Fanie pips Rafique in Ceres

Round 5 of the 2016 Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Championship will go down in the record books as a genuine highlight in the 116 event history of the sport with superb weather, excellent forty two car entry, brilliant tussles throughout the field and a bonus visit by members of SEFAC.

Fanie du Toit and Rafique Firfirey arrived in Ceres as shared leaders of the drivers championship after four rounds and this set the scene for an almighty scrap between the FM Civils class A Mazda Rustler LDV 2.0 16v and the mighty AHI Racing class G Mini Cooper S Turbo 1.6. And scrap they did, going into the 4th and final heat with everything to play for.

Rafique and Hishaam set the target with a stunning time that looked too good to beat, but then Fanie du Toit and Liezel Oosthuizen produced an absolute gem of a run to go just 0.02 sec faster, claiming overall victory and a single point advantage heading into the 12th Lions Vredendal Gymkhana on Saturday 10 September 2016. Fanie du Toit lost the recent 1st BTC Moorreesburg Gymkhana when he set the fastest time but failed to straddle the finish line, losing by 0.2sec to Rafique and Hishaam Firfirey. Driving flawlessly he recovered to win the 8th Du Plessis Auto Gymkhana Ceres by 0.29 sec on combined times.

Jacques du Plessis and Danye Louw gave it everything they had in the Du Plessis Auto class B Toyota Conquest 1.8 16v but had to settle for third overall. Honour amongst the Stoor members almost as important in Ceres as overall victory and this was sweet revenge for Jacques on home front as Pierre du Plessis and Walter van Dyk were restricted to fourth overall in the same car. Amazing sportmanship by Pierre du Plessis to allow his brother to beat him in his own car.

Leon Engelbrecht and Carel Bosch a fighting fifth overall in the cabriolet AHI Racing Supercharged class G Mini Cooper S 1.6 with Walter van Dyk and Pierre du Plessis sixth in the sneezing Televideo class G VW Golf MkI 2.0 16v Turbo. Fortunately for the Du Plessis brothers the Golf failed to complete it’s fastest run when a broken CV forced their retirement.

Driving with his normal enthusiasm Danye Louw and Jacques du Plessis impressed by placing the somewhat outgunned Boland Trade Centre class D VW Golf MkI 1.4i sixth overall. Dewald van der Merwe and Izak van Zyl Jnr accepted seventh overall as the normally dominant Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 16v Turbo expired with flywheel problems whilst challenging for overall victory.

Morné Roux drove his heart out in the class A Mazda 323 EGi 2.0 16v to keep his sister, Liezel Oosthuizen, in the hunt for the overall navigators championship and ninth overall could prove critical to her chances as she now enjoys a 16 point lead with three rounds remaining.

Johann Zulch and Cobus Viola clearly enjoyed the more open and flowing nature of the Arion and Atlas Streets route as the heavier Ceres Toyota assisted class E BMW 325iM managed to break into tenth overall amongst some really nimble machinery.

Natheer Firfirey and Rafique Firfirey lacked consistency in the third AHI Racing Supercharged class G Mini Cooper S 1.6 and eleventh spot overall certainly does not reflect the true potential of this combination. They enjoyed overall victory at Vredendal in the past – watch them go in the Matzikama district. Showing an impressive turn of speed in the Leon Engelbrecht tweaked cabriolet AHI Racing Supercharged class G Mini Cooper S 1.6 saw Aatera Firfirey  and Carel Bosch finishing in 12th overall.

Masood Dangor then had his sister, Aatera Firfirey, navigate him to thirteenth spot in the same Mini, defeated by just 0.08 sec on combined times but he will not ever have the privilege to forget about it as August is Women’s month and victory by any margin is sweet. At least Masood Dangor saved face by placing his own AHI Racing class C Mini Cooper 1.6 first in class and fourteenth overall. Izak van Zyl Jnr and Dewald van der Merwe restricted to fifteenth overall in the somewhat broken Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 16v Turbo. They too have a fine record at Vredendal though.

The first All Ladies crew home was Aatera Firfirey and Liezel Oosthuizen in the cabriolet Supercharged AHI Racing Mini Cooper S 1.6 and they were followed home in seventeenth place by the hard charging class A Opel Astra 2.0 of Francois Mostert and Marius Ellis. Trying to move the pavement in Arion Street certainly doing little to improve their overall position but Francois was quick te refer to rule number one in rallying – drivers do not make mistakes!

After many years of quietly brooding Johann Zulch provided a huge chunk of nostalgia when he entered a class F Ford Escort 1600 Sport with Cobus Viola navigating. Johann and his Escort is as legendary in WP rallying as Serge Damseaux in a Toyota and the little Sport certainly looked impressive enroute to eighteenth spot overall and first in class. Sportingly Anton Smit and Tania Vermaak withdrew their class leading Trysome Datsun LDV 1.6 after the first heat with terminal engine maladies.

