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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

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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

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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.

Bjorn achieves a personal goal @ 3rd Piketberg Gymkhana

3rd Piketberg Gymkhana RouteThe weeks preceding the event went by like all the other, check and prepare the vehicles, except Mike fitting power steering to his VW Fox. Everything went smoothly with the installation with one or two issues presenting themselves, understandable if you consider the MK1 Golf/Fox shell was never intended to utilize power steering. Saturday morning 6 o’clock arrived and we started our little journey to Piketberg, on our way to the little town we noticed outside temperatures of 3.5degrees, luckily we packed enough warm clothes to battle the temperatures.

On arrival at the Piketberg Municipal Testing Grounds, we found ourselves a very nice location next to the start/finish on the Piketberg hospital grounds which served as the pits for the day, this allowed us to have out Gazebo’s next to the vehicles which helps allot especially with the vehicles being used multiple times on a specific round with different drivers and navigators. We went about the usual, setup the gazebo’s unpack the gears etc., then moved onto the vehicles. A frames were removed, racing tyres installed and all necessary suspension changes made to accommodate the short bumpy route, seeing that it was so cold outside; tyre temperatures was very high on the list of preparation work. Being the first time that the Race-Tech crew were participating at the event, everything was new to us.

Pietie unfortunately had to cancel his entry with the Mazda F due to improvements currently being done on the vehicle, due to this he could focus on his FWD entry with Mike next to him.

Bjorn Venter and Jan van der Vyver in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 1st in Class D and 1st Overall

51D Björn Venter - Jan van der Vyver (1)_0.jpgJan at last convinced Bjorn to start competing again and what a result he achieved with on his return, Bjorn drove magnificently throughout the day, the two of us even disputed his first time and was under the impression he received an incorrect time and waited for round 2, if he could match the time we knew the 1st one was valid. He finished his second round 2 seconds faster than the first round and to make matters worse for the quicker classes was that his time was one of the best for the day in a 1400 powered vehicle which left the rest shell shocked. To sum it up Bjorn slightly bettered his 2nd round time with round 3 and took overall victory on the day, 2seconds faster than the overall championship leader Izak van Zyl piloting the Dynotech turbocharged VW Golf. Quite frankly a shocking surprise but well deserved.

Herman Mathee and Mike Mathee in Class F Datsun 1200 – 1st in Class F and 6th Overall

23F Herman and Mike Mathee (3)_0.jpgHaving been a quit day for me on the navigating side with only 3 vehicles, which was 6 positions from each other provided me the opportunity to watch some gymkhana for the first time in the last 2 seasons. After making some improvements on the Datsun’s camber/castor plates setup time was reduced considerably. Luckily for me Mike went out on the route before me and could provide with some vital information regarding the track conditions and a few heads-up. We launched nicely, as we moved thru the middle section of the course it became apparent that today is the day that the “Lil Datto” is going to spend a lot of time at 7500 rpm. The first run I used to get familiar with the route and track conditions. On our way from one corner to the next we were sitting on the limiter in 1st, just tapping of at corner entry and then the same all over again. We finished the route with a time of 1:15.26, which we were actually happy with as we knew their isn’t a lot more in the car. This time placed us in 4th in class after round 1. As I did my duties as a navigator the track became warmer and warmer, which could definitely been seen by the other competitors times.
We entered round 2 with the impression that if we could match or slightly better the time we would be happy as we just didn’t have the legs with the car and changing to 2nd could become a problem. We drove thru the route with the car more on the limits, actually started to feel quite sad for the poor thing, but being a A series Datsun motor that thought quickly disappeared. We finished the route with a very impressive improvement and ended posting a time of 1:11.26, which we found quite astonishing. This time promoted us to 1st in class provisionally.
23F Herman and Mike Mathee (2)_1.jpgStanding in the line waiting to get to the start was probably the most nerve wrecking to date, as I was currently leading class F with Mike’s car and it would be a first for the car if I could win the class. This particular car is really surprising us race after race, as it is basically just a bunch of slapped together parts that is actually working quite well together. As we pulled away my brain was just telling my arms and legs to do exactly what they did in round 3, but my thoughts was causing the chaos, constantly reminding me that I need to perform if I want to win the class as there was another round after this one. We had the car on its limits throughout the route, but only managed to post a time of 1:12.75, not as great as the previous one, this kept us in 1st place and .7 seconds in front of second place.
We were ecstatic with the day, but we still had one round to complete as

generic viagra online the Clark of the Course was evaluating the possibility of a 4th round if the sunlight would prevail. It was a long nerve wrecking wait, with the only thing to do was to listen to the other class F competitors posting some pretty decent times. Just before the end of the 3rd round the call came out that there will be no 4th round do the sunlight fading very fast. Mike and I won the class and the best thing I could think off at the time was to crack open a Non Alchaholic beer (still had to drive home) to celebrate as we started prepping the vehicles for the open road home.

