Category Archives: race-tech

Golf and Datsun on Top @ 3rd Fairbridge Mall Gymkhana

Jan van der Vyver - VW Golf Citi 1400i_0The season opening event turned out to be one of the busiest events for me on the driving side but the most time was used on navigating for  some superb vehicles. This event also turned out to be the one that would change our lives, as it became the event that we won our classes, this particular day will not be forgotten soon.

The day started of with the usual changing tires, doing the necessary setup work on the vehicles, entry and getting into the spirit of fun and competitive racing. This reminds me, I need to get a easier way of changing tires, maybe I’m just getting more and more lazy, but hell it aint fun anymore that I can promise you.

The day started of with Jan competing in Class C (FWD up to 1400cc) and me navigating for him, from the first run we knew this is going to be a special events, no driver errors and no navigation errors that I know of. Well so much happens in a car on this tight technical course that I would not be able to pickup all the mistakes. As the day went on Jan’s times improved to the point were he took victory in the class, his personal best to date, good work Jan, this sort of achievement just helps to built the confidence and make the whole experience more fun. Not that it is not fun, but you can also have more fun. Jan also competed in the single seater class that really helped him figuring out the correct lines which in my opinion was the needed boost to give him that all important first class win.

Herman Mathee and Jan van der Vyver - Datsun LDV 1400The bakkies first run with Jan besides me doing the navigating turned out to be the second best time of the day.  Normally the first run is used to get used to the track conditions and learn the lines. The second round was about 1sec down on

the first run, tire pressures was crucial on the day, to soft and the rubber flex to much, to hard and the grip is down on the tight stuff, on the 3rd run we got it right and was the best time for the day. The whole day it was a battle to keep ahead of Anton Smit with his Toyota 4AGE powered bakkie. Luckily for me, my 3rd run was good enough to keep me ahead of Anton to give me my 1st Class win with a total time of only 0.33 sec faster for the day. On another note, do not go racing with a cellphone in the glove box, on my 4th run accelerating hard towards a pavement the low battery warning went of and we had quite

a laugh, the time for the 4th run reflected that if you’re distracted, you will lose time.

The rest of the day was used to navigate for Kobus Wilson Snr in his sideways BMW 535i and Nissan Skyline GTX fitted with a Ford V8, navigating int these sideways beasts was almost as good as winning my first Class win. Navigating for new comer and friend Riaan Snijman in his self build Lotus 7 kit kar fitted with a very nice Ford Kent machine took the edge of thinking what to do to keep ahead of Anton. This was the weirdest car to navigate for yet, it is so loud it is almost impossible to look at the road and also talking in the direction of the driver.

More photos of the day: 3rd Fairbridge Mall Gymkhana Photos

Photos from

Personal Best @ 24th Casino Mykonos Langebaan Gymkhana

Golf 3What a assume day it turned out to be for racing, the night before when me and Jan walked and learned the track the wind was hauling. The sky was clear and not a single cloud in the air that would spoil our day of fun and some serious racing.

At the end of the day, this event turned out to be one of my best to date. Everything just went good, excellent navigating from Jan, 50% of my achievement on the day could be contributed to his excellent navigating skills, the other 40% went to the excellent setup on the suspension that kept me and “Einstein”  awake way past our bed time the weeks before the event. The other 10% went to our support group of friends, I was just there to hang on for dear live as the bakkie was picking up inside wheels

left right and center threw the fast passed corners of Mykonos.

Just to give you an idea, the rear suspension on the bakkie was stripped and re assembled 3 times in a weeks time before this event, after each practice session it was stripped and tuned. On the Golf a lot also changed before the event. A set of coil overs for the front and rear was imported. I also made a front lower strut brace to stiffen things up a little more. The coil overs was fitted and I can promise you, this is what VW needed to do to all Golf’s, these coil overs transformed this car from cheap transport to something you can actually give to your children to get to school and back. On the downside, it is just a little bit on the hard

side for every day driving, but a absolute pleasure to drive from a handling aspect. I truly believe Jan is as excited as I am about the future of this vehicle.

Luckily for us, the previous night all our friends started to chip in and we made short work of prepping the vehicles for the following days racing, tires, camber etc was done in record time and a lot of laughter provided by Mr. Colbrin. This gave as the opportunity to use all of our time before the action started to concentrate on getting the track correct.

24th Casino Mykonos Gymkhana - B140The day turned out to be very tough on me physically, having to drive my own vehicle, navigate for Jan and Kobus Wilson with the very rapid Nissan 1400 bakkie asked me to navigate for him in the bakkie and his sisters Golf. But it was worth it, never have I enjoyed a day of racing more than this.

The times looked good for the bakkie and on the Golf, with each round and the confidence growing, the times came down, which is good on Mykonos as this is the one event that could catch you out faster than you think with all the side walks and fences. We struggled a lot with the Golf’s setup, especially in the rear department, with the beast breaking away on hard cornering, Isak van Zyl from Dynotech was kind enough to lend Jan a set of semi slicks to use on the rear, which made a huge difference. This meant Jan had to jump on his piggy bank to get some money for a set before the next event. Jan was able to place to place the Golf just out of a top 10 position. The second outing for Jan and the Golf, a very good result, keep up the good work.

