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Night rally race comes to Windhoek

Mon, 5 October 2015 23:27
by Andrew Kathindi

The rare night rally stage, which is coming back in the fourth round of the Hemco Rally, will again provide entertainment for the fans, but a challenge for the riders.

The chairman of the organising committee, Melvin Gous said although quite beloved by the fans, the stage is difficult, but adds competition to the rally as the season winds down. Hence, it is quite rare, happening only twice a year.

“This time around, we are having it in preparation for the final round, which will have quite a few night stages. It is a rather daring one, as performances in that round will determine what places the racers start off in on the Saturday morning,” said Gous.

He further explained that while the round is fun for fans to watch, it is quite difficult for drivers as it is very tough to drive at night. “The previous rounds haven’t featured one night stage. They have all been in the day. But as the season is almost at an end, it adds an extra challenge for the drivers, and it is exciting for the spectators,” he noted.

The previous rounds were held in Okahandja, Tsumeb and Gobabis respectively, and have been exciting. But one racer, Wilbro Vipenaar, has risen head and shoulders above his peers, and leads the chasing pack quite comfortably. This time around, Gous said competition is however set to be tight as he had witnessed many changes and surprises this season, with new cars and teams entering.

One of those is well-known motor racer Richard Flemmet, who has upgraded his career to enter the top-class category.

The event is also likely to see the return of Jaccob Wista, a renowned racer who has been away from the rally scene for five years.
“One of the most exciting things about this event is that we have two guys with Sandmasters coming from Swakopmund. On the terrain that we have, Sandmasters are very fast and very exciting for the fans to see,” enthused Gous.

There will be 20 cars at the event, all of which are top-class rally vehicles. The cheapest one is worth N$250 000, and the most expensive N$2.2m.The event will have a launch tomorrow to offer information, and spectator guides will assist in finding strategic locations for photos and filming.

The round will be held on the weekend of 9-10 October, kicking off with the night stage on Friday. This is the first time that this stage features this year.