Stepping back in time - 2008 Gydo

Having failed to complete a single practice lap at Killarney in preparation for the 2006 KOTM it was Allen Irwin who took sweet revenge on Saturday 17 November 2007 when he posted the fastest time enroute to a popular debut victory on the Gydo mountain pass. The 3.0 M3 powered Auric Auto BMW 325iS never missing a beat and Allen driving as though he lives on the mountain. Having run this car actively at Killarney for a season will see a much better prepared Irwin defending his title with absolute gusto in 2008!

Day one on the mountain saw drivers of normally aspirated cars challenge for overall honours and did they deliver with committed driving! Bessie Bester destroyed a Golf during his previous visit to Gydo but made amends by setting a blistering pace in his Western Wheels VW Golf MkI 2.0 16v to finish the day in a superb second place overall. Bessie driving exceptionally well in the very rapid Golf, mixing it with some serious machinery.

Gary Mähnke another to impress with the Flora Bay Resort BMW M3 3.0. It was younger brother, Hermann, who impressed behind the wheel of his yellow M3 during the 2006 event, but Gary certainly proved that he can hold his own when it comes to sheer commitment and class. Gary certainly has the potential as a driver to challenge for overall victory and he will settle for nothing less in 2008.

Mountain debutant, Wessel Pretorius, surprised even himself by being the fastest Chevrolet Lumina SS driver on the pass when he guided the Basil Green Stage 1 5.7 V8 to a fine fourth place overall. Fiffie possibly capable of more, but as a newcomer on this challenging course his times were more than respectable and made him the pride of the West Coast. Almost unknown Wessel stole the Chevrolet limelight in 2007 and this quiet racer will undoubtedly be capable of even better times in 2008 as his car have been refettled substantially.

Werner Koekemoer possibly became the first driver to actually complete the course without ever traveling in a straight line! Known as the Mayor of Mykonos he endeared himself to the mountain spectators by being truly spectacular in the 3.2 M3 powered Bela Bela Sand & Klip BMW 328i rally car. His day started wrong when the bonnet flew open, destroying the windscreen. Armed with a pair of welding goggles Werner simply had both the bonnet and screen removed and continued as though there was nothing amiss. Never one to be concerned with times, his fifth position was quite impressive given the time wasted sliding the Beemer to the delight of the crowd. Werner will be returning to the mountain in his brand new 3.2 M3 powered BMW 1 Series rally car (which will be making it’s competition debut during the 7th round of the Sasol SA Rally Championship, the CPMCC Swartland Rally on 19/20 September 2008). His presence alone should see the crowd double in numbers on Saturday.

Vredenburg ace, André Dreyer, survived a high speed off on his final run to record a fine sixth overall in the popular black Weskaap Bakwerke VW Golf GTi MkII 2.0 16v. Trying too hard was his own disappointed explanation afterwards, but the Golf will be returning in 2008. André Dreyer is a multiple Witzenberg Motorklub Club champion and one of the top gymkhana competitors in the Western Cape and the black Golf has a large following that should motivate it to another impressive performance. Ronald Childs drove a calculated race in his lightweight Lotus 7 replica to record seventh fastest. Son of former Somerset West Motor Club rallyist, Garth, he was the final under three minute driver of the day in the 1800cc racer. Sub three minute times are what the normally aspirated drivers strive for and this will once again be goal number one for the Saturday drivers.

