Articles Rally

Flying aces Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe piloted the ‘Bok plane’ to the various city parades

17 NOVEMBER 2023 by MARK ETHERIDGE

Captains, my captains: Capt Alewyn Burger, left, with Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and Capt Steve van der Merwe. Picture: TANJA LUGG/SAFAIR

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The 23rd FAI World Rally Flying Championships 2023

The 23rd World Rally Flying Championships was held in Mâcon, France, from 31 July to 04 August 2023. A total of 45 teams from 12 countries were present, and South Africa was represented by 4 teams, Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe, Tarryn and Iaan Myburgh, Tony and Pam Russell, and Apie and Frederik Kotzee. They were accompanied by team manager, Leon Bouttell and 3 international judges, Rob Jonkers, Martin Meyer and Barbara Frieböse. Hans Schwebel was also present as the President of the General Aviation Commission.

The competition kicked off on Monday with a challenging route to the west of Mâcon. This wine region is a mix of vineyards and disjointed forestry areas subdivided by numerous small agricultural villages and farm roads. Navigation is difficult and the route includes a scored away landing at Montceau-les-Mines as well as a scored landing at the home airfield, Mâcon Charnay. The South African team ended the day with mixed results. Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe finish the day in 14th position. Apie and Frederik Kotzee had a difficult day where everything that could go wrong, did. A respectable navigation result from Tarryn and Iaan Myburgh contribute to South Africa now in 5th position in the Team Standings behind the Czech Republic, France, Poland and Spain.

The competition day on Tuesday had to be suspended due to a medical emergency for the Competition Director. Thanks to the speedy reaction from trained competitors a tragedy was averted, however, the organisers considered it prudent to cancel the day and reconvene on Wednesday for the second competition day.

High wind conditions started on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday as a cold front passed through the area. The Day 2 route took us to the west again. As the competing crews prepared for a challenging day, the organisers also included an adjustment to the timing of each leg to accommodate for the windy conditions. If the wind remained constant, the adjustment of 15 knots wind from 210° should have made the flight much easier as you now need to maintain your selected airspeed rather than ground speed. The wind certainly did not pay along, increasing in strength all day with strong gusts of over 35 knots. All the South African teams found the conditions extremely challenging, as was reflected by the scores for the day. As the wind continued to increase in strength and turn into a direct crosswind during the afternoon session, the landing scores at the home Mâcon Charnay Airfield also got cancelled for the day.

After the unfortunate cancellation of flying on Tuesday, Thursday would be the third and final day of competition. The route for Day 3 finally took us to east and would include two scored landings, an away landing at Bourg on Bresse and a home landing at Mâcon-Charnay. The winds remained strong, but largely improved from the day before. Despite this, an adjustment to the timing was still made, this time for 10 knots from 250°. The South African teams all dramatically improved their navigation scores from the previous day but other mistakes for landings, altitudes or observation proved costly.

Alewyn Burger and Steve van der Merwe flew the South African flag high and finished in 3rd place overall for Landings. They accumulated a mere 40 penalty points overall for the 4 scored landings, resulting from one bingo, two 10 pointers and one 20 pointer. This is only 20 points behind the winners from the Czech Republic, Lukas Behounek and Krystof Bobek, who scored two bingos and two 10 pointers.

The overall winners of the competition Petr Jonas and Marek Velat of the Czech Republic with an incredible total score of 553. The were followed by two French crews, Olivier Riviere and Jerome Jireau, and Alexis Fuchs and Jean-Baptiste Trouche. France was crowned the team winners, followed by the Czech Republic and Poland.

The results for each day, as well as overall, teams and landings can be found on the website: 

RESULTS

If you would like to re-watch the live tracks, they are available (Days 1, 2 and 3) on the website:

TRACKING

The next World Rally Flying Championships will be held in Ferrara, Italy in 2025. A truly unforgettable experience, we hope to see our many new friends there and fly the South African flag high once again.


National Rally Championship 2023 – Western Cape Leg

By Pete van der Spek

11.03.2023


A view across the airfield

A grey morning greeted the competitors at Stellenbosch airfield on Saturday 11 March. A cold front had moved over Cape Town and the remnants were just moving over when we arrived for the Western Cape leg of the National Rally competition.


Frank gives a thorough briefing

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The Arrivals and Training week for the 22nd WRFC 2022

By Rob Jonkers (photos Rob Jonkers & others)

 

 

The 22nd World Rally Flying Championships has been a protracted postponed event after having planned to take place in 2020 in Stellenbosch with a 2nd attempt in 2021, and then eventually a third attempt in 2022 but this time in Brits in the height of the summer rainy season, and knowing full well that weather may be a factor here in the North-West area, however expected would normally have been afternoon thundershowers, and daily schedules were such that flying would be avoided in the afternoon.


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SA National Rally Championships – Brits – 2022-06-16 to 18

By Russell Dixon Paver

The venue for this event for 2022 was Brits Airfield (FABS) and was hosted by Brits Flying Club. FAI competition rules were followed and this event was our preparation for SA teams’ selection for the World Rally Flying Championships also to be held in Brits in November 2022.

16 June was the first of three days and was extremely cold, but with clear weather and light winds. 17 June and 18 June produced excellent weather and warmed to normal fair winter days, great for flying. I only attended the Saturday 18 June final competition day.

Brits Flying Club were excellent hosts and the breakfast prepared everyone for the day ahead.


Brits Flying Clubhouse with Jonty Esser’s C150, still in pajamas, and some of the hangars as the sun started to warm things up.


The first two day’s results and maps had been posted on the notice board in the clubhouse.
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Our second attempt to hold the 18th Rand Airport Challenge 2022 was challenged by rain.

Many competitors will be flying the route during the week and thanks to all you persisted especially Tony and Pam who came up from Cape Town twice.

Let’s move forward to our next event.


 


photo by Athol Frans

I attended the briefing for the annual South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) Rand Airport Challenge on Saturday, but sadly due to the weather the rally was postponed. The scenic route would have taken the contestants south of Johannesburg to the Vaal River and Vaal dam, which is more than 100% full at the moment with several sluice gates open. However, with safety in mind the organisers decided not to proceed with the event. The photograph was taken when all the participants had completed the briefing outside the famous Rand Airport terminal building.