Algoa FM presenter is no crash test dummy

Duncan Reyneke

ALGOA FM radio presenter Lance du Plessis says the strangest part of crashing a high-speed sports car in Knysna was climbing out of the vehicle afterwards and watching slow-motion footage of the crash on a big screen.

Du Plessis was taking part in the Simola Hillclimb race at the Knysna Speed Festival on Sunday when he lost control of his Renault Mégane RS Trophy and crashed into a barrier. The vehicle, valued at R409900, was badly damaged, but Du Plessis escaped unscathed.

He said: “I am by no means a petrol head. This was the first time I had ever driven a Renault, let alone a specialised sports car such as this one. My immediate reaction after crashing was to feel bad for crashing the car.

“I have to admit, though, it was a lot of fun, besides that.”

The vehicle is one of only 30 to be imported into South Africa. It suffered significant damage to the front and right side.

Du Plessis, along with presenters from Good Hope FM and Jacaranda, were participating in a two- day qualifying race along a dirt track as part of Knysna’s popular weekend Speed Festival.

“On Saturday, I was the quickest on all four laps,” Du Plessis said.

In order to maintain his lead during Sunday’s driving session, the radio personality decided to disengage the traction control on his car to allow himself more aggressive handling of the vehicle.

“That was probably where I went wrong,” he said.

Renault spokeswoman Danielle Melville said: “Lance was topping the DJ Challenge and was the likely winner until his unfortunate run off the hill. The most important thing is he got away unscathed.”

Taking the corner at speed, Du Plessis lost traction and drove into a tyre barrier.

“What was funniest about the whole thing, I think, was what happened after I got out of the car.

“It happened right in front of a massive gallery of spectators. When I climbed out of the car I looked around and there was the video of my crash already on one of those huge sports screens like you see at soccer matches – playing on loop and in slow motion. It was very strange.”

Du Plessis’s Facebook profile was quickly updated to include before and after shots of the crash, eliciting responses and well wishes from his fans online.

“Yeah, it’s gotten a lot of attention online – lots of responses. Renault have also been very gracious all things considered,” he said.

Melville said: “We hope [Du Plessis] gives it guns next year and claims the trophy.”

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