Jan' 2014

Fairest Cape Rally

With one notable exception, there can be nothing that compares with hearing Keith Richards hammering out the opening riff to ‘Satisfaction’ – whilst driving across the Karoo at 125 kph in a 1964 Mark II. One of the things on my personal bucket list has been to run the Fairest Cape Rally – an annual event run by the Cape Vintage Motorcycle Club. This year the event was based at the Goudini Spa – near Worcester in – where else – the fairest Cape. Son Ashley lives in Milnerton and was amenable to having his arm twisted to being my navigator on the event – so all we had to do was to get Max – my Mark II – down to Cape Town. Having investigated the cost of taking him down on the train – R4 040 for Max –and R2 650 for me – each way – driving was the only viable option. With a total journey of some 5 000 km planned, it seemed a good idea to go over him from front to rear bumper to ensure some reliability. Every grease nipple that could be found was lubricated – and I rediscovered where the two are for the rear wheel bearings – at the end of the rear axle casing just inboard of the wheel hub, since you ask. Hose clamps were tightened, oil changed, clutch adjusted and spokes inspected. I also justified a new radio/ player as the current one had stopped playing CDs. The new one is capable of playing MP3 music from a memory stick – including the Stones greatest hits. Then two days before I left Caelin, having followed me home one evening, enquired “Dad, shouldn’t you be able to see when you are braking, when you have you running lights on?” Further inspection revealed the need for a new hydraulic brake light switch, which amazingly was procured from EmGee workshop for R128 the same day. So off we went at 06:00 down the N1. It was a hot blustery day and the national route was full of trucks of all shapes and sizes – mostly large. The blustery conditions settled down to a steady strong cross wind that blew all day – strong enough to need a steering correction when passing aforementioned trucks. All went well and I reached a guest house just this side of Beaufort West that doubles as an airport, a small one with one runway and a control tower - but an airport nonetheless. The first beer after ten hours in the driving seat, subsisting on peanut butter sandwiches and apples, tasted unusually good. Running out of Beaufort the next morning and enjoying the curving roads through the Karoo a large stone thrown up by yet another truck landed smack on the windscreen in front of me. It produced a series of concentric arcs in the glass, which were later pronounced by PG Glass as “too far gone to fix” – or something like that. Breakfast was taken at Matjiesfontein, where Max was introduced to a red London double-decker bus. The run down Hex River pass and on into Cape Town was uneventful – but wet. The following Sunday, Ashley and I drove back through the Huguenot tunnel to the Goudini Spa – where the rally was due to start - via Rawsonville. There we were greeted by the organisers, Max was scrutineered – to check that he was legal enough to compete – and we joined a group of fellow rallyists for a braai and beverage. Overall, a very friendly group of folks. There were a variety of vehicle taking part in the event from a 1925 Indian Scout, through a 1948 4-litre Buick to a 1983 BMW K100. To digress for a moment, I should explain that the Fairest Cape, along with all SAVVA rallies, is a sealed-odometer event. This means that you cover up the speedometer and rev counter in your car and proceed along the route using your innate skills to estimate your speed. You are allowed stop-watches and the route schedule shows most of the times for the instructions. The best way of estimating your speed short term is to time yourself over ten central