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A sho't left in a Subaru Forester: Ladies Race Day against Cancer

2017-07-26 05:00

Image: Clare Vale

Clare Vale

'Making the trip from Cape Town to Bredasdorp in a Subaru Forester 2.0 XT definitely added excitement from the usual grind in Joburg,' writes racer Clare Vale as she competes in the Ladies Race Day against Cancer.

Bredasdorp - With steering issues in three races in 2017, I was happy to be invited back to P&B Lime Raceway in Bredasdorp to take part in their Ladies Race Day against cancer in June.

Sakkie and Leonardt Joubert’s V8 Lexus has no problem with turning left – in fact, it’s a brilliantly sorted car and I loved driving it when I was invited there for the first time in 2016.

From Cape Town to Bredasdorp

Another car with no steering issues is the new Subaru Forester. Making the trip from Cape Town to Bredasdorp and back in a Subaru Forester 2.0 XT definitely added to the excitement of a weekend away from the usual grind in Joburg.

Having lived in Cape Town for many years, the city will always be "home" to me, and with the Ladies Race Day falling on a long weekend, the prospect of a full day to explore favourite haunts was delicious.

One of our first stops was Killarney Raceway, where a private track day was in progress. It was great to catch up with old friends and to see the progress of the World RallyCross event track layout. 

A leisurely stop in Blouberg for lunch at On the Rocks reminded me how compact the Forester is, with the busy parking areas on a perfect, windless Friday holiday. Despite a spacious interior, the Forester takes up a lot less room than some more bulky AWD vehicles. 

Read more about Clare Vale here.

Somehow spending time in Cape Town always equates to consuming plenty of good food, so an afternoon spent on Sea Point’s promenade was followed up by an excellent meal at Yindee’s and an early night before hitting the road to Bredasdorp on the Saturday.

Bredasdorp is an easy two-hour drive from Cape Town, if you don’t make too many stops to admire the scenery (and to sample the great restaurants on the way, of course).

We pushed on as we were hoping to get some oval track practice in the afternoon, and the ample power of the Forester’s turbo charged 2.0-litre engine made for an effortless journey. The Lineartronic CVT transmission is slick and avoids the dreaded hunting, making overtaking and tackling mountain passes a piece of cake.

The Ladies Race Day is an annual event, and this year the beneficiary of the day was Pink Trees for Pauline, a cancer care organisation in Bredasdorp. It’s a brilliant event in every way: not only does it raise funds for a good cause, it also gives many women their first opportunity to climb into a race car and drive on the track. 

There is also a special “gees” (spirit) at these oval events – racing is very much a family affair and many drivers prepare their own cars and run without much sponsorship. It’s great to meet people with such a passion for racing, and people like Sakkie Joubert and his officials do a fantastic job of keeping racing alive and kicking away from the main centres.

The event was so much fun for me. We had three heats and a final, with a field mostly made up of the Heavy Metal 6 cylinder class driven by some fiercely competitive ladies. Much as I enjoy drifting, nothing compares to the thrill of overtaking at close quarters in a tightly bunched field. Leonardt Joubert, Dean Holloway and Peter Hirsch gave me an awesome car to play with and thanks to them, we had the overall class win for the night.

Read more about Bredasdorp here.

With the whole of Sunday to get back to Cape Town, we made full use of the Forester’s excellent AWD abilities by taking some of the rural gravel roads and stopping for (another) excellent meal in Napier.

The Forester makes travelling more fun: even with all the racing kit loaded in the car, there was plenty of space and it was easy to adjust the driver’s seat for optimum comfort and visibility. 220mm of ground clearance makes tackling serious off road obstacles possible and features such as hill descent assist encourage even novice off road drivers to get out and play.

I really enjoyed experiencing the latest evolution of the Forester on our mini road trip, and the car gets five stars from me – any car that attains the five star Euro NCAP safety rating deserves a thumbs up. Combined with Subaru’s legendary Symmetrical All Wheel Drive, great performance and a frugal overall fuel consumption of just over 9 litres / 100kms for the weekend, the Forester is a great all round recipe for adventure and practicality.  

A big thank you to the oval community of Bredasdorp for inviting me to join them.

Racing is the real winner at this event: every driver received a medal for competing, and the huge grins on the faces of the ladies who drove for the first time were more valuable than any prize. It reminds me of the free Women’s Day events we used to hold at Zwartkops, and all credit to Sakkie and his team for hosting a wonderful event in aid of a good cause!

Read more about Clare Vale here.

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