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Thrill-seeking Dunsborough duo Andy van Kamm and Catherine Saayman to compete in Safari Rally

Alicia HumphreyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Catherine Saayman and Andy van Kamm with a 1974 Toyota TE27.
Camera IconCatherine Saayman and Andy van Kamm with a 1974 Toyota TE27. Credit: Busselton Dunsborough Times/ Ali/Busselton Dunsborough Times/ Ali

A gung-ho, thrill-seeking racing car duo from Dunsborough are set to burn it up on the track this weekend when they take part in a State rally contest.

Hitting breakneck speeds over rough and rugged terrain and gravel tracks, the pair will tackle bends and turns, lined by trees at speeds of up to 170 km/h at the Safari Rally in Chidlow, which marks round five of the Motorsport Australia WA Rally Championship.

Catherine Saayman, 40, a mother-of-two and who works as a physiotherapist, will co-drive next to Andy van Kamm, a 67-year-old retired engineer.

Mr van Kamm, who has a decorated rally car driving career with more than 51 years of experience, said his biggest achievement was winning the 1977 Australian Rally Car Championships.

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“It’s a nil-error game, no room to make a mistake, gravel racing is different from circuit or tarmac racing, the conditions change, and there’s always new and enthralling challenges — rain, mud,” he said.

“It requires precision, strategy and skill, it’s not like other types of motor racing sports where you can win with a chequebook.”

Ms Saayman, who started in the sport a year ago on a whim, met Mr Van Kamm through mountain biking, where he asked if she wanted to co-drive in a rally.

“I’d never be given this opportunity again so (I thought) why not,” she said.

Ms Saayman said her family were on the whole, supportive of her recent decision to get behind the wheel of a rally car.

“I think mum thought it was an interesting choice, she’s coming around to it now she knows this is going to be our fifth rally, but she knows that if I’m happy she’s happy,” she said.

“I have full trust in Andy’s skills and judgment. Life doesn’t hold any guarantees. I love the challenge, the thrill of rally car driving.”

The pair, who have already won twice in their Clubman Masters category, said their aim was to have fun in the sport, and at the rally.

Mr van Kamm said he was ambitious for Ms Saayman to aim for rookie co-driver of the year.

“I have a lot of co-drivers in my rally cars and Catherine is either the best or one of the best, in terms of her calmness and precision, preparation, should she elect to she could do anything in gravel rallying,” he said.

The event takes place in Chidlow on Saturday.

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