The first event were the bakkie did not suffer from excessive wheel spin, due partly to the layout of the track, the full  slicks in front, semi’s at the back , the suspension and experience starting to kick in, why only now, but yes, it takes some time to learn this sort of thing under the conditions. When the final round arrived we already knew we have the 3rd place in Class F sealed, we approached the starting line, not knowing if we are going to attack or just drive to finish, with all the nerves settled we pulled away, what a lap, it was hard, smooth and very fast, until we came out of a sweeping left hand corner and just heard a sound like spanners falling around in the back of the bakkie. We took the caution decision to retire the from the round. It ended being a wheel spacer that snapped. The bakkie performed very well against vehicles with 1600 motors, limited slip diffs, etc. Our best time was only 0.30sec slower than these vehicles.

Thanks to everyone that provided a hand, some advice, a cold-drink when we needed it the most.

A special thanks need to go out to my Father that attended the event, without you, I would not be the owner of this bakkie and to “Einstein” for all the hard work when the garage doors close and Autocad is fired up.

We look forward to the return of Ruan and the very quick Ford Escort for the next event at Flamingos Langebaan, Saturday 28 November.

2nd Mountain Mill Mall Worcester Gymkhana

23F Herman Mathee - Jan van der Vyver_0What a event this turned out to be, not only the fun part of racing the Bakkie and the Golf but the planning, building of it to. Me and Ruan learned the hard way to not work on vehicles the week before a event, everything should be done and tested a week before

the event, but NO, this time I ignored my own advice and did a lot of work in the week before the event.

All started with the new front suspension the bakkie received a week or two earlier, we struggled with front end grip, once that was sorted it resulted in either the driver or navigator on the other one’s lap or a face against a  window, the standard seat and seat belts just wasn’t up to the task to keep occupants in there place to concentrate at the job at hand.

On Friday, the day before the event, Jan and I drove threw to Worcester, finalized all the paper work and learned the track, after that we where buy until 12 o’clock the evening adding another 25mm of height to the seats to allow me a better view of obstacles around the nose of the bakkie.

The day kicked of with everything on time and running very nicely, the bakkie went out first and I felt very unsure about the rear stepping out with the slicks on the very nice tarmac. After the run I did not know what to do, drive it harder, softer, I was lost. The golf came out a few minutes after me, Jan drove some good lines for a person that was competing in his first ever gymkhana,

not making one mistake on the route, always the first objective for a new person in the sport. He had a lot of trouble with shifting from 2nd to 1st.

Photographer: Johan Driver: Jan  Co Driver: HermanThe day continued without any problems, this was the first time that I navigated for a front wheel drive vehicle, and boy I can tell you one thing, I was scared shiitless when we entered a few of the corners on normal street tires, we actually hit the tarmac with the outer lip of the wheels, leaving some nice fresh marks on the alloys. I was just reminded why we spend a lot of money on good racing tires and try to get rid of body roll, it is just not fun hanging on when you need to concentrate on driving or navigating. After the first run with the Golf, it was decided that a the poor little Golf need at least 2 Semi Slicks in front, that will help a lot with traction and confidence.

After the second rounds was done, we where informed that there is only time for a third, automatically this meant that the last round was the most important one, and indeed it turned out to be exactly that, The bakkie had to get a time in the 1m 6sec bracket to finalize a 3rd place. I was so excited as this would have been my first 3rd place. As I completed the run I knew the time was good, but then, I stopped 20mm to far and received a 10sec penalty and lost 3rd and had to settle for 4th place in my class. Jan finished the day with a 5sec improvement from his first run to his last one, indicating that he learned heaps on the day.

Lessons learned: Always compete against your own abilities and never against other people or there times. Mistakes are way to easy to make.

Please feel free to have a look at a in car lap of the bakkie going around the route. Link

Ruan indicated that he will be present at the next event in Langebaan @ Mykonos Casino as he is deprived of the smell of racing in Zambia. We look forward to the event and hope that all will be in order to make it a very memorable event for us.

Datsun Coil Over Build

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ery/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=684&g2_GALLERYSID=TMP_SESSION_ID_DI_NOISSES_PMT” alt=”DatsunCoilOver089″ width=”307″ height=”230″ />Just have a look at these. They are an absolute blast to drive with, but do believe me, it took way more time than needed to plan and source the correct parts for the build, in fact the build went off without a hint of trouble.

All parts where sourced from local RSA suppliers, in my opinion this was the hardest part of the whole build, especially the shocks.

The biggest success to the build can be coupled to good planning. My biggest single piece of advice to anyone that plans on a build like this, spend a lot of time on the planning, it makes life easier.

Parts Used:

  • Datsun B140 LDV original


  • Volkswagen Rabbit Shock Cartridge Inserts
  • 250lbs x 8inch Race Springs
  • Thread Tubes
  • Retaining nuts and cap
  • 14mm Rose Joints

Have a look at some of the images – Datsun Coil Over Build

Keep an eye out for a complete HOWTO on building a set of coil over's. The HOWTO will be based on the set in question, but will

be easily adobtable to other makes of vehicles with good planning and some forward thinking added to the mix.