Oily Rag Run

On October 17, FMM once again sponsored and hosted the Crankhandle Club’s annual Oily Rag Run, an event for unrestored vehicles built before 1970. Twelve cars took part along with 13 spectator cars from the same period. The ‘Oily Rag’ entries comprised John Ryall’s 1911 Sunbeam, Peter Truter’s 1931 Ford Model A, Brian Prichard’s 1937 Armstrong-Siddeley, Alex Stewart’s 1947 MG TC, Hilton Franz’s 1948 Chevrolet, Dave Alexander’s 1954 GMC pick-up, Richard Spicer’s 1956 Rover 90, Joe Loedolff’s 1958 Jaguar Mk.VII, Andre Smit’s 1960 Morris Minor, Nick Middelmann’s 1963 Porsche 356B and two VW Beetles entered by FMM, a 1955 model driven by Lorenzo Farella and a 1966 with Donny Tarentaal at the wheel.

Participants gathered at FMM for coffee and breakfast muffins while the competing cars were scrutineered by event originator Dickon Daggitt and Derek Hulse. People were invited to dress in keeping with the Run’s ‘steam punk’ theme. The day was in the middle of a cold front and rain threatened to put a damper on proceedings, let alone accompanying cloud cover at the top of the mountain, the highest elevation of which is 754 metres. But fortunately the conditions did not deteriorate.

Cars were flagged away from 09h30 and took a route through the L’Ormarins Estate before exiting onto the R45 towards Franschhoek. The town was holding its annual Uncorked Festival, so to avoid any congestion participants were routed through some back streets before heading up and over the Pass, which has an average gradient of 6,3%. Thankfully, there was only a small amount of mist at the peak, and once on the descent visibility cleared so that the spectacular views could be enjoyed.

At the foot of the Pass, cars ran alongside the Theewaterskloof Dam, which was built in the late-1970s and is the seventh largest dam in the country. Then everyone turned left towards Villiersdorp, the municipality of which was formed in 1855 and is home to what is believed to be the world’s only moskonfyt (grape syrup) factory, which was built in 1922. At the end of the busy main street, the ‘Oily Raggers’ turned into the Kelkiewyn Restaurant for a refreshment stop and tour of the on-site private tractor museum, which had kindly been opened especially for the Run. Everyone enjoyed the stopover, with lots of coffee ordered, some late breakfasts ordered, wine purchased and an eye-opening look at the trekker collection, which included some rare and fascinating machinery.

From Kelkiewyn it was a run back towards Theewaterskloof and on over the gentle Viljoen’s Pass to the bustling Elgin Station Market for the prizegiving and lunch. Housed in the Art Deco former station building, the variety of food stalls is amazing. Diners are entertained by live music and there are numerous craft and gift stalls to visit, as well as a ‘book bus’ and kiddies play area outside.

The prizegiving was held outside on the old station platform. Together with Crankhandle events organiser Colin Greyvensteyn, Dickon declared the winner of the event to be Richard Spicer and his superbly original 1956 Rover 90. The Skorokoro Trophy for the ‘tattiest’ car on the event went to Peter Truter’s Ford Model A. The winners of the Best Dressed award were Tony and Bronwyn Bruton, with Andre and Christiana Smit as runners-up. John Ryall received a special mention for having the oldest vehicle on the Run and managing to make it over both passes. Special thanks were also given to Wayne Harley for providing the start venue, supplying the prizes and being sweep car, Mike and Wendy Monk for the route, and Roger Orpen at the Elgin Station Market. Thanks also go to Christo and Inge at the Villiersdorp Winery.