THE ‘WORLD’S TOUGHEST INFLATABLE CHALLENGE’ IS HERE!
The anticipated 24th Trans Agulhas boasts some exciting news It’s all systems go for the 24th Trans Agulhas Challenge, commencing on the 28th of December 2011 in Plettenberg Bay and concluding in Strand on New Years’ Day — after a gruelling five days of ocean racing. This world-famous race has had a bit of a makeover with exciting new sponsorships and interesting new developments, to make this the best event by far! Leisure Boating previews the much-anticipated 2011 Trans Agulhas Inflatable Challenge.
Apart from the punishing five-stage race, this year’s Trans Agulhas will also see some interesting developments. Firstly, organisers Andre and Nerina Heyns were approached by various drivers that liked to participate in inflatable racing but because of various reasons, they only do the one race per year: the Trans Agulhas Challenge.
After discussions with all parties concerned, it was decided for the first time ever, to introduce a new class into the Trans Agulhas — the Masters class. To qualify, the age of the driver must be 50 years and older, if not, then the driver must be between 45 and 49 years of age, and, together with his/her co-pilot’s age, the total in years must be 70. The Masters class will race in an Open class; the only restriction is that they must use regular fuel. Andre Heyns says that as organisers, they are very excited about this class and he is certain that in the years to come, it will surely grow.
A couple of years ago, the Novice class were introduced into the Trans Agulhas. To participate in the Novice class you must race in the Standard class and the driver must be undertaking his maiden Trans Agulhas voyage. This class has now grown to be one of the most popular groups on the Trans Agulhas.
Nerina says that they are very fortunate to have participants coming back year after year. For example, the Special Forces Unit of Langebaan has had an entry in every single Trans Agulhas for the past 23 years, and this year they will again be part of the entourage with no less than three boats.
This is the biggest event in inflatable boat racing and is really tough on participants, boats, engines and officials alike. The conditions on sea and land challenges both man and machine, but the camaraderie amongst the participants is worth all the hardships and that is what makes drivers come back year after year.
Dave and Tjaart to compete in Blueprint class Due to the International ruling that doesn’t allow Modified class boats to compete in the 2012 World Inflatable Championships, Seven-time Trans Agulhas winning legends Dave Barnett and Tjaart Oosthuizen have decided to return to the Blueprint class. They’ll be competing as number 44, number which has carried them to many Blueprint victories in the past. Dave Barnett had the following to say: “We are hoping that the number for Blueprint and Standard classes will grow, back to how it was many years ago, which provided close and competitive racing. We will be racing the National Series, Nissan Summer Series, and the Trans Agulhas in the Blueprint class.
We have had one round of the Nissan Summer Series so far, at Mykonos, and we managed to win the final of the surf and win the long haul event. This event at Mykonos was the start to the National Summer Series Leg for 2011/2012 and has certainly positioned this series onto the racing calendar.
As Team Battery Energy Drink (our sponsor for the third consecutive year), we will be riding a Ceasar inflatable and a new Blueprint Yamaha. We would like to thank Yamaha South Africa for their continued support over the years and hopefully for years to come. The motors have been carefully tuned by Boats and Bikes who have been with us for 10 years.
Tjaart and I are best buddies and we still love the sport and are still as passionate and hungry as ever for race wins. We hope the sport continues moving in the Seven-time Trans Agulhas winners Dave Barnett and Tjaart Oosthuizen will be competing in the Blueprint class this year. right direction and we will be supporting it wholeheartedly.”