Ceres driver, Pieter Hugo, topped the local charts by placing his West Engineering VW Polo 1800 eighth overall with Vredendal proudly represented by Johannes van der Westhuizen in his 4.0 V8 Lexus powered 1973 West Welding Audi Coupé. This classic car surprisingly agile and willing on the slopes of Gydo and it held it’s own against much more modern machinery. Wolseley ace, Danie Smuts, the quickest BMW 325i driver on the day with the Wannenburg Vervoer entry pipping the Van der Merwe Vervoer version of Johann Zulch (now armed with a much improved new engine), the West Engineering entry of Pieter Hugo, the Wannenburg Vervoer entry of Roy Laing as well as the Wannenburg vervoer BMW M3 of Chris Möller. Johann Zulch also the only driver present to have contested Gydo as a special stage in the early eighties when he campaigned the legendary yellow Ford Escort 1600 Sport in regional rallying. A founder member of the Witzenberg Motorklub and one of the hardest workers behind the scenes. Though they might be seen in different vehicles in 2008 this bunch of enthuasiastic competitors form the backbone of the host club, Witzenberg, and their talent behind the wheel will see another close duel for local honour.

2007 Gymkhana champion driver, Eugene Bower, treated the mountain with the respect it deserves on his debut and the Knysna based ace finished the day in 15th position overall. Sadly Eugene Bower passed away in a tragic car accident in Knysna but his memory will live on at the mountain. Brother Jacques Bower as well as his father intend making their debut on Gydo in 2008! Brennon Green, 06 Supercar Silver Cup champion, saw his Weskaap Bakwerke VW Golf MkI 1800 cry enough on his third run but experienced enough to want to return in 2008. Now a year wiser as competitor in the very competitive Engen Polo Cup series this youngster could well prove one of the surprise talents in 2008. Levon Traut might have driven the smallest capacity entry, the U-Store-It VW Polo Classic 1400 but he drove it with everything he had. Levon illustrates the true grit approach that the Mountain expects from all as no matter what you drive, it will always demand your best effort.

Paul van der Westhuizen representing Prince Alfred Hamlet in his West Engineering VW Golf GTi 2.0 whilst Johan Wannenburg not only assisted the local teams, he also made his competitive debut aboard a Wannenburg Vervoer Honda TRX 400 EX Quad. Completing all three his runs on the same second certainly proved his commitment.

Looking innocent in Parc Ferme the Top Secret / Dezzi Equipment Nissan Skyline GT-R34 Turbo 4x4 revealed it’s true character going into the third and final run on Sunday 18 November 2007. Sounding like someone with a bad bout of bronchitis Godzilla destroyed the opposition morale by posting a blistering 2min 24:97 in the hands of SAMCAR / Wesbank V8 racer, Jade Gutzeit. Capable of delivering a reputed 1060bhp Jade actually trimmed it down to 800bhp, simply so that he could actually drive the beast and not just cling onto the steering for dear life. This car has immense potential and it will take a committed Dawie Olivier, Stuart Kidgell or Toby Venter to wrest this title from him in 2008. At this stage Jade and Desmond Gutzeit have committed to return to the mountain and having faced almost impossible odds to attend in 2007 Dr Stuart Kidgell look set to reclaim the KOTM crown in his awesome Alfa Romeo 3.4 V6 Twin Turbo powered Ultima GTR come November 2008! For many years Stuart Kidgell owned the title of the fastest street car driver in SA and this Ultima is a truly unique vehicle.

Something of a handful off the startline due to huge turbo lag, needing some 300m or 5 seconds to spool up before second third and fourth gears are snatched like gunshots and the speedtrap reading 199km/h. Back into third (9000rpm) through the esses and into first for the right hairpin, barely enough straight to get back into fourth, selecting third until past the first VIP stand. Fourth towards main VIP stand and fifth past the main crowd before a double down change to third into the tricky lefthander, fourth up the straight, down to third for the chicanes maintaining roughly 8000rpm before taking it past 9000 over the finish line. By his own admission this Skyline scares anyone with a brain and to drive it fast you need to rely on your instincts. As German ace, Walter Röhl, said when describing the awesome Audi Quattro S1 rally car – if you think and do you are simply too slow! Oh, just for interest the safe speed limit up the Gydo pass is a mere 70km/h!

