The water was like a mill pond for a change in this 29th year of the Trans Agulhas race, with a record time being set by the winners.
This extremely long stage 1st stage had 6 beach stops which really made it very exciting for spectators along the coastline and with many boats falling out due to engine issues.
The favourites didn’t disappoint in the Modified and Prostock classes with Wade Ball and Brandon Shaw setting the pace from the beginning in their Land Rover/Splendid Logistics/Motolek sponsored Infanta hull, completing the race in 2 hours 58 seconds.
They led from beginning to finish with veteran driver Dave Barnet and Tjaart Oosthuizen staying in their wake to the end in the Rusgenot Transport/Boasts and Bikes sponsored Infanta hull just 50 seconds behind at the finish. Finishing 3rd in this class behind the winning Pro-stock class boat was FJ Butler and Carlo Neetling in the 7 Stars Energy Drink boat who are also the title sponsors this year of the Trans Agulhas.
The Prostock class had ex Modified driver Eben de Bod and Gerhard Fernhout in the South African Farm Assured Meat sponsored Infanta hull just 30 seconds behind the 2nd placed modified, which was an outstanding result and very exciting to watch.
The real ding dong battle of the 1st day was definitely between last year’s two top placed teams in Pro-stock, that of Dreyer and JD van Niekerk in the Moku racing/Marshmallow Pop sponsored Moku racing Bobkat hull and Wimpie Ackerman and Whitey Louw in the Imperial Cargo sponsored Infanta hull, with Wimpie managing to just stay ahead of Dreyer till midway through the race when Dreyer managed to take the 2nd spot from Wimpie in some nail biting touch touch racing, and then disaster struck with Dreyer losing his entire gearbox with the prized flat water prop along with it, so giving Wimpie a easy finish into 2nd place just 7 minutes behind the winner, and followed in 3rd place by Ruben Scholtz and Jean Craythorne in the MNK/Innovation Wealth sponsored boat.
The stock class as always had very close finish with just 34 seconds between the winner and 2nd place. The experienced Iwan Botha and Hugo Erasmus in the Albertinia Furniture Removals/H&L sponsored boat just managed to stay ahead of equally experienced team of Jamie Streicher and Wildri van Deventer of Kam’Bati River Resort team, with distant 3rd going to Johan Niemand and Jacques Minnie of Rest Assured team.
For all those racing the Trans Agulhas for the 1st time they can enter in the Novice Class and the winner Albreght de Jager and Jarco Ferrierra of Zoutpanputs/LNJ Construction really put up a fantastic showing, finishing in 3 hours 7 seconds ahead of most Stock Pro stock and Modifieds. The 2nd team home in Novice was Ryno Verster and Tonel Arcega in Artificial Grass/LA Steel with 3rd place going to Joshua Muyburgh and JC Colombo of Boost Performance Racing, who are the event organisers and co-sponsors.
The surf racing in the afternoon turned out to be circuit racing instead due to there being no surf and gave spectators some really close racing in all classes, with UK sponsored Moku Team of Dreyer and JD van Niekerk managing an excellent 2nd place finish in Pro Stock after having such a disastrous long haul earlier in the day.
Tomorrow should be a flat out race along the coast once again with some high speeds and very close racing in all classes.
Photo: Heinrich Sauer Photography