Aatera Firfirey and Masood Dangor nineteenth overall in the AHI Racing class C Mini Cooper 1.6 with the top twenty completed by impressive Somerset West newcomers, Ruan de Hart and Rhyno Jansen in their standard class A Alfa Romeo 147 2.0.

Izak van Zyl Jnr and Dewald van der Merwe could at least still steal the thunder with respect to crowd appeal in the always sideways Dynotech class G Lexus V8 4.0 powered 1984 Toyota Corolla and one can only watch in awe as he controls this car with such finesse it almost seems natural to never look in control. Another masterful display of natural driving skill.

Consistent as ever but totally outgunned on the faster format Liezel Oosthuizen and Aatera Firfirey placed the class D Toyota Yaris 1.3 22nd overall and with Tania Vermaak navigating they finished second in class I and 23rd overall in the same car. Marius Ellis and Francois Ellis somewhat disappointed with 24th overall in their neat class A Opel Kadett GSi 2.0 but 25th overall was as good as overall victory to Bertie and Tony van Heerden in the Twin Turbo V8 Lexus 4.0 powered class G Ceres TT. The reason being that for the first time Bertie had beaten Tony into 26th overall.

Tania Vermaak and Liezel Oosthuizen another combination to suffer a sincere lack of power in their standard VW Golf Citi Sport 1.4i but the ladies certainly gave another good account of themselves in serious company to record a very respectable 27th overall and 3rd in class.

Abdul and Khaleel Sayed another newcomer combination in gymkhana events with their neat class D Toyota Conquest 1300. As former Clubmans racers the Sayed brothers found the gymkhana format challenging, but very enjoyable and they will now become regular entrants. Hilton Adrica and Brandon Freeman suffered gear linkage issues on their neat Willie’s Service Centre class C VW Fox 1600 but recovered well to claim 29th spot after a trying day.

Ryno Hough and Arnold Nel were probably the only crew who reuired even more space in their monster 450kW 6.8 V8 Ford F100and they certainly entertained the crowd with their sideways antics.

Unfortunately the Trysome class F Toyota 1.6 powered Datsun LDV of Anton Smit and Tania Vermaak represented the only retirement on the day with terminal engine maladies after the first heat.

The single seater category fell to Danye Louw in the Boland Trade Centre VW Golf MkI 1.4i with Brandon Freeman second in the Willie’s Service Centre VW Fox 1.6 and the Dynotech VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 16v Turbo of Izak van Zyl Jnr third. Unfortunately Dewald van der Merwe did not qualify as finisher in the same car.

An somewhat unexpected bonus for the day was the very red visit of members of the Southern Equitorial Ferrari Automobili Club. An absolutely stunning display of some of the most desirable cars in the world simply adding the finishing touches to an already brilliant day. A California V8, FF V12, 612 Scaglietti, 488 Spider Turbo V8, Magnum 308, Mondial 4 Seater, 355 GTS berlinetta and 458 Spider just some of the jaw dropping beauties present.

Prizegiving in Ceres is always a very special occasion as Oom Piet and Tannie Patrys are legendary with their Spitbraai and the Stoor did a stupendous job in acquiring masses of awards which saw everyone leaving with some kind of acknowledgement. Liezel Oosthuizen overloading her little Yaris having navigated for almost the entire field.

Thank you to GHV Verpakking, NJ geldenhuys Vervoer, Kaap Agri, Bokveld Motors, BP Atlantic, Pietie Viola, Auto Magneto, First National Battery, Diesel Electric Worcester, T&T Glass, Trysome, CVC Gear Corporation, Thorpe Ceres, Ceres Landbou Midas, Boland Trade Centre, Boland Truck Centre, Tyre Choice, STB, Cross Cape Forklift, Witzenberg Herald, Ceres Railway Company, Parts Incorporated (Motolek), Northmec and Televideo for your contribution towards making the 8th Du Plessis Auto Gymkhana Ceres a resounding success.

Pierre van der Westhuizen the Clerk of the Course and Robert Marle the MSA Steward with André and Nelmarie Mitchell controlling the Jayen Timer and Scoring for the day. Regular Start and Finish Marshals, Dewald and Meghan Nortjé, was supporting Carmen at Inter Schools till midday and Event Secretary, Anette Vermaak, found herself on the Finish with Hennie Hoffmeyer taking charge of the Start.

Pit Bull, André Brinkman, was very active on route as Judge of Fact with Tania Vermaak and Johann Zulch trading driving duties for official duties in support of another smooth running event.

With Rafique and Fanie trading blows as the current heavyweights in the sport it is important to note that they will be facing each other for another three bouts starting with the always exciting 12th Lions Gymkhana Vredendal on 10 September 2016. Better book your ringside seats for this Matzikama classic!