Dominant Du Plessis Duo takes 99

WBMK Gymkhana 99

Not even twelve stop and go roadwork delays discouraged gymkhana enthusiasts from turning the Vredendal Toyota supported 8th Lions Vredendal Gymkhana into a resounding success. The annual Matzikama event attracted a stunning 55 team entry and on course it would produce the tightest result to date in the 99 event history of the Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Championship. The weather was great, the atmosphere even better thanks to the lively audience in attendance.

Going into the fourth and final run for the day just 0.68 seconds separated the top five teams on combined times with at least three more teams capable of snatching victory. For the second event on the trot it was the Du Plessis Auto class C Toyota Conquest RSi 1.6 than claimed overall victory, but this time it was Jacques “Kuite” du Plessis who proved to be in scintillating form behind the wheel with elder brother, Pierre “Duiwel” du Plessis navigating like never before. Two runs under the 1min19 mark and with just 0.3seconds difference their consistency sealed the day for Vredendal Toyota as the title sponsor of the day. To add to the Toyota celebrations Leeroy Poulter and Elvené Coetzee took overall victory on the Imperial Toyota Cullinan national championship rally in their Castrol S2000 Toyota Yaris 4x4.

Rafique and Aatera Firfirey surprised with a career best second overall in their All Home Improvements Racing class G Mini Cooper S Turbo 1.6, proving that the recently fitted limited slip differential was indeed a step forward. The couple must now be considered a serious threat to overall honours in all future events and they also added the Fastest Time of the Day to their results. Brent Laurings and Duncan Andrews led going into the final round but had to settle for third on the podium despite having done absolutely nothing wrong in their class A Opel Kadett GTE 2.0. It was almost a pity that somebody had to actually win the event as any one of the top teams would have thoroughly deserved to win, it was that tight at the top.
Looking like another potential winner “Vinnige” Fanie du Toit and Kobus Wilson Jnr suffered a rare case of brainfade on their final run, slipping to fourth overall in the FM Civils class A Mazda Rustler LDV 2.0 16v. Against all odds multiple WBMK Gymkhana champion, Izak van Zyl Jnr, and Dewald van der Merwe were forced to retire the normally reliable Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 Turbo with a broken No4 piston after just one run. Leon Engelbrecht and Rafique Firfirey slotting the same AHI racing class G Mini Cooper S Turbo 1.6 into fourth place with Natheer and Rafique Firfirey fifth overall in the light blue AHI Racing class G Mini Cooper S Supercharged 1.6.

The giant killing class F Datsun DeLuxe GX Sedan 1.4i of Kobus Wilson Jnr and Jean-Pierre Robberts a magnificent seventh overall. Try as only he can Pierre du Plessis and Walter van Dyk could manage no better than eighth overall as second combination in the Du Plessis Auto class C Toyota Conquest RSi 1.6. Though they feel they actually tried much harder the 2013 overall winners of the Vredendal Gymkhana, Günther and Louise Appelgryn, could only manage ninth overall in their immaculately prepared Spiderman class B VW Golf Chico MkI 1.8. Tenth overall going to the Van Rhynsdorp combination of Anton and Adri Smit in their potent Toyota 1.6 powered class F Datsun LDV.

Leon Engelbrecht and Pieter King had power steering fitted to their potent Eikestad Plastic Repairs class A VW Golf MkI 2.0 and though they considered it a vast improvement some time would be required to reap the full benefit and they were pleased with 11th place overall on their return. Jean-Pierre Robberts and Kobus Wilson jnr another combination making huge strides in improved pace with the Breede Valley Truck Centre class A Opel Kadett GSi 2.0 finally handling well. Nashrené and Taahirah Schloss celebrated their debut as team with 12th overall in the class B Toyota Corolla Sprinter Twin Cam 180i. Having missed two rounds Nashrené could not believe the incredibly competitive result.

Walter van Dyk and Pierre du Plessis broke three CV joints on the class G VW Golf Chico MkI Turbo 2.0 and he too related that to inexperience with power steering. Booting the powerful car with the front wheels turned inevitably followed by the snapping of a CV. Nashrené Schloss and Louise Appelgryn netted 15th overall as all aldies entry in the Toyota Corolla Sprinter Twin Cam 180i with Rafique and Natheer Firfirey 16th overall in the AHI Racing class B VW Golf MkII GTi 1.8. Dickie and Rafique Firfirey revived an age old rallying rivalry by taking 17th overall in their AHI racing class G Mini Cooper S Supercharged 1.6 Cabriolet. As a former WP rally driver beating veteran Johann Zulch and Tania Vermaak to the line was pleasing to say the least. The class E winning Ceres Toyota E30 BMW 325iM combinations not too concerned as the result netted a fourth consecutive class championship.

Jan van der Vyver and Liezel Oosthuizen hopped their way to victory in class D and 19th overall in the very rapid VW Golf Chico MkI 1.4i whilst Morné Roux and Liezel Oosthuizen impressed with 20th overall in their completely standard class C Mazda 323 160i. Having broken the Dynotech Golf, Dewald van der Merwe and Izak van Zyl Snr was forced to share the amazing V8 4.0 Lexus powered class G Toyota Corollus. Wearing massive grin throughout the remainder of the day he might have similar ideas for Club  Mykonos. Their 21st spot almost immaterial as this car is simply awesome to drive.

