Ceres delivers Boland Bonanza

Driving to Ceres via Slanghoek set the scene for a fantastic day in the Boland and the 5th Witzenberg Motorklub Ceres Gymkhana on Saturday 19 October 2013 exceeded all expectations. Nestled at the foot of the Witzenberg Mountains one could not have asked for a more impressive setting and Leon Engelbrecht opened proceedings with a fitting message.

Jacques du Plessis and Danye Louw saved their best effort for the final run when they pulled out all the stops to post the outright fastest time of the day, claiming overall victory on their home event in the Du Plessis Auto class C Toyota Conquest RSi 1.6. The manner in which they attacked the Arium and Atlas road course left no doubt that this combination have finally discovered their own potential.

Making in a double surprise and leading overall going into the final run was second placed Kobus Wilson and Jean-Pierre Robberts in their 1976 vintage class F 1.4 Datsun GX DeLuxe Sedan. Really taking the fight to the big guns their performance was nothing short of brilliant as they were shadowed by the Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 Turbo of Izak van Zyl Jnr and Dewald van der Merwe.

Pierre du Plessis and Walter van Dyk taking a close fourth in the Du Plessis Auto class C Toyota Conquest RSi 1.6. With Jacques in the process of building a new car Pierre is actually the owner of the Conquest and it was great to see the brothers go head to head in front of their home crowd – and there was very good support present throughout the day.

Jean-Pierre Robberts and Kobu Wilson also impressed by taking class A and fifth overall in the Breederivier Truck Centre Opel Kadett GSi 2.0. Yes, it shook off the power steering belt as expected and still tends to understeer, but they are really getting this car sorted now. Günther and Louise Appelgryn only sixth overall in the Spiderman class B winning VW Golf MkI 1.8 after having changed to new tyres and discovering they now compete in a new car with respect to handling.

Anton Smit and Gavin Parsons lacked grunt in their Innovative Woodwork class F Datsun LDV 1600 but were satisfied with a fighting seventh overall, only just beating the top all ladies crew of Nashrené Schloss and Louise Appelgryn in the mighty Toyota Corolla Twin Cam Sprinter 180i. Walter van Dyk and Pierre du Plessis in ninth spot with their class G VW Golf MkI 2.0 Turbo and the top ten completed by the class B Toyota Corolla Twin Cam Sprinter 180i of Nashrené Schloss and Duncan Andrews.

Leon Engelbrecht and Rafique Firfirey possibly the most frustrated crew in eleventh with the orange class A Eikestad Plastic Repairs VW Golf MkI 2.0. Showing blistering pace they erred at critical moments and simply could not post two clear runs on the day. Likewise Marius Swart and Leon Engelbrecht found themselves in much the same situation in twelfth spot with the same car and same reasons. Just was not their day!

On road tyres Jean-Pierre Robberts and Kobus Wilson slotted the Breederivier Truck Centre Opel kadett GSi 2.0 into 13th overall with the class D winning Cape Fire & Aircon VW Golf Chico 1.4i of Ettien Swart and Izak van Zyl Jnr making a welcome return to finish 14th overall and first in class. Danye Louw and Jacques du Plessis were in customary flamboyant mood in the H&H Wellington class C Toyota Corolla RXi 1600 and 15th was just reward for a determined effort.

Johann Zulch and Tania Vermaak again giving a good account of themselves in the Ceres Toyota backed E30 class E BMW 325iM to win the class and earn 16th overall. The sweet sounding six cylinder Beemers certainly still attracting much attention.

Izak van Zyl Snr and Dewald van der Merwe as always contesting the Team GrandPa award and on this occasion the Dynotech VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 Turbo combinations were split by the class C Mazda 323 160i of brother and sister, Marius Roux and Liezel Oosthuizen, in 18th spot overall. Jacobus Smit had Jacolien Hough in the hot seat of the KS Panelbeaters class E E30 BMW 325i and they posted very consistent times enroute to 21st overall.

Nic and Liezel Oosthuizen down in 22nd spot with the class A Venusion VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0, possibly a little intimidated by the road course. Liezel Oosthuizen impressed as she completed a rather tiring gym session behind the wheel of the Mazda 323 160i on this occasion. No power steering left her genuinely exhausted after each run and Tania Vermaak had to motivate her driver towards 23rd overall and 2nd all ladies crew home.

