Following a dramatic Lake Umuzi Rally in Secunda, Mpumalanga (28 & 29 September), the penultimate round of the SA National Rally Championship 2018, the final Ermelo Rally & Motorshow (25-27 October) will see the two top contenders on equal points and the gloves now officially off for championship glory. Winning the class R2N national category, their first victory of the season, was AC Potgieter and Nico Schwartz (VW Polo). This naturally popular result for the young Secunda local could not have been more ideally timed, after their fierce championship rivals Guy Botterill and Simon Vacy-Lyle (Toyota Etios) rolled out of contention on stage ten of the 13 that made up the rally.

Interestingly then, with each contender forced to drop their worst result of the year, the consistent Potgieter will have to drop 9 points (3rd place) from the York Rally in April, while Botterill will shake-off his most recent DNF, leaving both men on a total of 64 Points.

This takes the epically climatic showdown to Ermelo on 26 & 27 October. And with the Ermelo Rally & Motorshow event – backed by Tshwane Motor Club (TMC) – featuring an all-new layout of stages in close radius to the centralised action of the Ermelo Showgrounds, it is anybody’s bet who will finish ahead of the other to claim ultimate 2018 honours.


The scene is therefore set for this thrilling culmination. Remember too that Ermelo has not seen high-paced rally action for nearly a decade – although many are aware of its rich International Rally heritage. Therefore, it returns with nothing less than a huge bang in 2018 and with this in mind, organisers of the spectacle have structured this undoubted highpoint of the season around an awesome family-orientated Motorshow combined with close by and easy-to-access spectator points.


Spectators should be prepared to be enthralled by the lightning fast ‘young-guns’ of the R2N category – the top echelon of the sport in South Africa. These include dynamite VW Polos, Ford Fiestas, Toyota Etios’ and a fierce Mazda2. Moving down the order, there is a multitude of blisteringly fast competitors in both the Open and Classic classes.


Apart from the fact that the Motorshow will be the central hub of all the action with a multitude of family-based activities, it offers a brilliant yet inexpensive opportunity for keen businesses to not only market their brands, but become part of the extensive social and economic upliftment exercise, which aims to benefit the Ermelo community for many years to come. As a fundamental form of revenue to support the costs of staging the rally, the Motorshow features the central service for the rally teams, but then will feature stands that are associated with motoring and general mobility in the area as well as live entertainment, a beer garden, extensive food and beverage stalls, an extreme fun-park and much more.


The combination of the rally and motorshow is set to change the way rallying is perceived, not only in the area, but is an attempt to reinvigorate rallying by finding alternative ways to cover the costs of bringing the sport to towns that deserve it most – just like Ermelo.


With this somewhat revolutionary approach, the man spearheading the organisational efforts of this unique event is event director, rally veteran and passionate enthusiast Antonio Barbosa. “A great rally in this area has sadly been lacking for way too long now. Thankfully that is all about to change.” He remarks, “A key fundamental to our mission, it must be understood, is that it’s about more than just the rally, it’s very much about local upliftment and good old community spirit.”


“Our organisational team is encouraging as many local business partnerships as possible for the facilitation of the goods and services required in the staging of this spectacle. We are doing everything in our power to outsource as little as humanly possible in the aim of uniting the community under rallying once again.”


Barbosa further observed; “With a critical emphasis on local business involvement, this will go a long way in uplifting local trade and revitalising the innate attractions that made Ermelo such a popular rallying destination, over so many years,”


“It must be said too, that based on the sensational reception and hospitality we instantly received from the good people of Ermelo, this is destined to be a truly unforgettable experience – for everyone involved… The atmosphere will be electric and the buzz around town will be unavoidable,” Barbosa concluded.


Lately, Mpumalanga is undoubtedly the province to be if you are a petrol-head of any description – most especially if your poison is rallying. Be sure not to miss all the action of Ermelo National Rally & Motorshow 2018 from Thursday 25 to Saturday 27 October.


For more information check out @ermelorally, follow #ermeloislekker or contact Steve Mearns on (+27)82 333 7898


STORY COURTESY OF Ermelo National Rally & Motorshow

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