This was one of the most busiest days for us as a team, not only on the day but even the week before. Björn joined Jan in die Class D Golf and they went out for a practice session on Thursday, all went good, Jan had to adopt his driving style with the new rear suspension and Björn had to get to grips with a totally new car to him.
On Friday Mike and Herman decided it is time to get the newly acquired 1974 Datsun B110 Sedan in competing shape. We knew this was a tall order, during initial testing it
felt if the rear shocks was done, front left suspension completely shot and the piece of wood under the alternator a complete mystery. We set off and created a list of things to do according to the Supplementary Regulations of things that gets checked by the scrutineers. First was the alternator, removed it and discovered both mounting points was broken, sourced one from a friend and installed it. Front suspension was checked and all fastened and the rear suspension we found the culprit, a broken shock mount, welded it in place, added some suspension stiffening rubbers to the front struts and took it for a test drive, the little car transformed from a rattling underdog to a entry level machine.
Jan van der Vyver and Herman Mathee in Class D Golf 1.4i
Jan van der Vyver’s view:
The golf had a very busy day, Jan on his normal class D and H entries and then Bjorn, our newest driver, also in class D. Before this event Jan had did a lot of work on upgrades, which proofed to make the day very interesting. The suspension was upgraded with Polyurethane Bushes and a stiffened rear axle. This had Jan confused as he had to content with over steer and under steer in his first few runs, but as any good driver he will have to adapt to this. It was already allot more under control by the end of the day. The occupants of the golf, had a very nice upgrade to make use of as well as racing bucket seats and 6 point harnesses was fitted to the golf. Jan ended 2nd in class D and a very good 4th in class H.
The golf took was up to his normal jokes on a new driver, and there was also a 3rd gear selected by Björn when he was intending to select 1st, but Björn proofed to have enough experience to quickly change back to first. Björn had the best day for any class D car, it is clear that Jan and all other class D drivers will need to be ready for him on the next event.
Björn Venter and Jan van der Vyver in Class D Golf 1.4i
Björn Venter’s View:
After being advised by Jan at Thursday night’s practice session to arrive at Fairbridge Mall at 7 o’ clock on Saturday morning, and only arriving at 9, I should probably have expected what happened later that day. Wrong slotting on the first run of your “comeback” gymkhana career is not an ideal way to settle the nerves. But, after setting the quickest class D time of the day in my second run, I was brimming with confidence. Could I actually win my class on “debut” against formidable competition??? Sadly, I made exactly the same mistake during my final run as I made during the first, dropping me down from the lead in class D, to an eventual 7TH in class. But, I have learnt a valuable lesson, gymkhana is 50% about driving skill, and 50% about proper mental preparation. But, it was a massively enjoyable day with friends and family, and I am looking forward to the next round at the Neelsie, where I hope to build on a promising start to my “new” gymkhana career…, as a good friend of mine said: “Die wortel hang nou…”
Herman Mathee and Jan van der Vyver in Class F Datsun Bakkie
Herman Mathee’s View:
This picture is a good example what was waiting on us in the bakkie. The times posted by the other drivers in the class was very good and we had to drive balls to the wall to be competitive. All in all it was a good day for the bakkie, on the first run of the day I noticed a huge issue with front wheel tyre pressure and was sure to correct it before the next run. Besides finding it difficult to drive the correct tight line around the obstacles and keeping wheel spin under control we did good, our last run saw us posting our best time. I cannot wait for my new machine to be finished, concentrating on riding the correct lines and not worry about inner wheels spinning wil be such a joy.
Herman Mathee and Mike Mathee in Class F Datsun 1200 Deluxe
Herman Mathee’s View:
“A picture is worth a thousand words sums up this car perfectly. Since my start in Gymkhana next to Ruan Reynders in his Ford Escort MKII I have not had so much fun in a vehicle than with this one called the “JellyBean”. This vehicles was designed for grandmother to drive to the Post Office to collect stamps, I’m pretty sure Datsun in the design stages never thought some nut cases would even consider the fact to do some advanced parking lot driving with it. Understeer was easy, that did not take a lot of effort, oversteering was simplified by me on the brakes and Mike on the handbrake lever, You may ask why I could not do both, well easy, this trick bit of Gymkhana machine has so much body roll, one hand is needed on the steering the other to hold on, hence the combined effort to facilitate oversteer. I can go on for days about this machine, hell forget about your STI, GTI and OPC, this is what fun in
a vehicle is all about, pushing the limits in something that was intended for transporting stamps.
Mike Mathee and Pietie Erasmus in Class D VW Fox
Mike Mathee and Pietie Erasmus in Class F Datsun 1200 Deluxe
Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class D VW Fox
Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class F Datsun 1200 Deluxe
Thanks a lot for all the support from the friends and family that made this event so special.
Björn I hope this is the rebirth of a long relation with the sport. We wish you all of the best for the next events.