Du Plessis Brothers on the Double at Wolseley

WBMK Gymkhana 98

The 3rd Sir Garnet Wolseley Gymkhana, round four of the 2014 Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Championship produced an historic result when two brothers claimed first and second place overall for the first time in the fifteen year, 98 event, history of the championship.

Pierre du Plessis and Walter van Dyk delivered their very best during their fourth and final run on a day that threw almost every possible road condition at the 37 team entry. Wet, but somehow still pleasant weather conditions saw the road surface varying throughout the day and drivers found it extremely challenging to determine when to push and when to hold. Even the short-cut to Wolseley via the Slanghoek low water bridge was impassable with flood water submerging it completely.

Going into their fourth and final run Jacques du Plessis and Lourens van Litsenborgh looked like certain victors in the same Du Plessis Auto class C Toyota Conquest RSi 1.6 but with nothing to lose Pierre and Walter really delivered a stunning performance to snatch their debut victory. Hailing from ceres it could not have been any sweeter for the Du Plessis brothers as their parents were present to witness this historic result. In fact, it was quite a treat watching Mom du Plessis every time her sons were on course!

Third place was also a historic occasion as two teams had achieved the exact same overall combined time, down to 100th of a second! Rafique and Aatera Firfirey eventually claiming their debut class G victory and first podium position with the silver AHI Racing class G Mini Cooper S Turbo 1.6. Utilising the same car Leon Engelbrecht and Natheer Firfirey matched their time and were somewhat unfortunate in having to accept fourth overall.

Fifth overall on the day was certainly disappointing for Brent Laurings and Duncan Andrews in their class A Opel Kadett GTE 2.0 after having delivered the most stunning drive of the day, posting a time some four seconds better than anyone else and then failing to stop correctly! Their day started with a blooper on their first run and though the result does not reflect it, their potential have been proven and overall victory is beckoning on the perfect day. The Bothasig team now find themselves second on the points table.

Fanie du Toit and Kobus Wilson Jnr started the day tied on points with Izak van Zyl Jnr and Dewald van der Merwe and were determined to challenge for overall victory in their FM Civils class A Mazda Rustler LDV 2.0 16v. The tricky weather unfortunately did not favour their starting position and they had to accept a fighting sixth overall, at least claiming the points advantage.
Kobus Wilson Jnr and Jean-Pierre Robberts claimed the class F victory and seventh overall in the giant killing little Datsun GX DeLuxe 1.4i sedan whilst they also made it home eighth overall by swopping roles in the BreedeVallei Truck Centre class A Opel Kadett GSi 2.0. This Worcester combination as always giving the crowd their best.

Natheer and Rafique Firfirey showed great promise early in the day but the varying conditions eventually limited their progress to ninth overall in the neat AHI Racing class G Mini Cooper S Supercharged 1.6 whilst multiple champion driver, Izak van Zyl Jnr and Dewald van der Merwe, could only manage tenth overall in the normally dominant Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 Turbo. Putting the power on the road proved more than just challenging and one would be challenged to state when the last time was that this combination dropped to third place on points in the overall standings.

Walter van Dyk and Pierre du Plessis struggled with much the same issues in their class G VW Golf MkI Chico 2.0 Turbo and considered eleventh something of a bonus result. Driving clean and consistent Rafique and Natheer Firfirey claimed top honours in class B and twelfth overall in the more mundane AHI Racing VW Golf MkII GTi 1.8.

Car number 13 claimed thirteenth overall and first in class E for the fourth event on the trot and this leaves Johann Zulch and Tania Vermaak as the only unbeaten team in a class this season with the Ceres Toyota backed E30 BMW 325iM. Given the conditions on the day their overall position was quite impressive. Newcomer, Shamiel Brown, and Natheer Firfirey achieved a respectable 14th overall in the AHI Racing class G Mini Cooper S Supercharged 1.6 whilst Morné Roux and Liezel Oosthuizen had to settle for 15th spot when their standard class C Mazda 323 160i started losing it’s fanbelt and power steering belt.

Masood Dangor, another newcomer, also had Natheer Firfirey as navigator and they achieved 16th spot in the AHI Racing class G Mini Cooper S Supercharged after a very cautious start to their day. Dewald van der Merwe and Izak van Zyl Snr also took matters rather cautiously in the powerful Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 Turbo and were happy to accept 17th overall. Anton and Adri Smit experienced an almost exact copy of the Brent Laurings slip in their Innovative Woodwork class F Datsun-Toyota LDV 1.6 and never quite recovered on the day. Car 18 eventually finishing in 18th place overall.

