Tag Archives: Weskus Mall

Confusion @ 2nd Weskus Mall Gymkhana

 

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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

10D Mike and Herman Mathee - VW Fox (1)_0.jpgAt 10:30 the action started with the first car on the line. Having to

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

33D Jan van der Vyver and Herman Mathee - VW Golf (1)_0.jpg33D Jan van der Vyver and Herman Mathee - VW Golf_0.jpg46D Jan and Melissa van der Vyver - VW Citi Golf_0.jpgText to follow

Herman Mathee and Mike Mathee in Class F Datsun 1200 – 2nd in Class F and 12th Overall

23F Herman and Mike Mathee - Datsun GX Sedan (2)_0.jpg23F Herman and Mike Mathee - Datsun GX Sedan (3)_0.jpg23F Herman and Mike Mathee - Datsun GX Sedan (4)_0.jpgIMG_6955_0.JPG

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

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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

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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.