Mini Victory - Rustler Leading

Whilst it was wet and cold in Cape Town pleasant sunshine received the 42 strong entry for the Du Plessis Auto 7th Gymkhan Ceres on Saturday 26 September 2015. Driving across the Slanghoek bridge simply setting the scene in the Boland and what a day it turned out to be!

With Atlas and Arion Streets neatly swept the route set quite a demand on precision braking and finding the ultimate lines, something the crews reveleed in as it looked like an early morning marathon walk with competitors really studying all their options. Jacques and Pierre du Plessis won this event at this venue in 2013 and it was simply appropriate that the Du Plessis Auto class A Toyota Conquest 20v 2.0 opened proceedings.

It came as no surprise that the AHI Racing Mini teams would be the greatest threat, but it was of some concern to note by what margin they would raise the bar as Rafique and Natheer Firfirey proved to be unstoppable in the Turbocharged 2009 silver class G Mini Cooper S 1600, a full 2.57 seconds clear of the best official time by second placed Izak van Zyl Jnr and Dewald van der Merwe in the Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi Turbo 2.0 16v.

Whilst sensing an air of despondancy settling in Coathanger country the Dynotech team gave it their everything, in fact they broke three CV’s and a sideshaft trying to catch the Mini! With only two scoring runs to show for their efforts second overall was actually worth smiling about as it has suddenly livened up the title chase. Natheer and Rafique Firfirey also starting to dial in the Supercharged 2002 light blue class G Mini Cooper S 1600 and third overall should have everyone sit-up and take note.

Fourth overall should have been second overall for Fanie and Zac du Toit in the FM Civils class A 2001 Mazda Rustler LDV 2.0 16v but though this combination are noted for their ability to post their best times on their final attempt of the day the little LDV incurred a painfull ten second stop penalty and had to settle for fourth place. With two events remaining only two points now seperate the Rustler and Turbo Golf in the overall points chase.

Kobus Wilson Jnr and Werner McDonald drove the WDT class F 1976 Datsun GX DeLuxe Sedan 1.4i to and beyond it’s limits but simply lacked the punch to stay on the podium. Fifth in their case and in this company as good as first. Walter van Dyk and Pierre du Plessis the first real surprise of the day in sixth spot as the VW Golf MkI Turbo 2.0 16v led the local content of the event. Die Stoor would almost certainly have been an interesting place the following Monday as this constituted a break in ranks!

Pierre du Plessis and Walter van Dyk seventh in the Du Plessis Auto class B Toyota Conquest 1800 16v, showing signs of much more to come in future. The incredibly nimble Race-Tech class D VW Golf MkI Chico 1.4i of Jan van der Vyver and Liezel Oosthuizen impressive in eighth overall. They have clearly been listening to Mark Cronjé as Jan is a shadow of his former self and Liezel have never weighed more than a shadow to date.

They probably could have finished even higher up the order with some consistency to trim down the flam boyancy, but it would not have been as entertaining.

Dewald van der Merwe and Izak van Zyl Snr were re-united in the Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 Turbo 16v but with some doubt about the reliability of the CV’s in use developing they were possibly a touch too cautious enroute to ninth place overall. Morné Roux and Liezel Oosthuizen were as always giving the little class A Mazda 323 EGi 2.0 16v stick and a top ten finish was on par for the popular brother-and-sister combination.

Having missed the previous round due to work commitments it was great to see the red class Trysome F Datsun-Toyota LDV 1600 of Anton Smit and Tanya Vermaak three wheeling it’s way to a fighting eleventh overall.Masood Dangor and sister, Aatera Firfirey, next in line with the cabriolet dark blue class G Mini Cooper S 1600 Supercharged. Masood growing with confidence at every event and chipping away at the times.

Jacques du Plessis and Kobus Wilson Jnr did not have a great day in the office and the Du Plessis Auto class A Toyota Conquest 2.0 20v simply did not find the groove. To the defence of the Du Plessis brothers this was their event and they did a stunning job preparing the venue and canvassing local support. Staying focussed as a competitor is difficult when payning attention to little details. They will be back though!

Johann Zulch and Cobus Viola had some company in class E but still managed another deserved class win in the Ceres Toyota supported E30 BMW 325iM will a typical faultless performance. Swopping sides Aatera Firfirey had brother Masood Dangor pointing the way to fifteenth overall in the cabriolet dark blue Mini Cooper S 1600 Supercharged. Ok, you are thinking it – is the time difference in the navigator or the driver? The 10th Lions Vredendal Gymkhana is coming Saturday 17 October 2015.

