Weather indicated that this event could turn into a wet one, the possibility presented itself that it could be the same as last year’s event at Neelsie Stellenbosch gymkhana, an event that I really enjoyed since it was something completely new and a different challenge to drive on a drenched track. Friday night we as a team went down to the venue and helped to get all the fences
in place to ease the duties of the organiser for Saturday, this also allowed us the opportunity to have a look at the track and get our heads around it, which really helped at the end of the day. Back at home we packed every last bit of wet weather clothing we could as we were convinced it is going to be a wet one.
Saturday morning we got up and to our disappointment it was looking as if a wet track was out of the question, oh well, can’t get everything in life that you want. We moved down to the Fairbridge Mall and went thru the norm of setting up the Gazebo and prepping the vehicles for some fun before we started the usual walking and learning of the track, again I must add using a bicycle for this purpose is a real benefit.
Herman Mathee and Mike Mathee in Class F Datsun 1200 – 5th in Class F and 24th Overall
This was a particular busy day as I had to navigate for 4 other vehicles, two of which is for Kobus Wilson Snr that sure as hell know how to drift a car in very confined spaces, I’ll even put money down that he will put many RSA drifters to shame when the space available is limited. On this particular day Mike and I decided to lend “Lil Datto” to Kobus Wilson Jnr as his bakkie wasn’t available for the particular event, we did this as good sportsman and provide him the opportunity to
gather points for his championship campaign. To date the organizers have decided not to allow him to keep the points that he earn on the day for 2nd place in class f, which left a particular nasty taste in our mouths. Gymkhana being an entry level category into motorsport where participants help each other and try to grow the sport, but the above actions is not the way in which good deeds should be awarded.
Throughout the day I struggled to get the times needed that the other participants was posting for the class, round 1 and 2 was off by about 2-3sec per round from the fastest times for the day, the front suspension felt spongy and i was just unable to drive around this. Kobus was actually able to post times 2sec faster with the Datsun. The last round of the day I was determined to post a time good enough to slot into 3rd place for the day in the class, on the start line my foot slipped on the clutch, for this error under pressure I was awarded with a 10sec penalty which ended my day, at least it provided Mike with the opportunity to really test the handbrake of the Datsun. At the end of the day I’m really disappointed with my results, but luckily I can look back on the day and learn from the mistakes.
Jan van der Vyver’s view:
Jan van der Vyver and Herman Mathee in Class D VW Golf 1.4i – 2nd in Class D and 12th Overall
Text to follow shortly
Mike Mathee and Pietie Erasmus in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 1st in Class D and 11th Overall
Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 3rd in Class D and 15th Overall
Selina Botes and Herman Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 7th in Class D
The route layout was what we called easy compared to the Vredenburg routes which was a pretty difficult and a nightmare for new competitors. Throughout the day Selina was nervous but full of confidence regarding the route and this started to show with her times. During the day she started to drive harder and harder which will turn into real competitive times as time goes on.
Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class F Mazda 1000 – 7th in Class F
Rudolf Marais and Mike Mathee in Class F Mazda 616 – 8th in Class F
What a day of racing this was!
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Friday 27 April we placed some stickers on the escort, just to give it that personal touch. The spares and tools were
packed and we were ready for the action on Saturday.
Saturday 28 April the day started early, tyre pressures were checked and double checked on both vehicles. After that we moved to the racing venue at Fairbridge Mall in Brackenfell. After we picked our spot in the pit area we parked the vehicles and started setting up our Gazebo that would provide our shade for the rest of the day.
We moved the vehicles to the scrutineers, were it was left until our entries were finalized and we received our numbers and stickers for the day. The Escort were moved from pre-race entry number 63 to 54 to avoid confusion, the reason is quite obvious. From now on the escort will always be competing as number 54. The bakkie was entered as number 39 to provide us with enough time to get the escort ready for his run and to evaluate the lines we did with the bakkie. The vehicles passed scrutinering with flying colors.
Afterwords it was time to start the long walk, this is a must in the sport of gymkhana, a while ago I told one of my friends gymkhana is as much as getting fit as it is about racing.
We walked the set out route for the day more or less 4 times. Afterwords we stopped for some refreshments and started walking the route again, this time it was securely planted in our heads but we tried to figure out what lines we would take to give the best outcome and times at the end of the day.
With all of that done, the groundwork for the day was laid. Now it was just a matter of having a look at the different drivers lines around the course and learn from there mistakes. As the time approached for the bakkie to warm up and move to the starting line, the nerves were tingling all over, excitement you cannot describe to someone that has never competed.
Our moto: let the first run count, this helps a lot with the rest of the day. At least you now you have one time that counts. You can only improve on it.
The bakkie posted a time of 1:00.44.
After a brief wait it was the escorts’ time for his first run, we warmed up the slicks and made sure the new brake setup was al working and proceeded to the start cialis canadian pharmacy line. Our first run in the escort was a 1:07.38; we must have received a 10sec penalty somewhere. I have confirmed that we hit cone 4.
As the day went on, we tried different lines, amounts of wheel spin, braking points, etc. This was our second time competing in any Gymkhana, we are still learning to drive and all the different characteristics of the vehicles.
The bakkie posted a best time for the day of 0:59.65 on the 2nd round, we were happy with the time and used the rest of the runs to figure out how we are going to get that escort into the 54sec bracket.
Times started dropping for the escort, to a best time of 0:55.56 on the 3rd round. We returned to our pit area knowing that we will be in the top 3 with our current times. After a lot of head scratching we decided to raise the limiter with 500rpm to 7325rpm. This motor sounds so a live from 7000rpm+.
We returned to the starting line for our last run, as we were waiting we knew that no Class F vehicle have posted a time under 55sec, and that became our target, if we can get into the sub 55sec bracket the class win will be ours. And that is exactly what we did. The run was so smooth, wheel spin kept to the minimum, enough momentum thru corners to ensure good acceleration to the next, it was just perfect.
And yes, we have done it, the time came back as a 0:54.86, this meant our first class win and a 13th Overall position.
What a day of competitive competition in all the classes, especially class f, never have I seen times so close between the first 5 cars in the class. Excellent racing, thanks to all drivers, navigators and organizers for the day.
Especially thanks to our friends and family for supporting us and all the help on the day and before whilst preparing these to vehicles.