Jolanda and Izak van Zyl continued their training session in the Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 Turbo and 19th was the result on the day whilst Liezel Oosthuizen and Tania Vermaak also found the little Mazda 323 160i impossible to drive without the power steering belt and settled for 20th overall as the top all ladies combination for the day.

Izak van Zyl Snr and Dewald van der Merwe enjoyed the awesome Lexus V8 powered class G Toyota Corollus V8 4.0 and though they managed to stall it a few times they certainly showed much promise enroute to 21st overall. Pieter Hugo and Louis Groenewald took a few runs to get the class E E30 BMW 335i to play properly and 22nd was fair reflection of their day. Louis Groenewald and Hermie de Kock the final classified team in 23rd overall with the class F Ford Escort MkII 2.0.

Unfortunately Hermie de Kock and Louis Groenewald were not classified after having thumped a pavement with the same class F Ford Escort MkII 2.0 and newcomer, Theo Noble, and Kobus Wilson Jnr were also not classified after having broken a CV on the class G Toyota Tazz Turbo.

In the single seater category it was Brent Laurings topping the time sheets with Kobus Wilson Jnr second and Dewald van der Merwe third. What was impressive though was the fact that for the first time ever a driver managed to post two exact times down to 100th of a second during the day. Dewald van der Merwe managing this feat in the Dynotech VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 Turbo.

With no less than nine non scoring entries it was encouraging to see many new faces testing the gymkhana senses. Pierre du Plessis took overall victory with Walter van Dyk on a total time of 3min32.82 but had he scored with young son, Wynand, as navigator they would have taken overall victory with a dominant total time of 3min26.07!

Walter van Dyk and Pierre du Plessis finished 11th overall on a total time of 3min 52.53 but had he scored with Zaandré du Plessis (daughter of Pierre) they would have finished tenth on 3min48.20! Chances are that Jacques du Plessis will soon have his new Toyota ready for action, and there are a few new combinations preparing for debut too.

developing their own cult following the antices of Izak van Zyl Jnr in the Lexus V8 powered 1987 class G Toyota Corollus V8 4.0 left the crowd in awe. Entering twice with Dewald van der Merwe and Leon Engelbrecht as navigators still could not satisfy the demand from the very vocal crowd in attendance as they simply could not get enough of this awesome combination. Quite simply, this ie fast becoming the most popular gymkhana car of all time in the Western Province.

Present at Wolseley was well known WP rallyist Charl Strydom (Sabre Paints A7 VW Polo 2.0 20v), former gymkhana ace and now oval champion Danie Smuts, former WP rallyist Nico Deetlefs (Ford Escort 1600 Sport) and a few gymkhana drivers with projects nearing completion. Richard Hough is building a 1300 motorcycle engine into a lightweight car whilst Ryno Hough will be returning in Ceres with the popular Pipe-Car packing 600bhp in Mustang ponies. Steve Bekker enjoyed his first gymkhana so much that he plans on making his debut at the 8th Lions Vredendal Gymkhana on 16 August 2014.

Behind the scenes there was also increased activity with Mama Bear running Race HQ with a full compliment of staff. Neville Gleeson (Timer) and André Mitchell (Scorer) assisted by Michelle Ramshaw whilst documentation ran like clockwork with Meghan Nortjé supporting Anette Vermaak. Altus Auret, Michael Ramshaw and Sian Fernandes doing a great as Judges of Fact whilst Robin Wakeford was a stalwart on track with good support from Johann Zulch. Carmen Nortjé and Nicola Consani practising their sprinting recovering arrant bollards after each run. Nicola also keeping the Twitter updates active throughout the day.

André Brinkman as always the Pit Bull (and still the sandwich master) with Dewald and Meghan Nortjé in control of the Start and Finish. Marius Bester kept the very enthusiastic crowd well informed as commentator whilst Leatitia Bester did duty behind her camera. As always Danie Burger made sure everything gets recorded onto HD DVD and behind the scenes Pierre van der Westhuizen was a satisfied Clerk of the Course.

To Francois Pienaar and the Sir Garnet Hotel a great thank you for another enjoyable event and to BreedeVallei Truck Centre (Jean-Pierre Robberts) your support was as always valued. To the 37 teams present, you certainly serve as proof that you are the reason why the series have stood the test of time as irrespective of the weather we can count on you being there every time! To the newcomers a gymkhana welcome.

The next event will be the 8th Lions Vredendal Gymkhana on Saturday 16 August 2014.

See you there!