Tag Archives: WBMK

2011 Wings and Wheels

Let me try and explain why this event was by far my most favourite one.

Witzenberg Motor Club Gymkhana series competitors was invited to come and entertain the visitors at the 2011 Ysterplaat Wings and Wheels Air show. No results, no official racing etc. just pure fun, this meant we would have to take members of the press, media and radio personalities around the gymkhana course. We heard rumours of the event early in the year and started saving the old tyres, the best idea to date. A few off us decided to take leave for the Friday as the event was over two days. Friday morning early arriving at Ysterplaat was more or less the same as any other Gymkhana race, besides the fact that we were treated as VIP members as we were issued with security passes etc. We quickly found a space and started prepping the vehicles, for the Friday we had the Golf, Fox and Datsun and quickly sorted them out, it was such a relaxed atmosphere that I even had time to play around with springs and a few other bits, hell I even decided to test “Datto’s” steering wheel on the Datsun, the steering wheel just fitted out with the buttons “Datto’ will need, more of this later. After we had walked and learned the track, I was off to the rally teams, as this was my opportunity to get back what I have been putting into their sport over the last 3 years doing radio communication for them. Today I was going to sit in the suicide seat of these vehicles, come hi or low.

During drivers briefing the rules was explained, safety first and take as much media around the track as possible. What, are your serious, take as much media around the track as possible, Yes was the answer, ok, let me get this correct, does this mean we have unlimited runs, Yes was the answer again. Well that thought took the rest of drivers briefing to completely sunk in. Honestly I can’t remember what was said after that. We waited a while until the official go ahead was given from the organizers and we started lining up. The route was on a cement slap and only one corner was on tar, having had the opportunity in the past to compete on a cement surface, I knew it could be tricky, thus I opted to go out with one of our regular navigators first to get a feel for it. At this point we basically finished our run and got in line again. This went on and on for the rest of the day, Mike unfortunately had to leave to attend a work function which left the Fox standing around for Selina to abuse for the rest of the day, and me. He just asked us to keep the car in one piece and look after the tyres.

We continued to torture the vehicle around the route, Jan had his first taste of the Datsun, Selina went around in it, while I laughed myself silly while navigating for them, Selina had the poor car jerking around the track, Jan was to slow turning the steering wheel, etc. All this while we enjoyed the aircraft in the air, adding a nice distraction from the norm. The Fox went so many times around the track that the front rubber was busy disappearing, well Mike said we should look after the tyres, so I swapped the fronts with the rears, this would show him that we care, at least now we can get the new rubber in the front showing the same wear as the rears, and off we went. Jan also took the Fox around and Selina kept the car busy, to the end of the day I navigated a round for Selina and I started noticing the rear braking away slightly, the thought popped into my mind that today will be the day I’ll enjoy a FWD car. A few seconds later Selina and I swopped seats and I was behind the wheel of this FWD car, seeing that the first few corners was relative slow speed, I could only feel the back moving slightly, once we entered the fast corners the fun started, as you turned the steering wheel to enter a corner, you immediately had to counter steer to keep the nose in the correct direction, pure fun. This is what happens if you provide a bunch of super competitive people to give something back, the end result, everyone has fun.

I completely forgot about the rally teams. damn I missed my opportunity. Not yet, we heard they will be going out again, all in the bakkie and into the convey taking as thru the planes to the special stage. Here we were told to stand in line as the press gets first honours, man was I annoyed, bloody press, they had there opportunity throughout the day. Well we sat around watching the action as one after the other the press was going around, just as i thought our change is coming, the Army Uncle shut us down as the rally cars was making too much dust. Luckily this was only temporary. That was it, the bloody press had there order viagra online fun, while I was seriously not happy, but being a grown up, well sometimes, I was plotting my revenge. If the dust settles and the army uncle allow the cars to continue I’ll get my suicide seat.

