|What||Wildcat Energy SA Rally|
|When||9-10 November 2019|
|Community||South Africa National|
Jayden Els stuns on stage debut
The winners and champions may have grabbed the headlines of the 2019 season-ending Wildcat Energy SA National Rally, but a little away from that spotlight, the past weekend also delivered the hint of a future South African rally phenomenon. Fifteen year old former world Rotax Mini Max karting champion Jayden Els made a sensational rally debut as he challenged the country’s top drivers in a performance befitting a veteran.
Els is still too young to either qualify for a learner driver’s licence or a national rally competition licence, but he is allowed to compete at regional level and navigator Barry White had to drive on the public road open sections over the weekend. Come the timed special stages however, the youngster took the wheel to deliver a giant killing debut performance to end up third in Saturday’s regional results while troubling the national top three throughout the weekend.
“We had a brilliant run on my first ever rally,” a delighted Jayden admitted. “I am still too young to compete at national rally level or qualify for a learner driver’s licence, so Barry had to drive the road sections and we entered the regional rally. “Racing on the same route at the same time as the national crews, our times are still listed in the overall results, so I was delighted to be able to challenge the top three all the way — we had a brilliant run.
“The regional counted as two rallies on Saturday and Sunday too and we ended up third overall behind two National crews driving latest specification R2 cars and first Open class car home in our older JE Motorsport Toyota Tazz on Saturday — I never expected it, but we ended on the podium in my first ever rally! “My pace was consistent on the dirt and on the tar track stages, so I am really happy with my performance.
“The idea was to finish this weekend, so to get that Saturday podium is a huge bonus. “It was an honour having Barry alongside me too — his experience and my pace made a great combination and I learned so much this weekend. “I must also thank my dad and the JE Motorsport crew for a great car and all the support — what a blast, I just can’t wait to do it all again!"
Issued on behalf of Jayden Els
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