Windhoek, Nov 15-Ask any motor sport lover who are Chris Liebenberg, Geoff Mortimer, Sarel v/d Merwe, Uwe Kessler, Junior Bruwer and Llewelllyn Anthony to mention a few. The answers will all be he same – Rally pioneers.
As time passes and technology improved over the years, so did the cars evolved from the first Tara back in 1969 to date. The younger generations will be lost if you talk about the Renault Gordini, Ford Capri 3000, Opel Manta or the Leyland Marina.
Though today’s drivers will say the Tara is tough, hard on the vehicles and drains the body and soul.
I beg to take a few steps back to 1969 and honor the pioneers of the Tara.
For one I’d like to honor the father of the rally, Dennis Kent and his Siamese cat Tara, after which the rally was named.
Free Motor Motor Media learnt that both Kent’s and Tara’s ashes are safely nested at the Pretoria SPCA remembrance wall.
This according to the navigator Larry Kritzinger and friend of Pix Von Prittwitz the 1970 Tara winners.
Unlike modern cars with highly advanced technologies like automatic gearboxes, state of the art safety features, tires and suspensions designed by engineers to take on any terrain and fuel injectors that scientifically determine the fuel mixture for optimum performance.
Obviously back then cars in today’s terms will be described as primitive, old fashioned and still using a carburetor which unlike today’s systems is not that reliable.
And it was during the 1971 Tara through the Khomas and Donkerhoek passes the accelerator cable decided to snap Kritzinger told this reporter.
But with Pix’s innovation he “modified” the carburetor with a piece of fencing wire for maximum power. When maneuvering the car around the mountains and treacherous corners, Von Prittwitz used the ignition key to switch off the car to decrease speed Kritzinger said. The problem however was it locked the steering wheel and it became a hair raising procedure.
“But Pix handled it with his usual aplomb” Kritzinger said. They still managed to finished in sixth place.
Those FMM spoke to said Von Prittwitz who passed away during 2013 was a phenomenal man. He was also the mayor of Windhoek during 1970 and 71.
“I am credited with doing the special stage down Remhoogte in the fastest time 15m25 sec. The ultimate winner Louis Cloete was second fastest in 15m 37sec.” Kritzinger told this publication.
The duo took part in the first three Taras and came second in 1969 and 1972, with a win in 1970.
Free Motor Media can only I imagine what it was like back then as the braking systems were not advances and high tech as today, let alone the road surfaces.
Kritzinger via email said “I wish all the competitors and officials a wonderful event on 21 November. Sorry I cannot be there to cheer you on.”
The Tara only became the TOTAL TARA around 1975 after the fuel giant got involved in the rally.
Team Free Motor Media is powered by Suzuki Namibia and Total do cover the event for this publication.