I thought to myself, I’m a pretty outspoken person, I do not care which celebrity press person is in line, he will have to add his eggs in a basket to weight them against my 150+ hours of doing radio communication for these people. Then the call came, you can open the stage, and all the cars was occupied, Ashley Haigh-Smith retuning from the stage, he properly saw that I was about to open my own press conference, stopped at the start and showed me to come. I had to pinch myself, here I was going to go a on a special stage with one of the countries hot young talent. All strapped up and ready to start, sitting there waiting for the count down, I had a sense of fear, but this is what these rally drivers do best, drive on gravel. Off we went in the React A6 Toyota Corolla, thru the gears approaching a decently sharp 90, I thought to myself, Ashley it is time to brake, a few meters further, ok it’s too late, maybe it’s time to call a tow truck, if we were on tarmac we would have been fine in my opinion, but this being gravel no way are we going to make it, he got on the brakes hard, a few shifts down, on the brakes again, getting the car ready for his desired line, while on the brakes he applied throttle and he got us thru, these gravel tires is something else. The rest of the stage I had to remind myself to look up as I was concentrating on his foot work. What an experience.

The day ended with the Datsun destroying 2 semi’s and another two half way dead. The Fox on the other hand had chewed its way thru 4 slicks, at least the damage was the same on all 4 as I made pretty sure about that, I was told to look after them. On our way back, I met Mike half way home, he quickly went home after his function to collect 4 fresh slicks for the next day after I told him the news. At this stage we didn’t really bother about the amount off tyres we were using, the amount off fun and the feeling you get when you give something back outweighs the money for rubber, we would safe rubber next year.

Saturday morning arrived, again we were at the venue quite early, way too early for competitors who’s cars are all in order and know the route. We decided to walk thru all the stands and hangers while Ruan had to learn the track. Once we got back the pits was packed, a big part of the Gymkhana troops was visible between rally car, drifters, hotrods etc. We knew that the amount off runs was going to be limited, not like yesterday’s 25+. In the back off my mind I was quite happy as now there was other people to entertain and I could focus on the Rally special stage. Again I went to the teams, and this time round I told them to notify me when they will be going as I need to experience these road going gravel machines again. We had a few runs on the Gymkhana track, I even navigated for one of the cars from the Franschoek Motor Museum, I think it was some sort of a MG, and as you would have expected from a British car, it died.

The call come, I rallied the troops from Race-Tech and we left in convoy for the Rally Stage. Manie Amlay agreed to me on the special stage, he just had to take 1 or 2 of the media chaps around, while we were waiting I arranged with him that when it is my change, that he will first take Selina around, this left her with no time to think about the terror on the way, she just had to strap herself in the seat. Once all strapped in, off they went, on their return we were greeted with smiles, what a relief she made it and loved it. Next in line it was my turn, but I told Mike he must be standing ready once we return. We sat off on the slightly changed route, now a little longer, once we reached the first 90 Left, it was very apparent that we were in a N3 machine, this Toyota RunX needed more time to brake, but again, the tyres had a shocking amount of grip on the gravel. On arrival Mike was ready for his run, on return I could tell he was impressed. I also managed to secure a run for Corne with Manie, on her return she was blushing from ear to ear.

We returned to the gymkhana action, and to our amazement, the queue was shorter and we managed a few final runs on the route. Manie even asked me to navigate for him in the rally car, we completed 2 runs and it was very apparent that these machines is built for gravel and not tight corners on tarmac.

We ended the day on a high. I would just like to thank everyone involved in making this

event a reality, it is indeed very nice to give something back to the community and then a special thanks to Ashley and Manie for providing us with the opportunity to experience a rally car on a special stage.

Picture Gallery: 2011 Wings and Wheels

Witzenberg Motor Club 2011 Awards Evening

The Witzenberg Motor Club annual awards took place at De Kelder Restaurant and Winery Vredekloof on Friday evening 2nd December 2011.

Ashley Haigh-Smith (in 2012 he’ll be competing in the WRC Academy with a M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R2) and Jon Williams (Pirelli Star Driver Championship winner and currently competing in the South African Rally Championship in a M-Sport-built S2000 Ford Fiesta under the Sasol Racing colours) was the guest speakers at the function.

It was an astounding year for us as a team, we have grown from 2 friends looking for something to do with a Zetec powered MKII Ford Escort Sport and a rust bucket off a Datsun 1400 bakkie to a group of friends. We currently have 6 vehicles, 7 drivers and 8 navigators. Next year we will add another 3 vehicles and at least 2 new drivers and navigators. With this amount of passionate people, we will have between 15-20 entries per event, not to bad I think. Three years passed and we as a team are just growing from strength to strength, maybe in the next two years, we should ask the organisers to rebrand the championship to the Race-Tech Gymkhana Series. Won’t that be a problem, I think the team will then feel obligated to enter at least another entry per event. The poor vehicles.

