Jansenville Air Rally
Held at Jansenville – 23 March 1985
By Frikkie Moolman
Well guys, the word is out. If you’re a lover of air railies, there’s a venue that should not be missed – Jansenville. OK, I know you’ve just juggled all your one in a millions, and couldn’t find it, so I’ll tell you. Jansenville is between Graaff Reinet and Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, and the town is so small that the name appears an both sides of the signboard. But this town has a great big heart! There is no flying club as such, just a bunch of guys who love flying, with spirit and enthusiasm to make our. slick city type “flying clubs” look like they need a major overhaul.
Peter Wotherspoon and I arrived at Jansenville at around 1600 hours on Friday, and as we came overhead we saw Flip van der Merwe’s Bonanza on the field, so we knew we had found it. On landing we were welcomed by Ray, and almost immediately after by Flip in his bakkie stacked with cold beer. For the occasion the guys had bulldozed an enormnous piece of real estate as a parking area, and drums of fuel, boxes of oil and compressed air laid on for the big day. The hangar had been cleared and set up with tables, chairs, a PA system and serving tables for food and drinks. Not bad, huh. Shortly after, John, Jenny and George and Rea arrived from Cape Tovvn in the Baron, and also the Robinson brothers from ‘Maritzburg. The rest of the competitors were due the next morning.
While we stood around talking flying, Boetie Beeker and Arabier van der Merwe arrived from Robertson, as well as Barry (Pa), Willem, Piet and Andre from the Swellengrebel Gliding Club, by car. Yes, by car. They weren’t competing but they just came across for the fun. Now if that is not spirit, then I’ll trade my licence for a used movie ticker.
Rally day dawned, crisp, clear, promising to be hot. And it was! Briefing was scheduled for 1000, but some competitors arrived late so Flip delayed a bit. This caused some bunching as takeoff times could not be altered. Anyhow, with most of the planning done, we took off with ‘jors troelie’ still doing some homework on his lap, and navigating at the same time. The rally was a six leg exercise with secret check points, ground markers and photographs all thrown in. There was an interesting twist in the tail, in the form of some untimed hopping from place to place over rugged terrain, to find some of the photos and then return to the airfield to complete the timing run. Very interesting.
After landing back, everyone was treated to lunch, etc, by the girls who supplied coffee, tea and snacks all day long in the hangar. But dig this! The hangar also had a temporary licence for the day, so beer was available! This must be the only iicenced hangar in the world! That night the prizegiving and party was held at the showground, also licenced! Everyone was treated to prime beef, tremendous bar service and a disco.
At 21 00 Flip finally put us out of our misery and announced the results. Prizes were in the form of cash and some other vice goodies, and we all had a great party. My congratulations to Flip van der Merwe, Louis Nel and all their helpers, for a very vvell organised rally. If one considers that these guys are technically “in the sticks”, their efforts are even more laudable. Whether you’re a serious hot shot looking for points or whether you fly for fun, the Jansenville Rally is well worth it. Mr Dave & Mrs Ivanhoe Perelson from Port Elizabeth in a Piper Super Cub, ZS.DJR took first place with P. Wotherspoon and F.J. Moolman from Johannesburg in a Cessna 177 RG, ZS-JMW in second place.