Actually, he might have lost it already as he beat Desmond Gutzeit, his father, into second place with the equally impressive Dezzi Equipment supercharged 750bhp Chevrolet Lumina SS 5.7 V8 Ute. Warming up those big gumball tyres on the startline reveals the true character of this Ute and Des actually starts in second gear to limit wheelspin from the line. Approaching the end of the start straight the Ute is pulling 6300rpm in fifth gear, coming out of the tight hairpin he is forced to select second gear and then shortshifts through third and fourth to utilize the mountain of torque available at a mere 3000rpm and once again fighting to limit wheelspin. This Ute simply awesome and it has also been equipped with a higher spec engine for 2008.

Fifth past the VIP and crowd, back to third for the tricky left and then the Ute come into it’s own pulling up the mountain through fourth gear, actually doing well in excess of 200km/h in fifth past the finish point. Now Des is a really nice guy, but since he owns the cars, guess who will be driving the Skyline in 2008! A fantastic result for any father and son combination and they have now really thrown down the gauntlet for future challengers. If you intend wearing this crown you will have to get ahead of the Gutzeit family. Having sat in the suicide seat of this Ute I must add that this is simply the most impressive Bakkie you could hope to find on this planet!

Leon Loubser is no slouch behind the wheel of his very impressive supercharged E36 BMW M3 3.2 and he lived on the edge on every run to take a superb third overall. Though a true supercar in every respect the BMW simply did not threaten the Gutzeit beasts. What would however grab his attention in 2008 is the fact that Sav Gualteri intends to have no less than eight Savspeed turbocharged BMW M3 cars present with very capable drivers behind the wheel! Sav is simply not known as someone who drives for second place and his debut on the Mountain is awaited with much anticipation. Driver of the Day 2006 went to Hermann Mähnke in his yellow Flora Bay Resort BMW M3 and he was simply awesome in his new NOS assisted E30 MACE BMW 325iS 2.7 Turbo. When Hermann admits to being weary of a car it’s a real mean mother and this car certainly had his attention. This car will also have benefited from a season of behind the scenes tweaking and will no doubt be a completely different animal when it leaves the startline in 2008.

Ever the consummate professional the 2006 SA and WP rally drivers champion, Enzo Kuun, enjoyed his annual outing in the neat Porsche GT3 and quietly slipped into fifth overall. Enzo confirming his intentions to run his new and incredibly beautiful Audi R8 in 2008. Few can match Enzo for consistency on Gydo and the idea of seeing an R8 at full tilt certainly gets the adrenalin levels going – even as a mere spectator!

Marius Knoesen won the 2006 Krugersdorp Hillclimb and enjoyed multiple successes during 2007 including 6th overall during the Ultimate Street car Challenge and actually recorded the fourth fastest time as the top Subaru Impreza driver present in his 2.5 Turbo, but having run on Saturday the time was unofficial. Take nothing away from this newcomer to the mountain, he proved a point to all those with doubt. Marius has a score to settle and only a fool would bet against this car in 2008! Ken Addison possibly delivered the drive of the day in his normally aspirated and gloriously good looking Mercedes Benz SLK V8 AMG by mixing it with the monster machines to finish in an excellent sixth place overall. Total commitment is the only style of driving that the 2006 GTi Jamboree winner is familiar with and the mountain made such an impression on him that he plans to return with a Black series 63 in 2008. (In short – the F1 Pace Car). No idle threat as Ken will be back behind the wheel of a white C63 Merc! Suffering from incurable mountain fever (like many do) this combination another to tic as hot favourite for vast improvement.

Malcolm Royston seventh in his Subaru Impreza 2.0 Turbo 4x4 after three very consistent runs. Thouca Mechanicos impressed on his mountain debut with the supercharged C55 Mercedes Benz V8 sounding fantastic. Thouca another that now suffers from incurable mountain fever and he has committed to return in 2008. Possibly the first Gauteng competitor to commit for 2008 he would be down next week if he could! Paul Munro had a almost quiet drive to ninth overall in his Subarau Impreza 2.0 Turbo 4x4 and he was followed home by a rejuvenated Shandor Hrabar in his similar AsianWolf Subaru Impreza Turbo 2.0 4x4. Paul Pfeiffer another rallyist who finds the challenge of the mountain appealing and he returned in his hard working Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 Turbo 4x4 to mix it with the Scooby drivers. Eleventh overall with just two runs certainly nothing to be sneezed at. Paul is another rallyist who quietly does his own thing and being armed with a brand new Nobili N14 Subaru his presence on the mountain would certainly be welcomed by all.

