Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Classic Cars Tour The Free State Goldfields To Hill Country

This veteran car, a 1932 Alvis and its charming owners, added glamour to our quiet farming town

This classic 1956 Ford Fairlane, Sunliner, was a firm favourite amongst the spectators

It's always interesting to meet ardent collectors, be they philatelists, collectors of dinky toys , porcelain dolls or rare coins. They invariably teach you something you never knew. It was no wonder that is was such fun to attend a Classic and Veteran car rally which toured the goldfields of the Western Free State and because they'd heard of the beautiful Eastern highlands, they called in on our little town.

The local restaurant owner asked me to cover the event when the rally cars were scheduled to arrive one freezing Saturday morning in September. As local news reporter, I attend functions held in and around town. I take photos, I interview people. Then I write an article and submit everything to a regional newspaper (in the city) for publication.

So off I went with my camera around my neck, my notebook and pen in hand.

After photographing the cars as they arrived and parked in the demarcated areas, I wandered into the restaurant where the contestants were enjoying a cup of tea and delicious cream scones.
I managed to track down the chairman of the Free State Veteran Car Club (or the FSVCC) who carefully explained how a rally is organised and managed.
Veteran / classic motor rallies are most interesting and quite challenging, to say the least. The route is mapped out, one person drives, a second person navigates. (often couples form husband/wife teams) The speedometer is sealed with masking tape; the cars dials are marked in miles and the route is in kilometers (!) You are not permitted to arrive at your next destination one minute before time or one minute after. (this is calculated beforehand while marshalls monitor the details) You also have to adher to the speed limit on the national and regional roads at all times.

Amongst many beautiful classic (post 1955) and veteran (pre-1955) cars in town that day, a 1956 Ford Fairlane, pulled into it's allotted spot. This entrant evoked quite a bit of comment from the spectators because behind the left-hand drive steering wheel , sat a pretty young lady. Her husband was in the passenger seat navigating. I approached her and said how strange it was to see a woman driving with the man sitting next to her. Her reply was very interesting. She said she was able to take instructions from her husband while driving, whereas he could not follow her instructions while he was driving! Too true, I say!

The rally left Marquard at 10.30 for Clocolan, a small farming town 34 km to the east. This was part of a round trip as they were back at 12 noon for a scrumptious meal of lasagne, salad and rolls served, once again, by the restaurant.
Shortly after 1.30pm I stood on the pavement (sidewalk) with the restaurant owner and patrons . While they applauded the departing vehicles, I managed to get a few final photographs.

Who says nothing ever happens in small towns?

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