Kobus makes it two at Weskus Mall!

The 11th Weskus Mall Gymkhana Vredenburg on Saturday 18 July 2015 really delivered in terms of spectacle and results, this despite the fact that the event attracted the smallest entry in the sixteen year history of the championship. Logistics led to the inevitable postponement of the events at Weskus Mall and resultantly competitors and supporters lost confidence in the organisers ability to continue. Boy, were they wrong!  

Vredenburg is recognised as THE most challenging venue on the annual calendar and are affectionately known as the “Biesiepol Vastrap”. Some drivers openly voicing their dislike of the event as they simply cannot master the routes which, on the day, look exactly the same from any angle! Those who accept the challenge find the results incredibly rewarding when everything finally clicks into place and Saturday had the small contingent of true gymkhana supporters lay the solid foundations for a return to form for the Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Championship.

Even the weather supported the dedication shown by the organisers and what a stunning result with everyone giving their best in front of an appreciative crowd. Only once have a class F entry succeeded in taking overall victory on a WBMK Gymkhana and that was at Weskus Mall Vredenburg. Having since almost rebuilt the little Datsun GX it was the brothers-in-law, Kobus Wilson Jnr and Werner McDonald, who surprised a confident  field by taking a second overall victory in the Worcester Diesel & Truck supported class F 1976 Datsun GX DeLuxe Sedan 1.4i. An absolutely flawless performance saw them post the fastest time of the day and Kobus Wilson Jnr also went on to take victory in the single seater category as bonus result for the day.

“Vinnige” Fanie du Toit and his 12 year old son, Izak Jnr, really had to dig deep in order to recover second place overall in the FM Civils class A Mazda Rustler LDV 2.0 16v. Known for their uncanny ability to deliver on their final runs the popular father and son combination did not disappoint and they retain their overall lead in the championship points log as driver and navigator respectively.
The Du Plessis Auto class A Toyota Conquest 2.0 20v of Jacques du Plessis required attention upon arrival in Vredenburg as this very special vehicle refused to start. Though the fault was eventually traced to faulty plugs it also meant that Jacques had no time to study the tough 44 point route. Swopping brother, Pierre, for Kobus Wilson Jnr as navigator still resulted in two “iffy” runs before the combination settled into a rhythm and their fight to the third step of the podium was entertaining to say the least.

Four times drivers champion, Izak van Zyl Jnr, and father-in-law, Dewald van der Merwe, tackled found themselves on the backburner when they realised that the brake discs on their Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 16v Turbo was never changed after a recent track day at Killarney and fitting the regular 13” wheels and tyres would be impossible. Thus, they found themselves riding much higher than planned on the 15” low profile track wheels and tyres. From a spectating point of view there were no complaints as the Golf  was great to watch through the tight corners and surprisingly Dewald van der Merwe found himself ahead of Izak van Zyl Jnr as driver until the final run.

Izak would never be able to live with the fact that his father-in-law beat him on a gymkhana driving the car in which he had won four overall drivers titles and their personal little tussle made their final runs well worth watching. Izak eventually pipping Dewald to fourth overall, but “skoonpa” certainly showed that he is becoming a real challenger! Dewald van der Merwe fifth with “skoonseun” trying everything as navigator to save face.

If anyone was feeling a little frustrated with their result in should be Anton Smit and Tania Vermaak in the rapid little Innovative Woodwork class F Toyota 1600 powered Datsun LDV. On the moist surface of the first run they slotted into second overall and really looked capable of making it an historic class F one-two result. Fate would however determine that Anton would be forced to correct an error, at exactly the same spot, during his final two runs and the disappointed combination slipped back to sixth overall. The level of competition simply of such a high standard that a single mistake, not even a penalty, proves expensive in terms of overall positions.

Walter van Dyk and Pierre du Plessis proved to be one of the surprise combinations on the day by slotting into an impressive seventh overall with the class G VW Golf MkI Chico 2.0 Turbo. Almost giving up in the morning when he simply could not memorise the challenging course Walter delivered his best performance yet as driver. As a member of the Stoor in Ceres his performance would certainly lead to an urgent committee meeting as his performance was now clearly upsetting the internal ranking of the Stoor drivers.

