Clear skies greeted the competitors at the official start of the 2012 Continental Milligan Vintage Trial on Monday morning as they tackled a fairly straight-forward route of 203 km. The first car set off from the Fish River Sun at 09:00, and the convoy travelled through Port Alfred, Kenton-on-Sea and Alexandria on the R72.
Everyone regrouped at the Nanaga Farm Stall for a tasty tea break, then it was on to Grahamstown on the N2 with the numerous arduous, long climbs that define this mountainous region giving the old cars a serious work-out.
The day’s stage ended, fittingly, at the 1820 Settlers National Monument that towers prominently over the City of Saints.
Reigning Milligan title-holders Neville and Susan Koch have once again set the standard this year, finishing day one with an impressive tally of just 61 penalties in their superb 1928 Ford Model A Pickup to take the early lead.
“It all comes down to experience, and a bit of luck sometimes too,” Neville stated. “However we did have a bit of a scare when the Ford didn’t want to start at one point.”
“We know these roads well, but the organisers kept us on our toes for much of the day,” Susan commented.
The Kochs certainly can’t rest on their laurels, as Colin and Anne Meyer (1967 Mercedes-Benz 230S) are hot on their heels with 63 penalty points, followed closely by Lionel Hewitt and Tony Lyons-Lewis with 70 penalties in the 1954 Austin Healey 100M.
There was just one retirement for the day, with the 1966 Jaguar Mk2 of John Ryall and Roger Lewis suffering water pump failure shortly after the start. They’re flying in spare parts from Cape Town, and will hopefully be back in action on day two.
Results Day One:
- Neville and Susan Koch (1928 Ford Model A Pickup #12) – 61 penalty points
- Colin and Susan Meyer (1967 Mercedes-Benz 230S #25) – 63 penalty points
- Lionel Hewitt and Tony Lyons-Lewis (1954 Austin-Healey 100M #41) – 70 penalty points