Selina Botes and Herman Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 8th in Class D and 42nd Overall

40D Selina Botes - Herman Mathee (1)_0.jpgRace after race Selina is getting more and more to grips with the entire concept of gymkhana, this is her first year competing after attending races last year with me, where I competed, she indicated that she also wants to drive at the end of last year, well what were we to say, we strapped her to the seat of Mike’s Fox one evening at Killarney racetrack and she were threw into the deep end. As time went on she started to realise that there is way more to the sport than just driving, here you have about 2 hours on average to learn the route as there is most definitely no time looking at a map while flying thru the course. With 2 very difficult routes after the opening event it sure was not easy. Although Selina is competing in the big boys class seeing that I’m navigating and encouraging her, if we compare her times with the al ladies class, she would have ended

4th in the class, a brilliant achievement none the less, only time will tell how comfortable she will become behind the wheel. A big thanks goes out to my brother who spend countless hours installing power steering into his VW Fox, which is making the live behind the steering wheel much easier for Selina.

Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 2nd in Class D and 12th Overall

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Ruan Reynders and Herman Mathee in Class F Datsun 1200 – 4th in Class F and 13th Overall

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Mike Mathee and Pietie Erasmus in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 4th in Class D and 23rd Overall

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Rudolf Marais and Mike Mathee in Class F Mazda 616 – 7th in Class F and 40th Overall

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Jan van der Vyver and Bjorn Venter in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 7th in Class D and 41st Overall

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2011 Season Opener @ 9th Flamingos Langebaan Gymkhana

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This opening event for us as a team was very excited, due to a 2 new cars that was build and our outfits. The idea of the shirts started a last year, we wanted to stand out a little between the crowds and decided we need some branding as we are currently 9 members that drive and navigate under the www.race-tech.co.za name. This all started with only two friends that have managed to convince out friends to come and enjoy the sport. New members to the team is Selina Botes (driving Mike Mathee VW Fox) and Rudolf Marais, last year while we were standing in the sun waiting for our next run, Rudolf was busy slaving away on his restored Mazda 616. The car was completely stripped down, sprayed in a very nice blue, motor overhauled and assembled again, know the mammoth task start to get it in shape. Having a nice looking car only score points with the crowd, not with your peers racing against you. “Performance and handling does more for good track times than looks…”
During the off season, my brother, father and I sure as hell was not sitting around waiting for our older days to come closer. I decided that I needed to sell the Datsun bakkie, rust was taking over, this wasn’t a very hard decision to make, as I have been busy building a new race car for the last year. Mike bought himself a Datsun 1200 last year with big plans for, but since my car is still under manufacturing, I took over his big plans and decided that we will race with it until my car is done. The 1200 was stripped and the complete running gear was swapped with the bakkie and a few other bits like pedals, seats, front suspension and a completely new rear suspension was added to the 1200. This kept us busy for more or less 3 months. All this while I continued with building my new cars roll cage, but I have to admit, the race car was the one collecting dust half of the time.

We arrived at Langebaan the Friday evening, setup camp and went down to Flamingo’s to walk thru the route a few times, we had about an hour before it was dark, the route was new and would present a few challenges the next day, but at least we had a head start on learning the track. Once back at the camp site Pietie arrived with his Mazda F on the back of a trailer, we were so eager to help him offload it, that we forgot a few essentials, after utilizing a few jacks and ramps we got the trailer unstuck and could offload the F, “some say this was wasting time, we say this was an adventure”.

The next morning was pretty busy with getting our vehicles in order, going thru documentation and scrutinering. We had the normal first event issues like ground wires that came loose on engine rpm limiters, installing tyres in the wrong sequence etc. After a hour we were back in the groove and got every vehicle race prepped. We had another opportunity to walk thru the route before drivers briefing and the event started.