Pierre du Plessis and Walter van Dyk finishing eighth in the Du Plessis Auto class B Toyota Conquest 1.8 16v. Normally a position which would be considered perfectly acceptable to the Stoor, had it not been for the little issue of the sneezing Golf ahead of them! Ninth overall belonged to a very special entry. For the first time in sixteen years a Mercede Benz was entered into a WBMK Gymkhana event and this was no ordinary Benz either. Daneel Liebenberg and Hermann Mahnke pitched in a rather special A45 AMG 4x4 Turbo 2.0 with every conceivable bell and whistle fitted. The only element of the package that they did not consider was the fact that it had been five years since Daneel had contested a gymkhana as driver and Hermann turned green at the idea of being a navigator. Clearly the Merc had the potential and given a few more opportunities to gel as a team, this car could well find itself challenging for victory.

Johann Zulch and Cobus Viola remain the unchallenged masters of class E in their Ceres Toyota supported BMW E30 325iM, but tenth overall on a course this tight and challenging deserves special mention as the big Beemer was really made to dance by the rally veteran. Morné Roux and Liezel Oosthuizen tenth overall having somehow lost the consistency that normally trademark their efforts in the class A Mazda 323 EGi 2.0 16v. Morné did start his day in style when he posted two identical times, down to 100th of a second, but the ever improving grip levels saw everyone improve during the day.

What did concern Morné was the fact that his sister, Liezel Oosthuizen, had certainly found consistency of her own and the little Toyota Yaris 1.3 was entered in both the all ladies class I and class D with Tania Vermaak as navigator. Finishing 12th and 13th they managed to win both categories and posted times which had Morné checking his back.

Fourteenth overall but the easy winner of the people’s vote as the Most Spectacular combination present in Vredenburg the V8 Lexus powered Toyota Corolla of Izak van Zyl Jnr and Dewald van der Merwe certainly entertained by only running in a straight line briefly when changing direction. Driving the 44 point course was challenging enough with good traction but when driving through the side windows his ability to complete the course successfully was worthy of the spontaneous applause.

Hennie Hoffmeyer and Morné Roux placing their standard class C Nissan Sentra 1.6 sixteenth overall and the newcomer to gymkhana once again giving good account of himself with valuable assistance from his veteran navigator. Desmond Harding and Tania Vermaak bringing the much loved class F Chana LDV 1.3 home in sixteenth overall on what could prove to be it’s final outing in the Western Cape.

As single seater entries Kobus Wilson Jnr added to his tally of success in the WDT Datsun GX DeLuxe Sedan 1.4i by leading home Dewald van der Merwe in the Dynotech VW Golf MkII GTI 2.0 16v. Dewald unfortunately breaking a CV on his final run. Izak van Zyl Jnr providing more highlights by completing the route sideways, without the aid of a navigator enroute to third in class.

Running without a glitch it was almost disappointing to announce that Izak van Zyl Jnr had completed the closing, tyre destroying run, in his Dynotech V8 Lexus powered Toyota Corolla. The smooth running attributed to the efforts behind the scenes of Danie Burger, Marius Bester, Phillip van Deventer, Neville Gleeson, Piet Steyn, Phillip Botes, Dewald and Meghan Nortjé, Anette Vermaak, André Brinkman, Pierre van der Westhuizen and Robert Marle.

As have been stated many times – gymkhana is not only about chasing rewards or results – it offers a genuine opportunity to improve your skills as driver on our roads by putting you under pressure in a controlled environment. No expensive race car required – it is recommended you drive whatever you use on the road in order to develop your own ability to drive safely. See www.wbmk.co.za or Witzenberg Motorklub on Facebook for more information about the WBMK and the Gymkhana Championship.

And yes, everyone makes an embarrassing mistake occasionally but those who compete respect that as part of the learning curve and will offer advice to prevent it from ever happening again. Even if you find yourself out of control on the back of a Sedgway – as Piet Steyn successfully demonstrated at the expense of his own ego!

Coming to the Weskus Mall Vredenburg for the 11th event was a privilege and we thank all involved in making this possible. The Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Championship originated from the July 1999 Tygerberg Subaru Club Mykonos Langebaan Gymkhana and this was the 106th event under the auspices of Motorsport South Africa. 

Join us for round four of the 2015 Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Championship on Saturday 29 August 2015 when the 4th Sir Garnet Hotel Gymkhana takes place in front of the historic building in Wolseley.