Tag Archives: racing

Wet to the Bone @ 1st Neelsie Stellenbosch Gymkhana

Bjorn and JanRuan was able to get his dates in order and secured himself a return ticket from Zambia to South Africa to come and enjoy his first race of the season. Just after arrival at the Neelsie Student Center in Stellenbosch, we set of with changing the street tires to some serious rubber in the form of slicks for the bakkie, Escort, Fox and a set of semi’s for the Golf. The usual small talk was made and just at the end of changing the tires around someone started mentioning that they are feeling some water, we obviously laughed this of, and figured it would be the 3mm of water predicted, o man was we in for a surprise. The 3mm predicted rainfall turned out to be 97mm of rain during the entire day of competing, something that we were not prepared for.

Jan van der Vyver’s view:
Jan van der Vyver and Herman Mathee in Class D Golf 1.4i

JanThe morning started of with changing tires in rain, which was not any fun.
On the first class D run, we under estimated the amount of heat two bodies can produced, this ended up with fogged over windows and us not really able to see the track.  The golf had us running al over the place in the wet weather.  After the second run a few other D class vehicles changed to normal road tyres, for some more grip, but we new that the time lost on the second run was due to braking error on the driver side.  So the decision was made to stick to the semis on front and back, now it was time to see if it works on the last run.  With an spectacular run we ended up 3rd for the day in class D.

Jan van der Vyver in Class H

The class H run was used to learn to understand the wet weather driving a bit better, at the end of the day on the third run, the golf ended up to be the 5th fastest car on the day, which was al beautiful end of the day.

Herman Mathee and Jan van der Vyver in Class F Datsun 1400
Herman and JanAfter my first feel for the track next to Jan as his navigator, I realized that

it is very very wet and slippery out there, I made a decision to swop over to normal road tires on the front and rear. Slicks in my mind was just not really a option, front end grip is very important to my style of driving and with already so much wheel spin to keep under control Semi’s at the back was just not a option for the amount of water on the track.  The first run ended UP in being a crowd pleasure, we pulled off. From the start line and we had to

gain momentum with a huge amount of wheel spin, exciting the first corner the rear of the bakkie slipped out, at this particular point i decided it is time to play and started working on my drifting abilities. The second run went down much beter as I tried driving without the back stepping out or wheel spinning, the times also reflected that this is the style needed for the conditions. After the 3rd round we managed to finish 3rd in the Class.

Ruan Reynders and Herman Mathee in Class F Escort MKII
Ruan and HermanAs Ruan is a big believer in you use racing tires for racing and street tires for street use, I kept to his initial decision to compete with slicks, a decision I thought is crazy as the water was standing in puddles on the track. We went out the first round and had the usual wheel spin and confidence levels was low in the wet, something new to us, this car is built for dry condition, even my shoes was wet after the 1st run. Personally I think the biggest challenge for Ruan was to get his head into the game, driving in this sport is only a pièce of it, learning the track is môre important. During the course of the day Ruan got his confidence back behind the steering wheel after a absence to the sport for almost 9months, our times came down and manage to keep the car in one piece and place the car in 2nd place.

Bjorn Venter and Jan van der Vyver in Class D Golf 1.4i
Finished the day 1st in Class D

Mike and PietmanMike Mathee and Pietie Erasmus in Class D VW Fox 1.3 – Finished the day in 10th place in Class D

Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.3 – Pietman and MikeFinished the day in 6th place in Class D

Ruan Reynders in Class G Escort MKII
Finished the day in 5th place in Class G

Kobus Wilson Snr and Herman Mathee in Class E BMW 535i
Finished the day in 5th place in Class E

More Pictures – 1st Neelsie Stellenbosch Gymkhana

Sea Sickness @ 1st Cape Gate Gymkhana

39D Pietie Erasmus and Mike MatheeI was asked after the event what my feelings is regarding the venue, the only word that came out of my mouth was “Amazing”. By far the only venue that came close to the ever popular Mykonos Gymkhana, at the end of the if we never get the opportunity to use Mykonos Casino again for a gymkhana, I hope Gape Gate will still be with us. The most spectacular part of this venue was the ability for the organizers to setup a fast and flowing route, which enabled a lot of the competitors to once again open the taps and test the brakes.

We also want to welcome Mike Mathee (my Brother) and very good friend Pietie Erasmus to the sport of gymkhana. This event was their first, sharing Mike's 1300 VW Fox, normally his run about  and my parts transport if the bakkie is on the jack, they drove and navigated this stock standard vehicle in a way that the best of seamen would have been sea sick after the three rounds. The above picture would explain the statement 100%, the amount of body roll on such a standard vehicle is enormous.

Herman Mathee and Jan van der Vyver in Class F Datsun Bakkie

Herman Mathee's View:

23F Herman Mathee and Jan van der VyverWhat can I say more than just, what a pleasant day, driving conditions, organizing and overall speed of this track, great stuff. Never before have we had the little bakkie so sideways exiting one of the high speed corners. This was the first event since I started with this event that I did not monitor times of myself or other competitors in my class, only after the event that I looked at the official times I rea

lized that I have won the class, but my biggest shock was by how far. Almost 6sec between me and the 2nd class placement on 2 best combined times for the day. Not only a great venue, but also a venue that suites my driving style.

Also one of two events where I thought here are we on our way to hit a wall or something with me navigating for Jan in the Golf. On our last run of the day in the Golf, Jan exited the 360 just before the end, and I'm pretty

sure my eyes were so far out it was actually sitting on the fender looking at how close it was.