It was a great year, I would just like to thank a few people:

Witzenberg Motor Club – without you and the people behind the scenes all our smiles and joy wouldn’t have been possible.

Selina Botes – without your constant support and forgiveness, this season would have been a distant memory, this was a particular tough year on us and our relationship, considering

the building of “Datto”.

Pieter Mathee (father) – without your help “Datto” would still be a dream.

Judy Mathee (mother) – two years of feeding me since “Datto” entered our lives, thanks.

Mike Mathee – thanks for offering “Lil Datto” to me to compete, all the effort and money you spend in getting the car ready for the season is appreciated.

Ruan Reynders – it was about time you return back to South Africa, at least we can now look back at all the misery we are causing for the rest of the car owners in the team because we entered that first gymkhana.

Race-Tech members – a special thanks must go out to you as a team, it is great that a bunch of friends can enjoy a single form of sport together as we do, we are probably the most disfunctional group of friends on the face of the world. Just imagine we are all together having a nice conversation about the season and a stranger want to join in, poor soul if he is not into motorsport. Some off the highlights for me during the season must be all the smiles, laughs and concentrating faces to keep that FWD vehicles in check. Mike sorry for trying to kill you at Flamingo’s, the moment the rear stepped out to the time I was on the brakes is a blur, luckily we made it and had the biggest smiles on our faces to date. We as a team can just go forward from this date. Let’s make next year even more memorable as this one, especially with new friends like Corne and Nico joining us as drivers and navigators. Maybe we should make “We are not being paid to drive, we are doing the paying, thus we should enjoy it” our slogan. Keep the smiles rolling.

Teams performance during the WBMK Gymkhana Championship 2011 season

Overall Drivers
Position Name Vehicle Class
11th Herman Mathee Datsun 1200 F
12th Mike Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
13th Jan van der Vyver VW Golf 1.4i D
15th Pietie Erasmus VW Fox 1.4i D
29st Ruan Reynders Datsun 1200 F
33rd Bjorn Venter VW Golf 1.4i D
53rd Mike Mathee Datsun 1200 F
64th Herman Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
66th Rudolf Marai Mazda 616 F
69th Selina Botes VW Fox 1.4i D
74th Ruan Reynders Ford Focus ST G
Overall Navigators
Position Name Vehicle Class
9th Mike Mathee Datsun 1200 F
11th Mike Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
15th Pietie Erasmus VW Fox 1.4i D
16th Herman Mathee VW Golf 1.4i D
28th Herman Mathee Datsun 1200 F
36th Herman Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
41st Mike Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
55th Herman Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
62nd Bjorn Venter VW Golf 1.4i D
69th Selina Botes VW Fox 1.4i D
70th Mike Mathee Mazda 616 F
77nd Herman Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
84th Herman Mathee Ford Focus ST G
Class Drivers
Position Name Vehicle Class
1st Mike Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
2nd Jan van der Vyver VW Golf 1.4i D
3rd Pietie Erasmus VW Fox 1.4i D
6th Bjorn Venter VW Golf 1.4i D
9th Selina Botes VW Fox 1.4i D
10th Herman Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
3rd Herman Mathee Datsun 1200 F
4th Ruan Reynders Datsun 1200 F
7th Pietie Erasmus Mazda F1000 F
12th Mike Mathee Datsun 1200 F
13th Rudolf Marais Mazda 616 F
6th Ruan Reynders Ford Focus ST G
Class Navigators
Position Name Vehicle Class
1st Herman Mathee VW Golf 1.4i D
2nd Pietie Erasmus VW Fox 1.4i D
3rd Mike Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
6th Herman Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
7th Jan van der Vyver VW Golf 1.4i D
9th Melissa van der Vyver VW Golf 1.4i D
10th Herman Mathee VW Fox 1.4i D
12th Bjorn Venter VW Golf 1.4i D
13th Selina Botes VW Fox 1.4i D
3rd Mike Mathee Datsun 1200 F
4th Herman Mathee Datsun 1200 F
7th Mike Mathee Mazda F100 F
11th Herman Mathee Datsun 1200 F
15th Mike Mathee Mazda 616 F
17th Jan van der Vyver Mazda MX5 F
6th Herman Mathee Ford Focus ST G

