Wet to the Bone @ 1st Neelsie Stellenbosch Gymkhana

Bjorn and JanRuan was able to get his dates in order and secured himself a return ticket from Zambia to South Africa to come and enjoy his first race of the season. Just after arrival at the Neelsie Student Center in Stellenbosch, we set of with changing the street tires to some serious rubber in the form of slicks for the bakkie, Escort, Fox and a set of semi’s for the Golf. The usual small talk was made and just at the end of changing the tires around someone started mentioning that they are feeling some water, we obviously laughed this of, and figured it would be the 3mm of water predicted, o man was we in for a surprise. The 3mm predicted rainfall turned out to be 97mm of rain during the entire day of competing, something that we were not prepared for.

Jan van der Vyver’s view:
Jan van der Vyver and Herman Mathee in Class D Golf 1.4i

JanThe morning started of with changing tires in rain, which was not any fun.
On the first class D run, we under estimated the amount of heat two bodies can produced, this ended up with fogged over windows and us not really able to see the track.  The golf had us running al over the place in the wet weather.  After the second run a few other D class vehicles changed to normal road tyres, for some more grip, but we new that the time lost on the second run was due to braking error on the driver side.  So the decision was made to stick to the semis on front and back, now it was time to see if it works on the last run.  With an spectacular run we ended up 3rd for the day in class D.

Jan van der Vyver in Class H

The class H run was used to learn to understand the wet weather driving a bit better, at the end of the day on the third run, the golf ended up to be the 5th fastest car on the day, which was al beautiful end of the day.

Herman Mathee and Jan van der Vyver in Class F Datsun 1400
Herman and JanAfter my first feel for the track next to Jan as his navigator, I realized that

it is very very wet and slippery out there, I made a decision to swop over to normal road tires on the front and rear. Slicks in my mind was just not really a option, front end grip is very important to my style of driving and with already so much wheel spin to keep under control Semi’s at the back was just not a option for the amount of water on the track.  The first run ended UP in being a crowd pleasure, we pulled off. From the start line and we had to

gain momentum with a huge amount of wheel spin, exciting the first corner the rear of the bakkie slipped out, at this particular point i decided it is time to play and started working on my drifting abilities. The second run went down much beter as I tried driving without the back stepping out or wheel spinning, the times also reflected that this is the style needed for the conditions. After the 3rd round we managed to finish 3rd in the Class.

Ruan Reynders and Herman Mathee in Class F Escort MKII
Ruan and HermanAs Ruan is a big believer in you use racing tires for racing and street tires for street use, I kept to his initial decision to compete with slicks, a decision I thought is crazy as the water was standing in puddles on the track. We went out the first round and had the usual wheel spin and confidence levels was low in the wet, something new to us, this car is built for dry condition, even my shoes was wet after the 1st run. Personally I think the biggest challenge for Ruan was to get his head into the game, driving in this sport is only a pièce of it, learning the track is môre important. During the course of the day Ruan got his confidence back behind the steering wheel after a absence to the sport for almost 9months, our times came down and manage to keep the car in one piece and place the car in 2nd place.

Bjorn Venter and Jan van der Vyver in Class D Golf 1.4i
Finished the day 1st in Class D

Mike and PietmanMike Mathee and Pietie Erasmus in Class D VW Fox 1.3 – Finished the day in 10th place in Class D

Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.3 – Pietman and MikeFinished the day in 6th place in Class D

Ruan Reynders in Class G Escort MKII
Finished the day in 5th place in Class G

Kobus Wilson Snr and Herman Mathee in Class E BMW 535i
Finished the day in 5th place in Class E

More Pictures – 1st Neelsie Stellenbosch Gymkhana

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