Off-road legend dies in chopper crash

<b>HELICOPTER TRAGEDY:</b> Apie and Yolande Reyneke. Apie was killed, Yolande seriously injured, in a helicopter crash in North-West province. <i>Image: Supplied</i>
<b>HELICOPTER TRAGEDY:</b> Apie and Yolande Reyneke. Apie was killed, Yolande seriously injured, in a helicopter crash in North-West province. <i>Image: Supplied</i>

Eight-times South African Off-Road racing champion and a legend in South African motor sport, Apie Reyneke, has been killed in a helicopter crash near Delareyville, North-West Province.

His wife Yolande and teenage son Abraham were seriously injured and are in a Pretoria hospital.

Reyneke (58), owner of Serapa Safari which he managed from his farm in the Tosca district near Vryburg, was flying his Robinson helicopter to Delareyville with his wife Yolande (42) and son Abraham (13) when the crash happened.


Police said the aircraft crashed at about 7.30am on Friday (May 29 2015). Reyneke died on the scene, his wife and son were transferred to a hospital in Pretoria with multiple injuries. They are still in intensive care.

The cause of the crash is still unknown and will be investigated by the Directorate of Civil Aviation. A judicial inquest will also be done.

Reyneke was a legend among the local off-road racing fraternity and the recipient of Springbok as well as National colours during his long career in the sport.

He dominated the South African Off-Road championship during the 1990’s in a Toyota Land Cruiser. He and navigator Robin Houghton secured eight South African off-road titles for production vehicles from 1990 to 1999.

He won the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, the most gruelling of the South African racing calendar, six times – the most recent in 2002 when he and Houghton won the Barberspan 500. He announced his retirement from the sport the following year.

Since then he managed the family game farm in the Kalahari.

Houghton was shocked by the news. “Apie was one of the original competitors in off-road racing and instrumental in the growing popularity of the sport. While he no longer raced he still was still active in the sport. He was a fantastic competitor, a real character and a great driver. He also loved flying.

“I learned a lot from him during our time together and we achieved many great things, including winning the championship five time in a row. For this I will always remember him.

“On behalf of the off-road community I would like to express our heartfelt condolences to Apie’s family for their loss. He will be sorely missed. We also hope and trust Yolande and Abraham will recover from their injuries.”

RACING DAYS: Apie Reyneke doing what he loved - racing his Toyota Land Cruiser off-road. He was killed in a helicopter crash in North-West province on May 29 2015.

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