Firfirey brothers Turbo Wolseley

Rafique and Natheer Firfirey claimed top honours on the 4th Sir Garnet Wolseley Gymkhana on Saturday 29 August 2015 when the turbocharged AHI Racing class G Mini Cooper S 1600 set times that had the opposition cringe as this was clearly still not the full potential of the Leon Engelbrecht creation.

No rain was a pleasant change for the event as it has almost become customary to declare Wolseley a wet event. A straightforward, simple, five bollard, route on Solomon Street looked very easy on paper and it was – until competitors started chasing the micro second advantages.

With times this close it was a huge relief to be able to depend on the accuracy of the Neville Gleeson Jayen Timer rather than handheld stopwatches as no less than 12 drivers dipped below the sixty second mark and no less than nine were 59 second times! André Mitchell as always taking care of the scoring in what must be considered one of the most competitive events to date – and this was WBMK Gymkhana number 107.

Izak van Zyl Jnr and Dewald van der Merwe accepted the challenge from the silver Mini but as car number one on the course they certainly had to do some sweeping and then when they really started to give chase the Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 16v Turbo suffered a broken front engine mounting. The good news was that the Brackenfell son-in-law and father-in-law combination certainly proved that they are getting the Golf back into contention for outright victories.
 
Fanie and Zak du Toit, Worcester based father-and-son, kept took their fourth consecutive podium finish by the narrowist of margins in the FM Civils class A Mazda Rustler LDV 2.0 16v. Third place however sees them retaining a four point lead over van Zyl / van der Merwe in the overall championship. Jacques du Plessis and Kobus Wilson Jnr showed flashes of brilliance in the Du Plessis Auto Toyota Conquest 2.0 20v but a late start to their day had them on the back foot and recovering to fourth overall was commendable.

Kobus Wilson Jnr and Werner McDonald were two of the real stars on the day as their WDT Class F Datsun GX DeLuxe Sedan 1.4i was truly impressive against far more advanced and modern opposition. Fifth place was remarkable to say the least and a credit to the smooth driving technique of Kobus Wilson Jnr. Dewald van der Merwe and Izak van Zyl Jnr swopped roles in the Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 16v Turbo and “Skoonpa” proved to be pretty impressive enroute to sixth overall in car no 6. If only that engine mounting could have been replaced ...

Pierre du Plessis and Walter van Dyk won the 2014 event in wet conditions and with 1600 power but though they now sported 1800 8v power in their Du Plessis Auto class B Toyota Conquest they simply could not find the rythm required to repeat their feat. However, one might be wise to keep an eye on the Du Plessis brothers as the next event in the championship will be taking place in Atlas and Orion Streets Ceres on Saturday 26 September 2015 and home territory is always worth a few tenths on each run.

Walter van Dyk and Pierre du Plessis impressed with eighth overall in the class G VW Golf MkI 2.0 16v Turbo. Walter driving with renewed confidence and possibly a touch too much enthusiasm, but better keep an eye on this combination too. Another suffering from too much right foot on the day was Vredendal winning combination, Natheer and Rafique Firfirey, in the supercharged AHI Racing class G Mini Cooper S 1600. Looking very lively indeed they just could not keep it smooth enough to impress the timer. Ninth overall not a true reflection of their potential, but then the times were incredibly close and single mistakes were costly indeed.

Masood Dangor and Aatera Firfirey drew attention with a fine tenth overall position in the cabriolet supercharged AHI Racing class G Mini Cooper S 1600 and the borther-and-sister combination were proving to be quite consistent throughout the event. Johann Zulch and Cobus Viola as always the combination to beat in class E with their Ceres Toyota backed E30 BMW 325iM and only the veteran drivers skills allowed them to finish this high up the order.

Morné Roux and Liezel Oosthuizen another brother-and-sister combination that impressed in their class A Mazda 323 EGi 2.0 16v enroute to twelfth overall. Consistent and clean they are always a pleasure to watch on any route. Aatera Firfirey and Masood Dangor swopped sides in the cabriolet supercharged class G Mini Cooper S 1600 to finish in thirteenth place after another consistent outing.

Fourteenth overall may not sound impressive to most but when you consider that this driver followed the route through the side windows of his Dynotech class G Toyota Corolloa 4.0 V8 the achievement can only described as phenominal. Dewald van der Merwe even donned a Scream mask on the final run but this was poetry in motion throughout each run and a highlight that will long be remembered by all present. A masterful display that could only be rewarded with the title of the Most Spectacular Driver of the Day.

Jan van der Vyver and Liezel Oosthuizen had to be the “lightest” combination on the day in their Race-Tech class D VW Golf MkI Chico 1.4i. In fact it was so light they found it difficult to keep all four wheels on the ground enroute to fifteenth spot overall. Liezel has real S2000 weight benefits and a respected navigator to boot!

