August, the Eastern Province Rally drew a respectable number of entries – 29 in all.

The locals assured us that the weather in Port Elizabeth had been extraordinarily fine for weeks (and if the weather encountered en route earlier in the week was anything to go by, perhaps they were telling the truth), but on Saturday, after a very thorough briefing the previous night by Major Budgie Burgers, the heavens opened up and it poured. After a couple of delays it was eventually decided that Saturday was not a day for flying and the competitors retired to the pub, or the rugby, or the movies.

If the Eastern Province line to upstairs was fouled up on Saturday, they finally got it right on Sunday for just long enough to run the event, albeit the P.E. wind maintained its normal standards. The judges were flown round the route to confirm the precise location of turning points, and in two cases, to relocate them at the correct points. Although required by the world rules, this is seldom done in local events and was just one illustration of the thoroughness of the organisation behind the rally. The Algoa Flying Club must be congratulated on the enthusiasm which was evident all weekend. There were no less than fourteen checkpoints and each was served by a radio. Some of the more remote stations out in the hills had to relay through other stations, but most of the results came back very smartly. This enabled the computer boffins (Prof. Guy Bate and Hein Gerber) to start entering their info much earlier than would otherwise have been the case with a subsequent earlier release of results.

Incidentally, the flying club has been developing their computer programme for some years and it certainly seems to be working very well. The Aero Club is also writing a programme with the thought that it could be made available to all clubs at a very nominal fee, but more of that at a later date. In the meantime, other clubs may like to get hold of the programme used at P.E.

Well, everyone got away more or less on time and the impression certainly is that most people enjoyed themselves. Back at base Eric Van der Merwe co-ordinated all the incoming radio results and entered them on a master sheet for later ratification. Runners took these to the computer station for entry into the results log. Other runners took competitors documents from the pilots to the control room where the log sheets were marked. There were nine photos, presented rather decently in order of appearance, but these still give pilots hassles, even though many had to be marked simply as correct or not. Only the first three legs were marked on the map and the balance had to be discovered whilst in the air. The rough flying conditions did not make this too easy and a compliment must be paid to those competitors who found all the checkpoints and were able to mark up their maps so well. There were no less than twenty four observers out in the field checking the aircraft overhead. Each team was provided with proper sighting equipment (again as laid down) and the observations appeared to be of a high standard. These were fed through to Budgie Burgers and Roy Waldeck who, ably assisted by Ros Gibson and Janet Burgers, processed them all before passing the gen onto the computer boys. Generally, the whole team set a very high standard and must be congratulated on their efforts.

The weather which started off fine, if windy, gradually deteriorated and it again started to rain at about 3.00 p.m. It was therefore another piece of good organisation that the organisers managed to keep the weather off until everyone had landed. It did mean, however, that many of the visitors from afar had to get going shortly after lunch before the clag really set in. They therefore missed what apparently was a super prize giving party in the evening. The food was great and the beer cold and a good time was had by all.

The Algoa Flying Club, under the guidance of Roy Waldek, must be congratulated on the enthusiasm and effort which went into a splendid rally. The rally itself was not easy and this says a lot for Dave and Ivanhoe Perelson, the winners. Congratulations to them both. The only criticismn which your scribe can level, is that perhaps a sportsman’s class, as opposed to the open class, is necessary. This has been done elsewhere and it is the suggestion of Gavin Beck, the Aero Club Rally Controller, that this be standard practice. In this event a series of envelopes were provided which gave emergency directions to the next check point (100 penalties were applied if the envelope was opened) in the sportsman’s class, had it existed, these could possibly have been supplied opened and without penalty. The Aero Club is anxious to encourage the sport and this two-class system will perhaps assist in this desire.

Anyway, well done Algoa Flying Club, and well done all who took part. Perhaps we will see you at the next rally which is at Tempe on 26 September or at the Western Province Rally at Stellenbosch on 28 November.

How about it?

Of the 29 competitors the following are the main results:

  • D Perelson & I Perelson
  • M Spence & B Gibson
  • C Jordaan & J Adams