Dullstroom to host 2021 TRACN4 Rally of SA
The 2021 TRACN4 Rally of South Africa will take place in the tourism town of Dullstroom in November.
This will be the second consecutive year that this motorsport event will be held in the picturesque Emakhazeni region, after last year’s rally proved the most successful of the 2020 South African National Rally Championship series.
This year, the event also forms part of the prestigious FIA African Rally Championship (ARC). The FIA (the international governing body for motorsport) held its first event in 1981. The ARC is now in its 40th season and features some legendary gravel events across stunning African landscapes.
This will also be the third year that TRAC sponsors a SA National Rally Championship round. The two rounds in Dullstroom serve as the grand finale of the 2021 SA National Rally Championships.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, race organisers decided to host all the 2021 national events as doubleheaders, thus making the 2021 TRACN4 Rally of South Africa rounds seven and eight of the series. The theme for this year’s TRAC rally is “Africa All The Way”, which is in line with the Proudly African sentiment felt by TRAC and the rally fraternity.
The Dullstroom Epilepsy Centre will once again be the primary beneficiary of the 2021 TRACN4 Rally. The facility is affiliated with Epilepsy South Africa and has been in operation for years, playing a pivotal role in the lives of people living with epilepsy – and their families – in the rural areas of Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
The centre will serve as rally headquarters and media hub for the 2021 event and all the proceeds from the rally will go towards the centre that has also been hit hard by the pandemic.
“On the back of last year’s rally, TRAC paved the facility’s main entrance and upgraded the sports field spectator area, hall and lapa area,” says Rebecca Mashigo, the centre’s director. “This has had a remarkably positive effect on the facility’s residents and employees.”
The 2021 TRACN4 Rally of South Africa will be held over two days – 26 and 27 November – with action- packed stages in and around Dullstroom, including in the Safcol-owned forest area that envelopes the picturesque town.
“Bringing the event to Emakhazeni goes with TRAC’s commitment to the communities along the Maputo Corridor,” says Adri Fourie, TRAC’s corporate social investment executive. “Not only will it boost tourism and visitors to the area, racing in the Safcol forests is also guaranteed to make the final stages of the series truly memorable.”
Some of the SA Rally Championship’s top drivers will be back in action this year. One of those eager to put pedal to the metal in Dullstroom is our South African challenger in the African Rally Championsip, Guy Botterill and navigator Simon Vacy-Lyle, in their imported Toyota Etios R4.
The race for the NRC 1 class on National Level is between Theuns Joubert and navigator Schalk van Heerden, and Chris Coertse and navigator Greg Godrich. It promises to be a nail-biting battle.
George Smalberger and Anriko Opperman in their VW Polo will be seen in the NRC 2 class. The NRC Class 2 will also see Gerald Klopper and navigator Mari Ducasse in action in their Toyota Auris and Benjamin Habig and navigator Barry White in their VW Polo. The Swazi-Cowboy team of Jono van Wyk, and the husband-and-wife team of JJ and Magriet Potgieter will also be taking on the forests and roads of Emakhazeni.
However, the race to the top of this class will be between Jayden Els, JJ Potgieter and AC Potgieter, where ultimate skill and speed will determine the winner.
The current NRC 4 champion in his well-known two-litre turbocharged Tazz, Jonathan Simms, has also committed to the event. Speaking to Jonathan, who is based in Secunda, his lifelong dream has been to compete against national and international teams. He describes the TRAC N4 event as one of the best organised, most scenic, and most technically challenging in terms of driver and navigator skills.
A long-overdue return sees father-and-daughter duo Edward and Larine Strydom in their fast NRC1/NR2 Tazz 1600 20V. It will be challenged by the talented Henry Mostert and his navigator Willem Morgen in the very reliable NR1 12V Toyota Conquest.
Further adding to the theme, the much-loved classic Ford Escort Mk1 driven by the experienced Natie Booysen and co-driver Johan Smith will compete against the Datsun 160U of equally qualified husband-and-wife team Sarel and Barbara Coetzer. However, these teams will have to work hard to ensure they stay ahead of the Malan pair in a Datsun GX, their biggest challengers.
The low-flying Anton Raaths and Louis Menge in the Mazda Rotary will compete against the father-and-daughter team of Johann and Natasha Fourie in their Castrol Celica ST185 GT-4, as well as Rocco Huzak and Marcel Dangoumou in the Repsol Celica ST185 GT-4. Both these cars compete under the Toyota Team Fourie (TTF) banner. Arguably the most exciting and successful rally car Toyota ever built, the Celica AWD Turbo won the WRC Drivers’ Championship in 1992 and the WRC Manufacturers Accolade. Both Johann and Rocco intend challenging some of the newer generation rally cars for overall honours.
Andrea Raaths and her mom Isabel in a 1600 Golf are the only all-female team and are expected to raise eyebrows. Also expected to make a statement is the spectacular, former-factory Toyota Corolla RWD of the Lukas van der Merwe Jnr and Tommie Coetzee pairing.
Although spectators were not permitted at last year’s rally due to lockdown regulations, should the current national lockdown level remain, spectators will be allowed at this year’s event. The location of these will be confirmed and communicated on TRAC’s and all NRC and Motorsport SA social media platforms.
Rally lovers who cannot attend the race in person can catch the fast, thrilling action on all the SARallying social media pages and on RaceDay TV, that will share the action on various social media platforms.