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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Class D dominance @ 5th Fairbridge Mall Brackenfell Gymkhana

5th Fairbridge Mall RouteWeather 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

23F Herman Mathee - Mike Mathee_0.jpgThis 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

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Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 3rd in Class D and 15th Overall

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Selina Botes and Herman Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 7th in Class D

649E4188_1.JPGThe 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

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Rudolf Marais and Mike Mathee in Class F Mazda 616 – 8th in Class F

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Complete Podium @ 1st Weskus Mall Gymkhana

1st Weskus Mall Route.jpgDuring the weeks that passed since the last event all focus was on the preparation of the vehicles with many long nights clocking the hours in, in the garage. Mike decided that this would be the ideal time to fit the 2nd hand 1.4i VW Golf motor to the Fox, this was one of his best ideas to date, but also one of the worst, as this machine had a mind of its own.
To sum it up, after the fires was put out and everything working off it went to DynoTech for some seriously needed mapping on the Gotech side. The map that Jan and Mike developed on the road was quite good and very driveable, until the first power run on the dyno, it was very apparent that the motor had a lot more to offer, they start the process and Izak van Zyl quickly whipped it into shape. Before Izak got his hands on the car it had a sound of a sluggish rotor motor, which I particularly enjoyed, but Izak thought it good to get the motor to its full potential rather than letting it sounds as sweet as it did.

IMG_6699_0.jpgOn Thursday evening Mike and Bjorn took the car to our test area to put it thru its passes in order to give the go ahead for competition, and all of a sudden I was called upon to bring the recovery vehicle as there were a strange rattling sound coming from the motor, first thoughts turned to main or big end bearings, but the sound was not familiar. Once back home we hook all the gauges up and started it again, after some time the sounds was diagnosed to be coming from between the gearbox and motor. Jan being Jan and only needed about 4 hours sleep a night, he persuaded Mike to get the spanners and start stripping to get the box from the motor.
Many hours later, too much coffee further and the gearbox was back in its place, and the culprit in the bin and replaced with a new one. The culprit turning out to be a 8mm bolt about 9mm long holding the dust cover behind the pressure plate and motor that came loose. The poor replacement being fastened with enough super strong Loctite to never come loose again. Friday evening the last of the loose parts, fittings and hoses was replaced and the car started up with no strange sounds, all this drama for one bolt.

46H Jan van der Vyver - VW Golf Citi 1400_0.jpgIt was quite busy on the “Lil Datto” front, after some very hard thinking and analysing sessions, I decided to stretch the track on the front suspension to start matching the rear E30 parts, seeing as this could be the mayor factor in contributing to the bad front end grip. After a visit to “Datto” I decided in raiding the bigger brother of some custom made front suspension bits like, adjustable lower control arms and track rods. Armoured with the correct parts, poor “Lil” was stripped and the conversion started to get the new parts in. Unfortunately I could only stretch the track by 35mm per side as the steering arms between the inner and outer tie rods was too short to allow more. Deciding that this will be the best for the time allowed I went ahead with the transformation using my race cars parts. After making new stills and mounting points for the anti-roll bars “Lil” was put back on its wheels, poor thing had a tear of happiness in its eyes as it starter to look less like a Frankenstein car and more like a car which rear wheels will follow in the same track as the fronts. Not yet 100% in line with the rears, but as close as time would allow, fenders was cut to allow the wheels to turn as a result of the strut being moved out and to the front.

Saturday morning 04:00am, way too early for comfort, still feeling very unrested from the previous late nights, we packed the cool bags, washed our faces more than once to wake up. We preheated the tractors and got the 6 vehicle convoy going, all 3 of the tow vehicles being diesels. We arrived at Vredenburg just after 07:00 and started with the pre event preparations, I had some space available in the bakkie and decided the morning to load a mountain bike for some transport around the venue, this turned out to be one of my better ideas as I will never again attend an event without it. The track route that we were presented with at documentation, really messed with my head, after a few rounds on foot I decided it is time to tackle the route with the bicycle, man oh man, what a difference did it make.

At about 10 o’clock the event started off and more or less at the same time we realised that this was going to be one of that very special warm days down at the Weskus Mall Vredenburg just outside Saldanha.

