The week leading up to the event was spent under “Lil Datto” front suspension, having taken it completely apart, to widen the track more. Some interesting male/female extension pieces was machined to allow for further adjustment of the track. The original pieces was on their limits and didn’t allow for more adjustment, the steering arms, was adjusted to use only 10mm of thread, which isn’t considered to be very safe. But from time to time these extreme measure are needed to test a theory in the practical world in order to make the decision if it is worthwhile to spend money on the modification, luckily for me this proved to be a huge success and I went ahead. The end result was a front end which is +- 85mm wider per side.
Another early morning start at 04:00am, packed the cool bags, attached the race vehicles and off we were at 05:15. On arrival at Weskus Mall at 07:00 we immediately started with swapping tyres, adjusting the suspensions and getting everything in place ready for the action to start. Went thru documentation and scrutineering; then the mega task of learning the route started, the itself not that difficult, but the venue with all the little bushes making it very confusing. Once we started with the learning of the route we had absolutely no rest what so ever. Being the most intimidating venue that we have come across in Gymkhana to date, the rest of the season can only be easier. This venue is so bad, I bought myself a video camera, maybe some previewing of the venue would help in the future.
Mike Mathee and Herman Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 1st in Class D and 13th Overall
navigate for 6 different entries on the day, the first outing is always the most important, my nerves was shattered and in the back of my mind I was struggling to keep the doubt under control as I was very uncomfortable with the route. Mike was the poor soul that was first on my list, placing the VW Fox on the line, we set off and all of a sudden the doubt cleared and we navigated thru the route with no navigation errors. On his first run he had to select reverse as his incoming line to a hairpin corners was completely off, something that I think was a first for me. Selina found it very difficult to remember the route thru the 30+ identical looking bushes, hopefully being the last time we compete at the venue this year, we can only looking forward to the other venues with their own challenges. The day continued with a straight battle between Mike and Jan for Class D honours, at the end of the day, the battle was decided with a very quick time from Mike on his last run which secured the title for the day. Hopefully on the next event Mike’s regular navigator will be back and for filling his duties next to my brother, as I really do feel additional concern in navigating for my brother and Jan in the same class when they are this competitive.
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 14th Overall
Herman Mathee and Mike Mathee in Class F Datsun 1200 – 2nd in Class F and 12th Overall
Starting the first round in “Lil Datto” at 5000rpm was a complete nightmare, as the vehicle launched hard and then all of a sudden the revs fell and I had to sit there and wait for it to pick up again; SU’s your days are numbered, going thru the first few corners I could feel something isn’t 100% correct, but once we got to the very technical side of things these concerns was highlighted, the front end felt slow to accept input. We continued thru the route and was the only vehicle in class F to have a clean run thru the route after the first round. Still trying to figure out what was causing the lack of response and front end grip we launched again for the 2nd round, with the revs higher and a little longer on the clutch it was much better. Having decided that we should drive much tighter lines and not overdrive the vehicle we swept thru the corners to stop at the finish line a full 3sec faster than before. Very pleased with this time, we came to the conclusion that the car really does not like to be overdriven and forget about the front end. The 3rd round I was very confident and determined to finish the day with a sub 1min 21sec time, this over confidence soon became apparent as I skipped a part of the course and had to turn around to correct it. Not very pleased with this I set off to have a little fun and practising my handbrake cornering, going thru a ditch and losing 1 bar of air pressure in the one rear wheel was a result of this. After the event when torqueing the wheel nuts on the street wheels, we realised that the front wheels had allot of play on, after inspection it became apparent that the front track rod bushes wasn’t tightened enough, causing the spongy feeling and lack of response.
Never the less, a very fun filled and enjoyable outing and one that will be with me for a very long time seeing that a made a big driving error and need to concentrate on it to rectify it, Lesson of the day: Listen to your navigator, it is there role next to you to keep you on route.
Selina Botes and Herman Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 7th in Class D