2003 will go down in my racing history book as my best season in my short racing career. Who would have dreamt that 15 rallies later, I would be engaged in a gigantic battle for the Sasol dualfuelä South African National Class A5 Championship in only my second season of rallying? -

- Going into the dry, hot Toyota Dealers Great North Rally, Dave (McGregor) and I in our Sasol dualfuelä Volkswagen Golf were 1 point behind in the championship, after a long hard battle throughout the year with Rodney Visagie in his Total-backed Toyota. -

- On Day one, Visagie and I swapped for the lead 3 times through stages 1,2 and 3 through the Polokwane CBD. We paced ourselves well and knew that the rally would be long and is never won on the first day. In stage 4 the first long forest stage, Dave asked me to pick up the pace and show our intentions to our archrivals that we were here to win. We did so by pulling 10 seconds into the lead from Visagie. -

- Our Sasol dualfuelä Volkswagen Golf was performing like a beast out of hell; the car was so fast that stopping it was become a challenge. Our brakes were overheating 5km into a stage, leaving me to negotiate the tight stuff with spungy brakes towards the end. At service we got the team to take a look into it, but all appeared normal. -

- Stage 5 at the Tzaneen testing ground stage proved to be the most confusing and badly planned, as only 7 crews in the top 40 got it right. Fortunately, we were one of the 7. Visagie took 6 seconds into our lead and was one who “got it wrong” on the tar stage. -

- Going into the first night stage after a break, Visagie pulled 9 seconds on us on stage 6, but in stages 7 and 8 we picked up our pace and took 10 and 5 seconds respectively to be comfortably 11 seconds ahead. I was feeling confident with the pace and was not worried, as I knew that day 2 had long twisty stages and our car was better suited for that. -

- Sadly stage 9 was to be my last stage of my 2003 championship bid. Approaching the first 90 degree turn in stage 9, our brakes again went soft and I had to pump them for the following three 90 degree turns, I tried to let the brakes cool down by approaching the bends slightly slower, but this did not help much, we went through a long right-hander into a tight left, when I applied my brakes, the car did not slow down enough running wide and came to an abrupt halt, thanks to a tree stump. -

- With adrenalin pumping I got out and tried pushing it back onto the road, but we were going nowhere. Fluids were leaking and the engine and gearbox had moved backwards. Dave says he felt his fillings pop out; I was shattered that a tree stump halted all my championship hopes. -

- This incident handed the championship to a relieved Visagie who was up for the challenge and rather disappointed that our battle had come to an end so early. The 2003 season was another great learning curve for me and sadly, yet positively, we walk away with experience, but no silverware, only bronze – for 3rd overall in Class A5. -

- To Volkswagen and Sasol, thank you for believing in me. Next time I will be the one spraying the Champagne. To my navigator Dave McGregor and my team Deon, Tony and Keith, thank you for your support. To my family and girlfriend, thank you for all the love and support and most of all thank you to all the marshals and officials that helped make the 2003 SA Sasol National Rally Championship the success it was; thank you to all Gugu Zulu fans, thank you for your support and encouragement. -

- As in the movie THE TERMINATOR – I WILL BE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! -

- For further information on Gugu Zulu’s rallying and racing career visit www.sasolmotorsport.co.za or www.guguzulu.co.za. -


Original article from Car