Swakop Rally: Bathfield, Martin fastest again

The sixth and final round of the Namibian national rally championship at Swakopmund was hot and action-packed, with spectators aplenty.
Tielman Van Lill
Saturday’s M&Z Motors Swakop Rally was won by Allan Martin and Loic Bathfield in the S4 and CR1 class respectively.
Martin needed only one hour five minutes five seconds to complete the 125 kilometers and 12 Special Stages.
Bathfield delivered an action-packed performance as usual, with 1:09:08 as the overall winning time in his class.
The competition started on Friday afternoon for the first three Special Stages from M&Z Motors in Swakopmund, with a nice full field of 20 participants.
The S Class for sedans and the Off-road classes (CR1, CR2) each boasted ten entries.
Martin and his co-driver, Maretha Olivier, took the early lead after 14 minutes ten seconds with Martin’s Skoda R5 after the first three stages on Friday. Dippenaar and Carolyn Swan were second in Dippenaar’s Ford Fiesta R5 in 15:15, followed by Oswaldo Mendes and Cecil Koorts (16:11) in Mendes’ Subaru Impreza.
As expected, the competition between Bathfield in his V8 7-liter 2x4-Century CR6 and Rian Kritzinger’s 4x4-Ford Ranger 5 liter V8 was fierce.
Kritzinger (15:18) gave the Ranger good gas on Friday to beat Bathfield (15:29) by eleven seconds after the first three stages. Johan Grobler and Riaan Hennop were third in 16:24.
After Kritzinger’s withdrawal, Grobler claimed victory in the CR2 Class and ended fifth overall in the Off-Road classes.
On day two, Martin claimed all nine stages, with Dippenaar hot on his trail.
Dippenaar, who suffered a mechanical problem with the Fiesta, struggled to keep up with Martin. However, Dippenaar did well to finish only five minutes after Martin to complete the rally and win the national championship.
Bathfield remained well on his way throught Saturday and won stages 4 to 9 against Kritzinger. Unfortunately, Kritzinger’s competition became a thing of the past after stage 9.
As rallies go, the Swakop rally claimed its usual victims. Eight of the teams, four in the S-class and four in the off-road classes had to withdraw. Zachary Martin (S2) and Anique Schoeman were fortunately able to complete the full distance according to Super Rally Rules in his VW Golf.
The 2024 rally season promises to be even better and faster than this year’s hot action.
The list of teams who did not finish include (CR1 class) Chrizelda Engels/Ruan de Lange (SS10), Madeleine Koegelenberg/Tivian von Weidts (SS8), as well as in the CR2 class Dirk Redman/Frikkie Koegelenberg (SS5), Rian Kritzinger/Ian Stander (SS10).
Other DNFs were (S1 class) Paul Oosthuizen/Johan du Plessis (in stage 4), Kai Pretorius/Katja Pretorius (stage 4); S2 class competitors Koos Coetzer/Jaco Coetzer (stage 1) and S4 contenders Oswaldo Mendes/Cecil Koorts (stage 8).
Top results, Overall S Class
1 Allan Martin/Maretha Olivier (1:05:05), 2 Wilro Dippenaar/Carolyn Swan (1:10:05), 3 Wido Bartsch/Raymond Fourie (1:22:45).
S4 class: 1 Martin/Olivier, 2 Dippenaar/Swan, 3 Willem Hugo/Amanda Hugo (1:23:53).
S2 class:1 Bartsch/Fourie.
S1 class: Pieter Greeff/JP Robinson (1:25:50).
Super Rally Rules finisher: 1 Zachary Martin/Anique Schoeman (1:34:12).
Off-road Classes
Overall: 1 Loic Bathfield/Johan Steyn (1:09:08), 2 Willie Schoeman/SJ Schoeman (1:23:40), 3 Ekko Eisenberg/Rassie Rietz (1:26:46).
CR1 class: 1 Bathfield/Steyn, 2 Schoeman/Schoeman, 3 Eisenberg/Rietz.
CR2 class: 1 Johan Grobler/Riaan Hennop (1:33:14), 2 Werner Bartsch/Christel Fourie (1:39:17).
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