Masood Dangor and Rafique Firfirey placed the fourth AHI Racing Mini entry sixteenth overall. The charcoal normally aspirated Mini Cooper 1600 performing faultlessley on debut.

Topping the all ladies category Aatera Firfirey and Liezel Oosthuizen placed the hard working cabriolet suppercharged AHI Racing Mini Cooper S 1600 seventeenth and with roles reversed they also claimed eighteenth overall in the bog standard class D Toyota Yaris 1.3. proving incredibly consistent in times Liezel Oosthuizen and Tania Vermaak then also placed the willing Yaris nineteenth as all ladies category entry with the top twenty completed by Hennie Hoffmeyer and Morné Roux in the much older and even more standard class C Nissan Sentra 1600.

Guiseppe Murray and Jan van der Vyver claimed 21st overall in the Race-Tech class D VW Golf MkI Chico 1.4i and given the smiles afterwards this could well become a regular entry on future events. Nico Deetlefs and Hermie de Kock 22nd in the oval track spec class E Ford Sierra 3.0 V6. Nico returning to competitive driving after a twenty year break and certainly showing that with a little bit of practice he had lost none of his skill as rallyist. Hermie de Kock and Arnold Nel finishing 23rd in the same class E Ford Sierra 3.0 V6.

Completing the finishers were Ryno Hough and Arnold Nel in their very impressive 6.8L 408ci Ford V8 powered 1972 Ford F100. Returning after a four year break this Nascar engined brute was certainly very popular with the spectators and it was great to see the PA Hamlet team back in action.

Kobus Wilson Jnr continued to impress by taking top honours in the single seater category with the WDT Datsun GX  DeLuxe Sedan 1.4i and even managed to sneak below the 60 second mark. (Werner – you will have to shake off some weight!) Dewald van der Merwe limited by the broken engine mounting but still impressive in the Dynotech VW Golf MkII Gti 2.0 16v Turbo whilst Jan van der Vyver were pleased with third place in the Race-Tech VW Golf MkI Chico 1.4i.

What did catch the eye was the very competitive times set by competitors throughout the day and a single second made a difference of nine positions! The top twelve times for the event was impressive – especially the unofficial fastest time of the day by Rafique and Hishaam Firfirey in the silver Mini.

Fastest Times:
1 32G Rafique and Hishaam Firfirey  56.78sec Unofficial
2 11G Rafique and Natheer Firfirey   57.12sec Fastest
3 01G Izak van Zyl Jnr – Dewald van der Merwe  57.38sec
4 03A Fanie and Zak du Toit    59.45sec
5 06G Dewald van der Merwe – Izak van Zyl Jnr 59.59sec
6 07G Natheer and Rafique Firfirey   59.63sec 
7 02A Jacques du Plessis – Kobus Wilson Jnr 59.74sec
8 30A Fanie and Zak du Toit    59.76sec Unofficial
9 29B Pierre and Wynand du Plessis  59.88sec Unofficial
10 09B Pierre du Plessis – Walter van Dyk  59.92sec
11 26G Walter van Dyk – Pierre du Plessis  59.92sec
12 24H Kobus Wilson Jnr    59.97sec Single Seater

Consistency is the other element of gymkhana driving that can prove decisive and though there are a few regular candidates for this Wolseley certainly ruffeld a few feathers in this respect.

1 30A Fanie and Zak du Toit    0.01sec Unofficial
2 23D Liezel Oosthuizen – Aatera Firfirey  0.02sec Best
3 05A Morné Roux – Liezel Oosthuizen  0.03sec
4 17G Masood Dangor – Aatera Firfirey  0.05sec
5 06G Dewald van der Merwe – Izak van Zyl Jnr 0.07sec
6 13E Johann Zulch – Cobus Viola   0.08sec

At the top of the 2015 Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Championship Fanie and Zak du Toit now enjoy a four point lead over Izak van Zyl Jnr and Dewald van der Merwe with Kobus Wilson and Werner McDonald in third spot.

Class A has Fanie and Zak du Toit leading and in class B Pierre du Plessis and Walter van Dyk rules the roost. Class C is dominated by the very consistent combination of Hennie Hoffmeyer and Morné Roux and in class D Liezel Oosthuizen finds herself leading both as driver and navigator. In class E Johann Zulch and Cobus Viola continue to dominate with Kobus Wilson Jnr and Werner McDonald tops in class F. Izak van Zyl and Dewald van der Merwe hold first spot in class G and in the all ladies category Liezel Oosthuizen once again proves that even a little Yaris 1.3 can be very effective by leading both as driver and navigator.

A special word of thanks to Johann Zulch , Frikkie and team for the handling of the spectator fencing and crates. VV4 Transport for the moving of the crates with their truck and forklift and to Francois and his staff at the historic 1930 Sir Garnet Wolseley Hotel.

Round five of the 2015 Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Championship will take competitors to Atlas and Orion Streets in the Ceres Industrial area on Saturday 26 September 2015.