By Cally Eckard
Keen aviators brought their fastest and favourite ‘toys’ along to the Mini Air Race at Kitty Hawk for the first air race of 2011

The Mini Air Race is regarded as a precursor and a ‘trial run’ for the President’s Trophy later in the year.

The weather was perfect, with just a few little white clouds in the sky. Kitty Hawk members and staff put their best foot forward, and as always welcomed all the visitors and put on a delicious breakfast, and ala carte dining throughout the rest of the day.

Thanks must go to Race Organiser Neels van Deventer, Chief Marshall Chris Burger, and Safety Officer Nigel Musgrave, all from Kitty Hawk. Robin Spencer-Scarr did the safety briefing with his usual unique flair, and Frank Eckard produced the results in quick time for prize giving.

One of the Cessna 210’s gave the spectators a bit of a scare when it settled back on the runway shortly after take-off. Fortunately he hadn’t retracted his wheels, so everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

There were a few first-timers taking part, the youngest being Ronan Brink, part of a father-son team. This event, although all about speed, was enjoyed by all the competitors, and the bug seems to have bitten a lot of newcomers.

For safety reasons, the race rules have been amended to include timing and exclusion penalties for being too high or too low over turn-points. Competitors found this a challenge, and only one team returned home without a single penalty.

The Spencer-Scarr’s provided the lesson for the day when they committed the error that Robin told the competitors very emphatically not to make. The experienced father-and-son team got hopelessly lost, providing much bantering from the rest of the field, and then flew too low over the few turn-points that they managed to find. “The lesson for us”, commented Robin later, “was that this sport is a great leveller and you cannot expect to do well unless you put at least some sort of effort into it”.
The navigation in the East of Johannesburg should have been quite straight-forward, but confounded many of the teams, four of whom were excluded from the results for missing turn-points . It will be interesting to see how these same pilots will manage the navigation over the vast expanses of nothingness around Mafikeng for the President’s Trophy Air Race in May.

The top position were as follows:

PostionTypeHandicapPilotNavigator
1 RV6 160 N. V.d. Walt C. Bezuidenhout
2 C172 110.18 T. Vd Merwe M. De Klerk
3 M20C 147.19 Walds Venter Wuhan Steyden

Full results are attached.

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Full Results - Kitty Hawk 2011 10.7 KB