Rafique Firfirey and Leon Engelbrecht was something of a pleasant surprise in 24th overall with the no longer so immaculate class A Opel Kadett Superboss GSi 2.0 16v. Unfortunately they lost a push and shove contest with a concrete pavement on their second run and the team really performed minor miracles to have the car completed in time for a qualifying run. Unfortunately it then had to be withdrawn with weird sounds emanating from the rather expensive engine.

Marius Swart and Leon Engelbrecht also entered their very entertaining Eikestad Plastic Repairs class E BMW Z3 on the day and it was Marius who pipped Leon to 25th overall on the day. Not that this position had any significance when looking at the grins on their faces after each run. This was purely for pleasure and the crowd agreed.

The personal challenge between Hermie de Kock and Louis Groenewald in the Witzenberg Bande class F Ford Escort MkII 2.0 went to the local driver on this occasion. Hermie finishing 27th and Louis 29th in what is now the oldest model car on the gymkhana scene at 1974. Pieter Hugo and Kobus Wilson splitting the Ford dual by placing their much improved 335 powered class E E30 BMW 3 Series 28th overall.

Position 30 had a former rally driver featuring in a rather unlikely gymkhana vehicle. Having walked away from rallying 25 years ago it was something of a shock to his own system when Dickie Firfirey left the startline with Rafique Firfirey navigating in the neat looking class C Nissan NP200 LDV. It was never the less a pleasure seeing another familiar name return to the sport .

Finishing 31st might not sound terribly impressive but from the moment Izak van Zyl Jnr and Dewald van der Merwe left the startline in their very innocent looking 1987 based class G Toyota Corolla the crowd never sat down again! Amazingly this pocket dynamite boasted V8 Lexus power and Izak simply could not resist driving sideways, continuously! Watch this space.

The only non finishers unfortunately Dickie and Rafique Firfirey in the class A Opel Kadett Superboss GSi 2.0 16v as the engine worries saw it withdrawn before Dickie could complete two runs.

Kobus Wilson Jnr also claimed top honours as single seater in the Datsun GX Sedan 1.4 with Izak van Zyl Jnr second in the aptly dubbed Toyota Corolux V8 and Rafique Firfirey failing to finish in the Opel Kadett Superboss GSi 2.0 16v.

When one considers the amount of lucky draw awards that was on offer during the Du Plessis Auto prizegiving the support this event enjoyed from the Ceres community became apparent. This may take some effort to read but each and every business made a valuable contributon towards making this event a brilliant success.

They were Autozone Cape Town, Midas Ceres, Sparex, H.J.Nichols, BTA, Med Kaapstad, Trysome Parts, First National Batteries, Mobiele Trekker Dienste, Diesel Electric, Televideo Ceres, Andrag Ceres, CVC Gear Corporation Ceres, Landbou Onderdele Ceres, Jumbo Ceres, Belmont Drive Thru Ceres, Ceres Raam en Glaswerke, Ceres Toyota, Witzenberg Bande, Super Airbrakes Ceres, Tubestone Kaapstad, Yokohama Kaapstad, Mac and Tyre City, Tyre Care, Boland Trading Centre, STB Kaapstad, Cooltech Ceres, Witzenberg Concrete Blocks, Annes Geldenhuys Vervoer and Van der Merwe Houtsaery.

The event started later than scheduled when the medic on standby found the venue smething of a challenge to find but that allowed André Mitchell the opportunity to sort out a few technical gremlins. The scoring team and commentators only too happy to settle in the shaded parking of Annes Geldenhuys Vervoer and despite their being three outlets for food and cooldrink they all ran out!

Fortunately Televideo Ceres provided a big screen opportunity for those who follow that silly game called rugby and they were apparently quite happy to see their team win. The limited number of 2014 WBMK diaries (which Motorheads kindly sent down in time) was gone before prizegiving was finished but fortunately the incredibly tasty ribs prepared by Piet Dunn saw to it that nobody left early.

The previous event at this venue was held in 2003 – the good news is that it will be on the 2014 calender!