Jacques Jansen van Vuuren and George Petzer represented Vredendal Toyota in a rather unique class D Toyota Etios Cross and they were more than content with 22nd spot. Liezel Oosthuizen and Tania Vermaak produced their best effort to date in the standard Mazda 323 160i to finish 23rd overall and also claimed the accolade as the Most Consistent duo on the day posting two times 0.01 seconds apart. The first time in 99 events that two ladies claimed this honour and to make their day sweeter they also claimed the all ladies class championship for 2014.

Nic and Liezel Oosthuizen managed to break the gear lever on the opening run but gradually found some pace in the neat Venusion class A VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 and the Kuilsrivier couple are now a regular feature on events. André Smit and Jason Mandell 25th overall in their class D VW Golf MkI. Aatera and Rafique Firfirey the latest wife and husband combination to make their debut a steam in the AHI Racing class G Mini Cooper S Turbo 1.6. Sadly, the retirement of the Dynotech Golf kept Jolanda and Izak van Zyl Jnr in the pits for the day.

Masood and Aatera Firfirey 27th in the AHI Racing class G mini Cooper S Supercharged 1.6 Cabriolet with Vicky Steenkamp and Maritsa Jansen van Vuuren 28th in the Vredendal Toyota Etios Cross. Izak van Zyl Snr and Dewald van der Merwe enjoyed every tailslide enroute to 29th overall in the hard working Dynotech class G Toyota Corollus V8 4.0. Hermie de Kock and Louis Groenewald as always shared the Witzenberg Bande class F Ford Ecsort MkII 2.0 but the car succumbed to engine maladies and they had to accept 30th and 31st overall respectively.

Gunter and Luke Drotschie quickly became firm favourites with the appreciative crowd and the Monster Chevy clas G 1974 Opel Commodore GS V8 quickly destroyed every tyre they had present. Mario Arp and Jolanda Louw unfortunate to retire their neat class G Nissan 200SX Turbo with turbo failure

No less than twelve drivers attempted the challenging course as single seater entries and as always it was Brenta Laurings that took top honours in his Opel Kadett GTE 2.0 with Kobus Wilson Jnr second in that incredible Datsun DeLuxe GX Sedan 1.4i and Izak van Zyl Jnr third in that V8 Lexus powered Toyota Corollus. Günther Appelgryn fourth in the Spiderman VW Golf MkI 1.8 and fifth going to Leon Engelbrecht in the Eikestad Plastic Repairs VW Golf MkI 2.0. Jan van der Vyver sixth in his rapid VW Golf Chico 1.4i and Jean-Pierre Robberts seventh in his Breede Valley Truck Centre Opel Kadett GSi 2.0.

Johannes van der Westhuizen eighth overall in his VTR 1000 Honda powered special and Dewald van der Merwe was still grinning when he place the Dynotech Toyota Corollus V8 4.0 ninth.  Johannes van der Westhuizen also claiming 1oth spot in his Mazda 2.0 powered Opel Corsa space frame oval track racer. Günther Wurth also having fun enroute to 11th spot in front of his home crowd in the Dam Weld E36 BMW 328i. Fanie du Toit opting not to run all the single seater runs in the FM Civils Mazda Rustler lDV 2.0 16v.
As always the prizegiving in the Lions Vredendal Clubhouse became the place to be on Saturday evening with an incredible trio of eleven year old girls singing the socks off these competitors. Bravo to Denise and Alicia Louw (twin daughters of David and Jeanette Louw) and Thalita van Zyl (daughter of Stokkies van Zyl). President of the Lions Club Vredendal, Jan Truter, was very complimentary of the contribution made towards the success of this event by the members of the Witzenberg Motorklub.

No event can succeed in the current economic climate without the support of the various authorities and sponsors. The 8th Lions Vredendal Gymkhana enjoyed valued support from Vredendal Toyota, SAP Vredendal, Matzikama Municipality, Check-In Vleismark, Maskam Hotel, Wescoast Planthire, Alfalfa Gastehuise, Firetech (Boltco), Vredendal Hotel, EDK Besigheidsmasjiene, Build It, Décor Designss, Namaqua Wines, Deon Smit and Weskus Elektries.

As always Anette Vermaak took care of matters documentation with assistance from Meghan Nortjé and Michelle Ramshaw whilst Neville Gleeson ensured that the Jayen Timer ran faultless all day providing instant results in the hands of André Mitchell. Altus Auret and André Brinkman the very competent Judges of Fact with Dewald and Meghan Nortjé as Start and Finish Marshals. Pierre van der Westhuizen the Clerk of the Course with Robert Marle as MSA Steward.

The 99th Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana will long be remembered as a highlight of the series and the 100th event promises to be a true milestone in local motorsport as the 25th Club Mykonos Gymkhana Langebaan will have support from UNIREF in addition to the fact that most of the former champions will be returning to this iconic venue.

No less than fourteen entries have been received from Gauteng!