For some, the fourth round of the South African Rally Championship has left a bitter taste – but for the new kid on the block, Guy Botterill and navigator Schalk van Heerden, it was the sweet taste of champagne and victory. Guy Botterill, who started rallying at the beginning of this year, took the Yato Tools/Liqui Moly Toyota to its first victory in the 2011 SA Junior Rally Championship.
“Needless to say, I am over the moon,” said an elated Guy after the event. “It was a very tricky, very messy and muddy event, and the conditions were not the most favourable for rallying,”. Botterill and Van Heerden had a good start, and were very fortunate in stage 3 where many competitors lost loads of time getting stuck in the mud. “We were fortunate that we took the line a little differently from the others – I could feel the mud scraping at the bottom of the car, and just prayed that we wouldn’t get stuck,” said Guy.
Throughout the event there was a ding-dong battle in the S1600 class, Botterill stayed in touch with the front runners and took the lead in special stage eight when leader Christoff Snyders over shot a corner and lost 16 minutes stuck in the local flora and forna. Guy then lost the lead in the next stage with a puncture only to regain it in the following stage when Tjaart Conradie made a mistake, Guy and Schalk then managed to defend their lead although the Toyota had carried an overheating problem from stage seven as well a broken rear shock absorber. They lost a considerable amount of time in special stage 13, and went into the final stage of the day with only a 15 second lead. “With only 8 kilometers of special stage left to run, it was very trying,” said Guy, but the talented driver managed to not only win the final stage, but increase his lead and victory to a comfortable 31 seconds.
“I can see now why they say rallying is unpredictable – one minute you are in third position and the next you are leading, and these front positions change continually. You actually cannot afford to make an error, and I am grateful to have an experienced navigator like Schalk in the hot seat,” said Botterill.
Botterill Motorsport has been preparing the Toyota at their premises in Pinetown for the last two events, and for the Hencom event a lot of effort was put into the rebuild. Replacing some parts, checking other parts and ensuring they are in good working condition, making adjustments on set-up and just getting to know the car. With a standard engine, Botterill finished 4th in the Class in the Hencom event.
For the Toyota Dealer Rally Botterill had a rebuild on the engine by a very experienced engine builder, giving them not only a reliable car, but enough horses under the bonnet to make them very competitive in the class. “I really enjoyed the event and though we have a lot to learn, we are extremely excited about the win, especially for our sponsors Yato Tools and Liqui Moly who have put their confidence in me in my first year of rallying,” Guy said. Guy enjoys sponsorship from Yato Tools, Liqui Moly, and a group of business that operate in Pinetown who assist the team with technical and mechanical, support. A1 Mag repairs, Mc Douglas tyres, the Sign Guys, Trailer Specialists, Electronic Welding Solutions, Puma, Just Tools and our accommodation sponsor, Garden Court/Stay Easy made it possible for Guy to start rallying this year also thanks go out our service crew Grant, Anthony and Dave as well as our media team from www.Kulumatv.com.
“These companies have all invested in the venture, and without them, I don’t think I would be able to be competitive.” Guy said.
You can watch our highlights of the event on www.kulumatv.com from 16/6/2011.
The next event will be the VW Rally in Port Elizabeth on 9 and 10 July, on completely different terrain as this event runs through long, sweeping stages through the Longmore Forests with the final stage at the Kings Beach Car Park.back