Rayner Trophy 1990 Report
Elgin Valley on Bicycles
The 1990 Rayner Trophy was held in the vicinity of Grabouw/Elgin on 24/25 February.
An advertisement appearing in that morning's Cape Times told the participating teams to report to Elgin station at l4h00. The Rayner, which is usually a tough hiking competition, was held as a long cycle ride this year, with bases dotted along the route and at the overnight stop. We set off briskly and started up Viljoen's Pass after an inspection of our bikes and their roadworthiness. It was a hot morning and initially the ride was gruelling. Eventually we reached the Nuweberg forestry station turn-off and left the tar behind, sticking to dust roads for the rest of the day.
The theme for the 1990 Rayner was the siege of Mafeking and the teams made up the "flying column" of the relieving force. Bases were made to fit this theme and amongst others included silent transportation of our "mounts" past a Boer listening post, treating injuries resulting from accidents with our mounts, panoramic sketches, target shooting, etc.
The night stop was the Eikenhof dam and the bases took full advantage of this natural feature. We had to construct rafts to escape from pursuing Boers and demonstrate drown proof floating. The 6 night bases were also very good and included defusing live mines, moving "toxic" waste from a distance, a commando course and rescuing patients from a smoke-filled room. Supper consisted of fritters, soup and corn on the cob. STA’s (spare time activities) included making snares (some being quite ingenious!), bazookas, maps and various quizzes. We also had to construct a shelter for the patrol of 4 for the night with black plastic bags, string and contact glue.
Early the next morning we served breakfast (scrambled egg, onion and toasted bread) and were off. We took a route that led through Grabouw and onto the Appetizer road that was mostly tar. Some interesting bases were fishing and sand story (you had to deduce the truth from footsteps and scufflings). Mirror heliographs also had to be made.
Punctures were a constant thorn in our side and many teams lost valuable time trying in vain to find and fix a puncture. The gravel roads were fun to ride on and there were some exhilarating downhills.
There were some moments of tiredness, but overall I think all enjoyed the competition. Thank you to all the judges and especially the 3 chief judges (Richard Goldschmidt, Errol Kotze and John Mutti) for their willingness to give up their time to organise this competition.
Gerhard Lombard (PL)
1st Durbanville Scout Troop