Jan van der Vyver’s view:
Jan van der Vyver and Herman Mathee in Class D VW Golf 1.4i – 1st in Class D and 6th Overall

IMG_9300-1_0.jpgThe day started off at 5:00 after the U2 concert. But looking at the skies we were going

to have a great day. Running at number 33 gave the nerves sometime to calm down. My first round was an 1:08 and I heard something from the commentators side, about me and wondering what I had for breakfast (a Whole lot of nothing at that time). After the first runs was completed, I realized that everything started to come together on the golf, her lifters was even “clapping hands”. The second runs in the D and H class was great fun. The little sleep and not drinking enough water caught up with me in the third run with a cramp in my left arm, but still a good time.

I was over the moon with the results of 6th overall, 1st class D and 3rd in class H. This was the most successful outing for me yet, and we can only hope that the rest of the season stays on par. Thank you to my wife for supporting me, and to all the people who helped with the car (Herman, Mike, Stephan, Leon, Marius, Lee, Bjorn)

Herman Mathee and Mike Mathee in Class F Datsun 1200 – 3rd & 5th in Class F

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the hard work of the last 3 months was at a end to get “Lil Datto” to where it is today, know it was time to get it on the track and start getting the feeling how the car handled. We only packed one set of tyres for the car, 14″ Bridgestone semi’s for the rear and 13″ Dunlop semi’s for the front. As we drive in n number order, I was the first one to take “Lil Datto” thru the route, and boy was it nice and also just as frustrating. As this was my first time driving a RWD vehicle with a limited slip differential on a gymkhana route, it took some getting used to, I’m pretty sure it will take a few events to get used to this. Our biggest concern was the exit speed out of corners and starts due to a long duration cam, but at the end of the day this proved to be a very nicely balanced setup, the concerns was with the front suspension, front end grip disappeared somewhere down the road, either during swopping the parts from the old bakkie to the car or while fitting the new rear suspension.

56F Mike and Herman Mathee - Race-Tech Datsun 1200GX - 1400_0.jpgGetting the car thru slow speed corners was a complete frustration and allot of swear words were exchanged between driver and suspension, it was under steering allot, yes it has a LSD fitted in the rear that aids with under steer, but this isn’t just under steer, definitely a few other parameters also at work. Even thru the higher speed corners the front felt loose, this normally the being driven at full speed and total confidence. As the day went on, we stole the Fox 13″ slicks and Mike tried them out on his second run, this was even worse, at least this helped with the decision to scrap them as they were done. Afterwards Jan borrowed us a set of old 14″ semi’s for the front. This made a huge difference but was not the answer, we had to sit down and figure a way out to get front suspension working.

At the end of the day Mike was able to bring the car home a Class position of 5th and I 3rd. Never in my life have I seen my brother exit a route and smiling more than with this little car. Thanks Mike for providing me with the opportunity to use your car until “Datto” is done. We are very pleased with the car, for its first real event it did very good, personally I think the car has allot more to offer, you just get that feeling when moving thru the route, if time is on my side, I will rethink the front suspension and make the necessary changes.

Mike Mathee and Pietie Erasmus in Class D VW Fox 1.3 – 4th in Class DIMG_9226_0.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

37D Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee - Race-Tech VW Fox 1300_0.jpgPietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.3 – 5th in Class D

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_9052-1_0.jpgSelina Botes and Herman Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.3 – 7th in Class D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_8972_0.jpgPietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class F Mazda 1000 – 6th in Class F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_9265_0.jpgRudolf Marais and Mike Mathee in Class F Mazda 616 – 8th in Class F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Pictures – 9th Flamingos Langebaan Gymkhana

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.

Diffirential gears isn't made to look like this

Just to set the record straight, Ruan job well done, not even a grinder and a hammer would make it look like this.

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MT”>Sun&PlanetaryGears

On our last run at the 22nd Casino Mykonos Langebaan Gymkhana, we entered the last sector of the

route, just as we came around a right hand turn, we just here this loud clap following with a few of these *&%#, we retired.

We new it wasn’t clutch, so it had to be more to the rear. After pushing it back to the pits, we jacket it up and started praying that it was the diff inner and

not a side shaft. Tuesday we stripped it, luckily for us it is the planetary & sun gears that just decided 2.0lt Zetec power was enough. Bugger, and I thought a set of throttles and decent cams will make it more interesting. Luckily not side shafts, as that would mean more machining to get the disc brakes to fit new side shafts.

We sourced a donor diff on Tuesday afternoon even before we new what exactly it is.

EscortDonorDiff

The Escort will be up and running over the weekend.