Hard work pays @ 5th Lions Vredendal Gymkhana

5th VredendalThe weeks preceding the event was very busy, especially in the home of the two Mathee brothers, we basically spend all our time between work, the garage, bed and Selina made sure we had enough coffee to keep us going. Mike played with a combination of different gearboxes, cams, etc. in the Fox. He either had way too much time on his hands or was determined to make the Fox a more competitive vehicle, I ran out of fingers counting the past 12 evenings he spend underneath that car.

After the Piketberg event, Mike and I decided that “Lil Datto” either needs a lot more rpm or a different differential ratio, as 1st gear was way too short for the straights and 2nd to dead. Between building my new race car “Datto LINK” I managed to source a very special ratio BMW E36 open differential. Luckily for me all the talk on the forums was correct when they stated that the E30 and E36 Medium case differentials use the same internals, this made building a custom ratio E30 Limited slip differential quite easy, poor “Datto” had to sacrifice his differential for the custom unit. Ruan and I spend time under the rear suspension of “Lil Datto” to get this new unit installed, the results was better than we expected, there is a big difference between theory and principle. “Lil Datto” was

so abused at the Piketberg gymkhana that we just had to double check every single suspension bolt, gave it a good rub with polishing cream and polish, at least the little car now looks as if it is only one colour.

A big thanks must go out to Johan Spies from Bergsig Motors 023 3412826 @ Worcester who extended an invitation to Pietie, Mike and myself to transport our vehicles to Vredendal and back, this meant we could drive thru to Vredendal without the worries of towing a vehicle and could have a nice and relaxing drive to Vredendal, the only drawback to this was the fact that everything had to be ready Wednesday evening as we had to take the Fox and Datsun to Worcester Thursday evening were they were loaded the Friday morning for their journey to Vredendal.

Saturday morning started with the usual, 6am wake up, get everything ready for the day. On arrival at the venue we were greeted with quite a surprising fog cover, something one of the locals told us is very uncommon this time of the year, well this was not going to stop us from getting everything ready for the fun to follow later in the day. Selina and Natasha was in charged off the gazebos while the boys kept themselves busy with preparing the vehicles. The usual documentation was finished and the weapon was put to good use learning the track. The use of the bicycle really aids in getting the route faster in your head.

Herman Mathee and Mike Mathee in Class F Datsun 1200 – 2nd in Class F and 9th Overall

Herman and Mike Class F Datsun 1200Being on an Airfield, we were allowed to warm our tyres and drive train before a run, an opportunity I grasped with open arms as this would’ve been the first opportunity to get a feeling for the new differential with tight turns and hard acceleration. On the start line, looking at the first corner, it really looked very far and I knew we will be sitting on the limiter to the breaking point, we launched, what a surprise, it was must faster and the acceleration was much better than with the previous differential, but this was short leaved as we hit the limiter, which felt like just after the start, we went thru the 1st figure of 8 and on the entry changed to 2nd, this felt very nice as ‘Lil’ really accelerated hard to the next figure of 8, back to 1st and on the entry shifted to 2nd. Drifted the car into the slalom, once at the bottom, Mike quickly realised that I was

way too busy keeping the car on the racing line, he quickly changed the car back to 1st, all I had to do was time the clutch pedal. Entering the slalom, changed to 2nd, thru it and then a hard acceleration thru the last kink to the finish. This being Vredendal and the one course that I really like to test a cars handling and my own abilities, I had a nerves lift going thru the kink. At that point I forgot about the competition and set my own goals for the day as trying to flat foot “Lil” thru the kink.

Herman and Mike Class F Datsun 1200-1We ended the round with a 1:04.95. With the goal set, the 2nd round was all about flat footing “Lil” thru the kink, moving thru the route went as previous, only with me trying to change back to 1st coming out of the slalom, which was to slow, on our way back to the finish i almost got the feeling Mike was getting ready for the fact that his little brother is really going to tackle the kink and flat foot it, well he was quite right, I had my mind set at flying thru the kink on the limiter at 78km/h, and that was exactly what we did. Goal achieved for the weekend. Round 3 was almost exactly the same thing, how fast can we enter the kink and sit on the limiter to the end. We flow thru that thing, surprising more than one person with the superb handling and braking capabilities of “Lil Datto”. Only then I realised that the day was at an end, I must admit, Kobus Wilson was untouchable on this specific route, if only I started concentrating at driving the complete route and not only the kink, maybe just maybe I could have tried chasing him. The day ended with a 2nd in class position and 9th overall.

I even managed to get “Lil Datto” as the photo on an article on Motorsport South Africa’s website, follow the link to the article: http://www.motorsport.co.za/News/DisplayNewsItem.aspx?niid=11105

Mike Mathee and Pietie Erasmus in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 1st in Class D and 5th Overall

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Bjorn Venter and Jan van der Vyver in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 2nd in Class D and 7th Overall

3D Björn Venter and Jan van der Vyver_0

Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 3rd in Class D and 10th Overall

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Jan van der Vyver and Bjorn Venter in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 4th in Class D and 16th Overall

44D Jan van der Vyver and Björn Venter_0

Ruan Reynders and Herman Mathee in Class F Datsun 1200 – 4th in Class F and 17th Overall

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Ruan Reynders and Herman Mathee in Class G Ford Focus ST– 3rd in Class G and 34th Overall

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Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class F Mazda F1000 – 5th in Class F and 36th Overall

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Selina Botes and Herman Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 7th in Class D and 43rd Overall

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Thanks to all the sponsors, marshals for making this event the highlight on the calendar.

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