Mike Mathee and Pietie Erasmus in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 1st in Class D and 10th Overall

IMG_6647_0.jpgMike was the first Race-Tech member to navigate his VW Fox thru the route, he posted a very surprising good run, something we did not anticipate. He also entered the Fox in a non-scoring run to gain experience with the new engine combination, Selina was asked to navigate for Mike to gain some experience and get a feeling of grip. After the first run, Selina must have been in shocked as she was unable to stand on her own and had to press down on the car to keep her balance. Personally I think she was shell shocked at the speed Mike went thru the course, it is quite something to sit in the navigators seat with an fast driver, especially if his times is 15-30 seconds faster than your own, it is at that exact point that you get that feeling that in the next minute you will hit something/die/roll/pee yourself etc. The expression on her face was priceless after the run, just being exposed to the speed and commitment it takes to post fast times in Gymkhana. On Selina’s own runs se made very good progress thru the day, slashing a massive 15 seconds off her 1st run, with her last outing on the route. With a little more shell shocking and practise the team will get her very competitive one day, being motorsport and not a second nature, time will only reveal the true mystery.

Throughout the day Class D was rattled and shaken as Jan, Pietie and Mike battled it out to get to grips with the cars, the day ending in making history for Race-Tech. Pietie drove the Fox to 3rd place, Jan forced his Golf into 2nd spot and Mike literally trying to destroy the Fox into 1st, out of all the previous difficulties with the conversion, This result ended in being the 1st time that Race-tech managed to occupy the complete podium in Class D. This accomplishment was the Highlight for me personally.

Herman Mathee and Mike Mathee in Class F Datsun 1200 – 2nd in Class F and 8th Overall

23F Herman and Mike Mathee - Datsun GX Sedan 1400 (2)_0.jpgAfter struggling with front end grip the 1st round of the Witzenberg Gymkhana championship at Flamingo’s, I was very positive in regards to the track changes made to the Datsun. I decided to

use the same front 13″ semi slicks as at Flamingo’s to truly see if the changes had any considerable effect on the grip, one option was to use wider more sticky rubber, but that idea was scrapped for the bigger picture as I’m using “Lil Datto” as my Ginny pig this year to learn the 1200’s handling characteristics and carry that info over to its bigger brother “Datto”. On my first run, entering the 2nd corner I immediately knew something was feeling familiar, but better, front end grip, a smile crept in and I was able to take corners as hard and fast as with the bakkie, a feeling that I really enjoyed in the past. Immediately I knew all the hard work was paying off. The 1st and 2nd round was rough on the car, my brother and myself, every corner was over braked, overdriven, sloppy lines, but boy was it fun to have a car with front end grip, a Limited Slip Differential, a Datsun motor that is very responsive and a overjoyed driver that was enjoying wagging the tail around. IMG_6543_0.jpgThe times was very good, but not good enough, I know this car has a lot more in it, it must just be found and that was exactly what I set as my next goal. This meant forget about the “lekker” and start concentrating on precise lines. Just before round 3 I told Mike that let’s try driving this round as tight as possible, and that is what he had to keep telling me. Somewhere deep very deep within me I just naturally found the ability to drive very precise lines, which resulted in a few scratch marks on “Lil” and a few leaves attacking Mike, this didn’t concern me once we heard the time, a full 2 seconds faster than our “lekker” runs. At the end of our 4 runs for the day, Mike and Myself managed to get the car to the finish 8th Overall and 2nd in Class F. My best Overall placing to date.

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 11th Overall

33D Jan van der Vyver and Herman Mathee - VW Golf Citi_0.jpgWhen we got to the Weskus Mall, it was very clear that is a course like no other. The surface was of very good nature, but there was a few bumps that was not the norm. We quickly got the cars prepared and then started to study the course. The study process was helped on my using a bicycle. It took me the better part of the first 3 runs to settle down, this could be contributed to the heat and confusing course. Luckily there was a 4 run added to the event, in which I had very good runs with very good times, but it was not enough to beat Mike, whom was very consistent and up to par on this event. It was great to take the full D class podium on the day as a Race-Tech team.

 

Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 3rd in Class D and 15th Overall

31D Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee - VW Fox 1400 (1)_0.jpg

Selina Botes and Herman Mathee in Class D VW Fox 1.4i – 7th in Class D

I’m very proud of Selina, she is currently competing in the Mens class and managed to beat one of the seasoned competitors.
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Pietie Erasmus and Mike Mathee in Class F Mazda 1000 – 4th in Class F

5F Pietie Erasmus and Herman Mathee - Mazda F1000 LDV_0.jpg


Pietie almost came 3rd, I’m pretty sure he isn’t too happy that we had 4 runs on

this particular day, as he was 3rd in Class until the beginning of the 4th, Anton managed to complete his first error free run for the day, which costs Pietie his 1st, 3rd place. A feeling that I know all too well, having lost my 1st, 3rd place at Mountain Mill Gymkhana in 2009 with an error on braking at the finish.

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

IMG_9048-1_0.jpgAll

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

Final Results for 2010

What a wonderful year it was to compete in the Witzenberg Motorclub Gymkhana series.

I would just like to say a few words:
Thanks to everyone involved with www.RACE-TECH.co.za, this was a very memorable year in the sport, from almost burning to death in Vredendal to nearly drowning in Stellenbosch, I can only look back and say how fortunate we are to be able to compete, all the challenges, struggles, late work, sweat and blood disappear with the thought that we as a group of friends is able to

enjoy this as a sport.

Thanks to Witzenberg Motorclub that made all of this happen, I know there is allot of work happening in the background that none of the competitors are aware off, to all, this is appreciated.

Thanks to the Marshalls, doesn’t matter if it is raining, or hell wants swallow you, these are the people that is always there to keep an eye on us.

Thanks to the Sponsors / Owners of venues – without your involvement all of this would have been a thought to us the competitors.

Last but not least: To the women in our lives, where do I start, words can’t really put it in perspective what you mean to us, I just want to say one

thing, thanks for allowing us to live our lives with you beside us.

Class Drivers			 Position	Name	Vehicle	Class 2nd	Herman Mathee	Datsun 1400	FClass Drivers			 Position	Name	Vehicle	Class 2nd	Jan van der Vyver	VW Golf 1.4i	D Class Navigators			 Position	Name	Vehicle	ClasClass Drivers			 Position	Name	Vehicle	Class 3rd	Bjorn Venter	VW Golf 1.4i	D  Class Navigators			 Position	Name	VehicleClass Navigators			 Position	Name	Vehicle	Class 1st	Jan van der Vyver	Datsun 1400	FClass Navigators			 Position	Name	Vehicle	Class 2nd	Herman Mathee	Nissan Skyline	GOverall Drivers Position	Name	Vehicle	Class 10th	Jan van der Vyver	VW Golf 1.4i	DOverall Navigators			 Position	Name	Vehicle	Class 8th	Jan van der Vyver	Datsun 1400	F

WBMK Gymkhana Championship

Overall Drivers
Position Name Vehicle Class
8th Herman Mathee Datsun 1400 F
10th Jan van der Vyver VW Golf 1.4i D
23rd Björn Venter VW Golf 1.4i D
28th Mike Mathee VW Fox 1300 D
31st Pietie Erasmus VW Fox 1300 D
Overall Navigators
Position Name Vehicle Class
8th Jan van der Vyver Datsun 1400 F
9th Herman Mathee VW Golf 1.4i D
21st Jan van der Vyver VW Golf 1.4i D
25th Mike Mathee VW Fox 1300 D
27th Pietie Erasmus VW Fox 1300 D
Class Drivers
Position Name Vehicle Class
2nd Jan van der Vyver VW Golf 1.4i D
3rd Björn Venter VW Golf 1.4i D
6th Mike Mathee VW Fox 1300 D
7th Pietie Erasmus VW Fox 1300 D
2nd Herman Mathee Datsun 1400 F
7th Pietie Erasmus Mazda F1000 F
Class Navigators
Position Name Vehicle Class
2nd Herman Mathee VW Golf 1.4i D
3rd Jan van der Vyver VW Golf 1.4i D
6th Pietie Erasmus VW Fox 1300 D
7th Mike Mathee VW Fox 1300 D
4th Herman Mathee BMW 535i E
1st Jan van der Vyver Datsun 1400 F
4th Herman Mathee Nissan 1400 F
8th Mike Mathee Mazda F1000 F
2nd Herman Mathee Nissan Skyline G

 

More Pictures – Final Results for 2010