Masood Dangor then had brother-in-law, Rafique Firfirey, point him into sixteenth spot with his own normally aspirated charcoal class C Mini Cooper S 1600 followed by Aatera Firfirey and Liezel Oosthuizen as all ladies entry in the cabriolet dark blue Mini Cooper S 1600 Supercharged. Liezel Oosthuizen then chased herself into eighteenth overall by first placing the Toyota Yaris 1.3 2nd in class D with Aatera Firfirey as navigator en and then finishing 19th overall 2nd all ladies with Tania Vermaak navigating. Liezel again stealing the male thunder as the Most Consistent Driver of the Day, just 0.06 seconds between her two best times.

Twentieth overall without ever having looked through the front screen is quite an achievemnt and one which Izak van Zyl Jnr and Snr did with consumate ease in the Dynotech 4.0 V^8 Lexus powered 1984 Toyota Corolla rwd. What an absolute pleasure to see this crew in action and though others are getting their act together still the easy choice as the Most Spectacular Driver of the Day. This father-and-son combination in this specific car should be enough reason to make the trip to Vredendal – they are that good!

Hennie Hoffmeyer and Morné Roux continued to make progress with the standard class C Nissan Sentra 1600 and 21st spot was actually impressive in this car. Hermie de Kock accepted quite a personal challenge by having two guest drivers share his class E Ford Sierra V6 3.0 oval track racer on the day and he managed to beat them home in 22nd overall with Louis Groenewald back as navigator. Former rallyist, Nico Deetlefs, and Hermie de Kock then placed the same Ford 23rd with Louis Groenewald and Hermie de Kock following in 24th.

Ryno Hough and Arnold Nel are starting to understand their unique 1972 class G Ford F100 6.8 V8 better thundered their way into 25th overall. Newcomer from Ceres, Jonathan Swart, had Cobus Viola as navigator in his neat class E E30 BMW 325iM and 26th overall will hopefully see him return for more in future.

Two more newcomers were Tony van heerden and Alexander van Dyk in their rather interesting twin turbo Lexus 4.0 V8 powered pipe-car. Well constructed but clearly challenging to drive they were pleased with improving times and 27th overall. Danye Louw and Jacques du Plessis 28th in the never going straight M3 BMW. Celebrating his 15th wedding anniversary Danye really enjoyed the BMW – not so sure that the navigator shared the thrill willingly! Andrew Pojie returned with Morné Roux navigating but unfortunately the E30 BMW was retired with an engine malady.

Kobus Wilson Jnr continued to dominate the single seater category in the WDT Datsun GX DeLuxe Sedan 1.4i with Dewald van der Merwe second in the Dynotech VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 Turbo 16v and that incredibly quick Race-Tech VW Golf MkI Chico 1.4i of Jan van der Vyver third. Jacques du Plessis fastest in class but inconsistency kept him limited to fourth in the Du Plessis Auto Toyota Conquest 2.0 20v with Danye Louw fifth in the smoking BMW M3.

Prizegiving for the Ceres event have become an annual highlight with a magnitude of small contributors allowing the Du Plessis Auto Ceres Gymkhana to become the “richest” in terms of rewards. We applaud all the following for your contribution towards making the Ceres Gymkhana another resounding success – Jaffes Ford – NJ Geldenhuys Vervoer – Bokkeveld Motors – Boland Toilet Dienste – Pietie Viola – Midas Ceres – Motolek Ceres – Cross Cape Forklifts – HJ Nichols – FM Civils – Walter van Dyk – GHV Verpakking – First National Battery – CVC Ceres – Nulandis Ceres (Sakkie Lindveld & Lesley du Plessis) – Auto Magneto – Phillip Fabricious (Kubuto Trekkers) – Tyre Choice – Thorp Ceres – Parts Inc Africa – Diesel Electric – Ceres Retreaders (David Wesson) – Ceres Autozone – Willa Verster – Ceres Toyota – Nortmec Ceres – Trysome – Boland Trade Centre – Witzenberg Municipality (Hermie Visser) – Ceres Traffic (Alan Els) – SAPS Ceres (Col Williams) and Wayne who swept the roads! And to finish it off perfectly Piet Dunn and his legendary “rib braai” set the scene for the late afternoon.

As always Pierre van der Westhuizen was the Clerk of the Course with Robert Marle as the MSA Steward. André Mitchell kept the Jayen Timer and Scoring systems running whilst Anette “Mama Bear” Vermaak and Meghan “Aunty Bear” Nortjé looked after documentation. Dewald “Start” Nortjé and Meghan “Finish” Nortjé enjoyed the on track company of Uwe “Rover” Pey and Judge of Fact was André “Pit Bull” Brinkman. Traffic control in the hands of Frikkie. Commentary by Pierre van der Westhuizen. 

The 10th Lions Vredendal Gymkhana now beckons on Saturday 17 October 2015 and given the current points status everyone plus more should be heading for the Matzikama event.