Oupa hits back!

The opening round of the 2018 Witzenberg Gymkhana Championship saw the popular series return to the West Coast for the 4th Dagbreek Gymkhana Piketberg on Saturday 24 March 2018. Now in it’s 19th season the series have produced a number of young talents who progressed to more senior formula once they had established themselves at club level.

With numbers resultantly growing and diminishing with every season the small entry for the opening round once again opens the window for newcomers to step forward as they will be tested by a number of veteran gymkhana competitors, driving very ordinary cars extremely well. This formula specifically caters for road going cars to be driven to and from each event. With Dagbreek 25km from Velddrif and 40km from Piketberg on the recently completed R399 it represented a nice country drive and lovely atmosphere in overcast conditions.

Morné Roux and Adri Trautman started as car number one and the Mazda 323 EGi 2.0 16v certainly set the scene for a thrilling tussle by being quickest for three runs, but then a brilliant effort by veteran, Johann Zulch, and Tania Vermaak saw the Ceres Toyota backed E30 BMW 325iM steal their thunder on the final run. Morné and Johann are the established aces when it comes down to being consistent and clean drivers and it was a treat to watch these two try and outwit each other on the challenging cement course.

Johann Zulch and Tania Vermaak completed four seasons as a team in the BMW and Saturday their return to action certainly had the BMW in racing mood as the tail was wagged and the front wheel off the ground far more often than normal. The BMW celebrating the start of it’s 12th Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana season with overall victory – the first ever overall victory in any gymkhana for Johann Zulch and Tania Vermaak.

Morné Roux also found himself changing navigator when his sister, Liezel Oosthuizen, could not attend the event but Adri Trautman is no stranger to navigating for him in the Mazda 323 EGi 2.0 16v and they certainly remained in contention for overall victory. Hilton Africa and Erica Bezuidenhout celebrated their debut as team with a fine third position overall in the Autozone Strand class C VW Fox 1.6, having improved on every run of the day.

André Smit and Natasha de Jager finished fourth overall in their class C VW Golf MkI 1.6 but had to settle for consistency as tyre wear proved extensive. Anton Smit, father of André, and Tania Vermaak led after the opening round of four in the rapid Toyota 1600 powered class F Datsun LDV, but the Mini-Truck ran bearings and could not fulfill the promise of outright victory.

Byron Hite, 104Fm Motorsport Fokus co-presenter, celebrated his gymkhana debut with an excellent fifth overall in his completely standard class D Toyota Tazz 1.3. Byron very complimentary of his seasoned navigator, Tania Vermaak, and they showed vast improvement on every run. Unfortunately their best effort resulted in a penalty when they failed to straddle the finish line.

Danye and Marcile Louw dropped in enroute to their latest boating experience and Boland Trade Centre kindly donated the podium awards for the day whilst Danie and Liz Terblanche also managed to travel all the way from Langebaan to attend as the MSA Steward for the event.

Documentation was completed with newcomer, Byron Hite, assisting Anette Vermaak. A slight miscommunication saw Byron loading the Scoring computer data in such an interesting code that André Mitchell required three runs before anything could be printed! Melissa Mitchell did a sterling jobe as the Judge of Fact whilst Stian de Witt and Anette Vermaak doubled as Start and Finish Marshals.

Chris Visser and his Dagbreek Padstal team deserves compliments for the manner in which they promoted the event in the area and the excellent “shop” during the event which was well supported by  competing crews, officials and spectators. The Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Championship will be returning to Dagbreek in May, but the next round is set for Wolseley in April.

Be there!