African trip offered fast fun
Thursday, 16th March, 2017
Broken Hill rally driver Kerry Turley has just returned home from what he described as the adventure of a lifetime, test-driving a car worth nearly $500,000 through the South African desert.
Apart from the meerkats on the road, the landscape looked so familiar that he said he could have been bashing it around on the outskirts of Broken Hill.
The trip was all in aid of mate of Kerry’s, Geoff Olholm from Queensland, who had bought an offroad Dakar race buggy and needed someone to go to South Africa and give it a try-out.
“Geoff, who I have finished second to a few times in past Silver City 1000 races held here in Broken Hill and who I also ventured with to Dakar in South America a few years ago, had ordered the new V8 buggy built in South Africa and it needed a good workout and testing sessions near the Namibian border before it races in Abu Dhabi in late April,” he said.
“Basically, it was to sort out any new car gremlins.
“The buggy was untested and needed some driving in hot temperatures. Geoff was unavailable to make the trip due to business commitments so myself and Geoff’s head Australian mechanic, Garry Kirk from South Australia, were given the job of flying to Johannesburg then up to the Namibian border to put the new buggy through its paces before it is seriously raced.”
The new buggy performed very sweetly indeed, said Kerry who spent nine days in South Africa.
“It’s the nicest, fastest and best-handling offroad race car I have ever driven,” he said.
“The countryside where we tested it looked very similar to Broken Hill apart from the wild meerkats that ran across the rally roads.
“We also had a visit and a few driving lessons from one of the world’s best offroad rally drivers, Giniel De Villiers”.
De Villiers won the Dakar rally in 2009 and has also come second four times and third twice in what is the world’s most gruelling rally.
“He has been a fully-paid professional race driver for the last 20 years,” Kerry said .
“He drove us around in one of the company’s spare Dakar race cars and I have never been so fast in a race car. It was a great time and it’s something I will remember forever.”