Jan van der Vyver and Herman Mathee in Class D Golf 1.4i

Jan van der Vyver's view:
53H Jan van der VyverUpdate coming soon

Mike Mathee and Pietie Erasmus in Class

D VW Fox

Mike Mathee's View:
41D Mike Mathee and Pietie ErasmusUpdate coming soon

Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class D VW Fox

Pietie Erasmus's View:
39D Pietie Erasmus and Mike MatheeUpdate coming soon

More photos of the day: 1st Cape Gate Gymkhana


7th Uniref Langebaan Gymkhana

Jan Class H sharp rightThis is just one of those events that I enter light heartily, never have I arrived at this event and felt that confidence needed to achieve, properly because this is the one event on our calendar that has a track record with me. If the tarmac does not break up thru the day, it tries to tear my arms out of it sockets or has that ability to let small mistakes creep in that ends up in one little bakkie flying over truck tyres. One day

is one day that I will get to grips with you. On a more enjoyable note, I love the camping and travel that this event provide, nothing like a weekend away from the city.

Herman Mathee and Jan van der Vyver in Class F Datsun Bakkie

Herman Mathee’s View:

Herman and Jan Class F going straight

The day started of with the usual, setup the gazebo, help with the track preparations and get the track in-bedded in your head. After about 7 times around the track on foot I was confident I had.

Racing started and from the get go I was not lucky with the front end grip, tyre pressure up and down, but no difference, the set of slicks on the front was done, unfortunately I did not pack spare as this is away race and space is limited, I need to get tow vehicle. Luckily I was able to get 2nd in my class for the day. Navigating in the BMW and Skyline of which the owner and driver is Kobus Wilson Snr is always something to look forward to, or should I say sideways.

Jan van

der Vyver and Herman Mathee in Class D Golf 1.4i

Jan van der Vyver’s view:

Jan Class F sharp right 2Update coming

More photos of the day: 7th Uniref Langebaan Gymkhana

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 www.wbmk.co.za

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.

3rd and 5th at the 5th Glomix Bricks and Blocks Langebaan Gymkhana

The 5th Glomix Bricks and Blocks Langebaan Gymkhana started of on the wrong foot.
It all started while we were packing and getting ready on Friday afternoon just before we left for Langebaan. We fired up the Escort to for a fill up with fuel for the

journey, she is particularly thirsty at about 7km/1lt, all of a sudden we noticed that the motor is not performing as should be. After a while of searching for the possible culprit we ended up pulling the wiring harness and noticed that this fixed the problem, so we had a loose wire somewhere between the ECU and the supporting wires. Unfortunately we did not have time to fix the loose wire as night fall was approaching and we still had to get to Langebaan and setup tent.

63_1We set of on our little trip, Ruan in front and me at the back, this was the first time that the bakkie's new motor was going to be driven further than 10km non stop, my eyes where fixed to the heat gauge and oil light. Just as we got out of the city Ruan phoned and told me to move to the front as his wipers is not working. After the laughter passed, I moved to the front to clear the road for Ruan to follow (Some reasons why a dedicated street legal racing car should be towed and not driven).

After arrival at Lientjiesklip, we where greeted with a coldish wind and a bunch of rain clouds, we quickly started setting up our camping site before it started to rain. We quickly gathered that the more you setup camp the faster and easier it gets. The two of us got in the bakkie and drove down to Flamingos where we did our race entry and was provided with the route layout for the next days racing.

After the battle with the previous nights rain, we made a early start to the day and moved down to Flamingos where the days racing would take place. It quickly became apparent that the new camber/caster plates fitted to the escort does help a lot with camber and caster, but is not that good for shocks, after some further investigation it was apparent that the shocks are bottoming out. We raised the front suspension to overcome this for the day. At a later stage we fixed this by getting a new pair of gas charged shocks machined down the top to allow us more or less 50mm more travel, just what we needed if the suspension is set for lower 13″


The bakkie proved to be a new beast to master with the modifications done to the motor, it even excited me so much that on my first run I forgot the track and my hands was so busy keeping the rear in place that I even forgot to listen to my navigator, stupid me, but it just goes to show, you need to know your vehicle. On the other hand, Ruan piloted

the Escort very good and was actually listening to me in the navigator seat as he made no mistakes. It went very well, until the last run, we made some huge mistakes and decided to burn some rubber.

After the days racing we ended 3rd with the Escort and 5th with the bakkie in class F.

To add to all that had us uncomfortable for the weekend, we had to inform the organizers of the Gymkhana's that this was the last event in which Ruan and the Escort will be competing for the next 20 months. This is due to work commitments, Ruan will be stationary in Zambia for the period of 20 months. It is just not feasible to travel from Zambia to RSA every month, so he made a decision to return to the sport when he is back.

I would just like to take the time congratulate him for the excellent results he achieved with the Escort and being a good friend, navigator and good racing partner. We are waiting on your return.


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RWD will you stay close to our hearts and always try to stick a pole in the FWD vehicles.

Personally I feel for the FWD drivers, they chose the easy route and will never know what it feels like driving a fun car.

Ok Ok, enough of this mocking. Jan we hope all the best to you, when we started out at the beginning of the year it was mind blowing, from the first entry that we heard you need to walk the track to learn it, well, personally I do not see a problem with that, but when you need to walk that

track 5 times with bare feet it starts hurting. We learned a lot of this sport, not only racing, but ourselves and the vehicles, the endless hours spend planning, researching and time in the garage.

I hope we will be able to assist, share our experience and help you and your vehicle to perform to it's best – all in good time. I'll start searching for a few good modifications.

Jan will also be my new navigator, I'm pretty sure Jan will be as clear as Ruan, but Louder will not heard, as I have the tendency to

be on the deaf side from time to time.

Congrats on your vehicle and the addition to Team Race-tech.co.za I can promise you, you will have fun and never be able to get enough.