2017 in Retrospect

2017 in retrospect

2017 in Retrospect

Ashley Haigh Smith Cape EpicI’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again – 2017 was one crazy whirlwind. It was the best and most challenging year of my career to date. However, through it all I’ve learned some valuable lessons and can’t wait to push onward and upward in 2018.


Here’s the lowdown:




  1. First round of Peugeot 208 Rally Cup.
    On the second day we were right on pace after six months of not sitting in a racing car. The seamless partnership formed in the vehicle was crucial and gave us the confidence to power forward.


  1. Completing my first ever Tarmac event
    To make things even sweeter, we started far off the pace but managed to reduce the gap to comfortably finish in the top five times on a stage by the end of the rally. The progress made at that rally was massive.


  1. Grew into an all-round< driver
    I think I managed to grow into a more complete driver by identifying my weaknesses and strengths. Using different co-drivers allowed me to see where I was going and how plans were working out. This really helped me in finding a base guideline for my 2018 Championship Goal of winning the 208 Cup.


  1. Finishing the Absa Cape Epic
    This has been a dream for a long time. I got to ride it with my best mate (Craig Kolesky) and we did it for a great cause too! We achieved something that Gugu and I had set out to do the year before. I also managed to do so while being sick, and that taught me a lot about the importance of your support structures to get you through some of the fiercest mental struggles.


  1. WRX Cape Town
    This should really be number one and can stand-alone! I got to compete in the final round of the WRX Championship, my first ever Rallycross event, in front of my home crowd in a the Superclass. This will forever be a highlight of my life. It has had some very positive feedback, which means that I will have more news to share with you soon. I am super stoked and proud to be one of the first South Africans to have been a part of it.





  1. Engine issues
    Arriving in France for the second round of the 208 Cup and having a good test, only to have a mechanical on day one that put us out of the rally. It was very disappointing not to show our real potential, as we believed we would have been on the podium.


  1. The Absa Cape Epic
    Being sick at Epic was super tough. I really felt like I hadn’t delivered the possible result for my teammate.


  1. Missing out on Red Bull LionHeart
    I had bronchitis and was unable to compete at LionHeart. It might sound silly, but it is one of the best races of the year and I thoroughly enjoy the pain that goes with the challenge.


  1. Having to pull the plug on the Peugeot 208 season
    We could not complete the full season of the 208 Cup due to budget constraints. This meant having to let the team down. For 2018 though things are in much better position.




Ashley Haigh Smith 2017 reviewHaving a mechanical on the one round I felt I could win (in the 208 Cup) was really tough. The positive taken out of it was that we could hang in the top 10 times with no power steering and still be competitive. This is motorsport and it times like this you got to make the best with what you have.


I guess that taught me to live and race by the “never give up” mantra and to take positives out of every situation to better yourself not only as a driver but also as a complete athlete.


The team that’s behind the scenes is indeed the backbone of any of my success and to lean on them for guidance has been amazing.


The more one helps the people, the more people help you. South Africa is the most beautiful place in the world, for the people and the potential we have.


Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *