Every year, motorsport enthusiast Rene Booysen organises a three-day, 1 100km road tour through SA and Mozambique. We chatted to her about the Polana Classic Rally
Please tell us more about the Polana Classic Rally.
The event started in 1952, and was was then the old Total Special Stage Rally. This continued until 1973 when things got so bad in Mozambique that we could not go there. Adri van Berg and I revived the event in 1995, just after SA and Mozambique had their first democratic election – a bit of politics was instrumental in the revival. The Polana Classic Rally is more than just another motorsport event. The gathering is a celebration of everything that motorsports stands for. By doing a tour through small towns with these classic cars, we share an experience that most people never get to enjoy, and also make people aware of the fun and excitement associated with motor sport.
What types of collectors are there in terms of classic cars?
You get different collectors: The purist, who will not buy a vehicle unless the complete vehicle is original, then you get the guy that wants a classic but can’t afford the real deal and settles for a bit of modified vehicle, but the modifications have to be very subtle. South Africa lost a lot of classic vehicles to the rest of the world due to economics and strong foreign currency.
How did you develop an interest in classic cars?Source: Destiny – by Thabiso Thantsha
I always loved motorsport and classic rallying is the cheapest form of motorsport in SA. I started off as a marshal (because your expenses get paid), then I discovered the thrill of organising events. I organised a four-car team in 1999 to go and rally in Uruguay in the 1 000 Miles Rally. This was the first time that a South African team took part in a South America rally. I also did a trip in my 1959 MG from Kyalami to the equator in 2006, again a first for an all-lady team. This year I was involved in a classic rally from London to Cape Town – I did the route from Zambia to Cape Town. Once you get hooked, there’s no turning back.