The fourth and final day of the inaugural Cape 1000 classic and exotic car rally took participants back towards the Swartland, before heading into Cape Town. Hannes Oosthuizen and his co-driver Greg Marucchi continued to nurse an ailing Austin-Healey to the finish line.
Photos by: Devin Paisley, Dieter Pey, Duwyne Aspeling, Stefan Kotze, JoNo Nienaber
After a good night's rest and with a relatively late start to the day from Shelley Point Hotel in St. Helena Bay, the Cape 1000 participants were eager to get going. It was the last opportunity to score valuable points and (hopefully), emerge at the top of the points tables.
I must admit, I didn't think we had much of a chance. Our Austin-Healey 100/6 was limping. It had developed the trait of overheating at constant speeds above 100kph, and would no longer start without a push. Comparatively, the other Tribute Class cars (1927-1957) seemed almost fuss-free.
Nevertheless, Greg and I set off determined to do better. I had found a potentially better odometer app the previous night, which would allow us to reset odo readings on the fly, and remain accurate to the various listed landmarks in the road book. Then we got into the car, and it wouldn't start... Not a great beginning to our final challenge.
But with the help of the Cape 1000 crew and even some competitors, we got the Healey fired up and were off. The final day's route would cover a distance of 323km, taking us first inland to the Swartland towns of Moorreesburg and then Wellington, before heading back towards Cape Town and the Waterfront for the finish.
We were confident that we were doing well during the first three regularity stages, as the new app helped us to start with a more accurate reading. But gosh, the heat was taking its toll... on me and Greg as well as the Healey. We breezed through the first three regulatory stages, only to get at stuck at every stop/go (for roadworks) between Moorreesburg and Riebeek-Kasteel, the setting for our refreshment stop. The Healey started overheating again, forcing us to switch off at every stop, and then requiring a push start every time. At one stage I had to push the car by myself and jump in while Greg tried his best to keep the car going. Then the exterior door handle broke...
We arrived at Riebeek-Kasteel sunburnt and exhausted. Our "team-mates" Ciro and Duwyne in the Citroën DS19 looked relaxed parked in the shade, quietly confident that they were having a good day.
Nearing the end, some the cars started showing signs of, uhm, fatigue. The gorgeous Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster's clutch packed up. The stunning Jaguar XK150 suffered a steering failure, and one of the Lamborghini Huracans a punctured radiator. The mechanic, Wayne, was kept busy, but was always able to assist in super-quick time.
With the temperature readings pushing 35 Celsius, we had to take it easy on the Healey on the way back to Cape Town, and so reached our lunch stop at Woodbridge Island when the others were already packing up. From there we joined a convoy, and due to our car being number 102, were running second from the front (after another push-start).
As we headed into the city and the Waterfront, it was a joy to see the excitement and happiness that these cars brought to other travelers. And when we arrived at the Silo Hotel the reception was fantastic, with a huge crowd descending on the cars for photo opportunities.
Participants were sunburnt and fatigued but also almost delirious with joy and the built-up adrenaline from the past few days.
Soon it was time for the prize giving, and boy were there some surprises - none more so than when myself and Greg were announced as overall winners of the Tribute Class with our Austin-Healey, after clocking a fourth overall on the day (that new app certainly worked well!). The great final day result also catapulted us up the rankings into sixth overall (out of 36 cars). Needless to say, we were ecstatic, as the race was anything but easy.
More good news for team Cars.co.za followed when Ciro de Siena and Duwyne Aspeling scooped class honours in the Classic category (cars produced before 1977) in our beloved Citroën DS19. The iconic French car's entry raised many an eyebrow, with many suggesting its reliability would be severely tested, but besides a distributor lead popping off at a fuel station (and quickly being connected again), the Goddess ran faultlessly, beating such cars as a Ferrari Daytona, Porsche 911 S, Ford Mustang and Mercedes-Benz "Pagoda" SL. Overall, it finished fourth - an excellent result for the only four-door car (and French car) in the race.
The Modern Classic category (for cars produced between 1977 and 1996) was won by Stuart Kidgell and Dawie de Villiers in their race-ready Alfa Romeo GTV6 3.0. Kidgell and De Villiers also took the overall honours. Yanni "Hollywood" took the class honours in the Sports Car category (1997-2022) driving a Lamborghini Murcielago.
Michelle Hambly-Grobler took the "Spirit of the Cape 1000" prize, as voted for by participants. She completed the event in her Concours-condition Porsche 911 S without a navigator!
- Read the Cape 1000 Day 1 Diary entry here.
- Read the Cape 1000 Day 2 Diary entry here.
- Read the Cape 1000 Day 3 Diary entry here.