Those with very long memories or old age will be familiar with 6x SA racing driver champion, Ian Scheckter. Second generation to Scheckter senior, Jaki, achieved great results including the SA Formula Ford championship as well as the American Barber SAAB series despite not being able to hear. Thomas Scheckter, son of the only SA F1 world champion Jody, assisted his nephew to receive a cochlea transplant and the 33 year old returned to motorsport this weekend with hearing. What a wonderful medical achievement and fantastic family gesture. Achieving a fine 12th position overall in the AsianWolf Subaru Impreza Turbo 4.4 almost fading by comparison. Shandor and Jaki are close friends and their personal rivalry attracted much attention in 2007. It was also a special privilege to welcome Jaki back to the local motorsport scene.

Officially credited with thirteenth overall it must be stated that Marius Knoesen did record the fastest time of any Subaru driver, almost four seconds up on Malcolm Royston. Expect this driver to come out guns ablaze in 2008 as he certainly proved beyond any doubt that he has the ability to take on anyone. Izak van Zyl impressed with 14th spot on his mountain debut and the turbocharged Dynotech VW Golf GTi 2.0 surprised many with customary clean and fast runs. Kosie Louw another newcomer in a Subaru Impreza 2.5 Turbo 4x4 and possibly still cautious of the mountain enroute to 15th spot.

Anton Slabbert almost took overall honours in 2006 but returned to entertain in the RXMotorsport Nissan 200SX Turbo drifter. Always an extremely difficult call to make the judges eventually decided to award Anton the coveted Max Power Driver of the Day trophy. Between himself and Werner Koekemoer they were simply mobbed by the spectators as they truly displayed extraordinary car control on every run. Driving the AsianWolf Honda Prelude 2.2 Turbo Shandor Hrabar netted 17th spot with Saturday exponent, Bessie Bester, 18th in the giant killing Western Wheels VW Golf GTi MkI 2.0 16v.

Shane Naidu enjoyed a good outing in the Geoff Mortimer tweaked Audi FRC S2 Quattro. This very rare and beautiful classic car a welcome returnee to the mountain every year and it certainly goes faster with every outing. Julyan Gandt overcame a number of mechanical maladies enroute to the 2007 event but recovered well to record 20th fastest in his Subaru Impreza 2.0 Turbo 4x4. Jaki Scheckter also tried his hand at the front wheel drive AsianWolf Honda Prelude Turbo 2.2 and 21st was his reward after another consistent drive.

The final Porsche Carrera Cup racer to be built in 1993 was driven to 22nd spot by Saldanha based racer, Herman Scholtz. This another truly classic car and an honour to see it in action on the mountain. André Davis retained his status as the fastest BMW M5 driver with 23rd fastest time and he was followed by the awesomely good looking 6.6 V8 CAV GT40 replica of Francis Carruthers, another mountain debutant.

Wearing a big grin afterwards his only complaint was that the next event was a whole year away and since the former Scottish 100 International karting champion claims to be married without children or animals at home he will be back for more! Mountain regular, Rob Pringle, put his pulse rate to the test behind the wheel of his monster supercharged 6.3 V8 Cobra replica and declared himself fit for another few years of Gydo adrenalin surges. Provincial rugby player, Morné Bezuidenhout,  have in recent times proven very competitive in gymkhana events but the Vredenburg driver treated the mountain with respect on his debut to record 26th fastest in the neat Subaru Impreza Turbo 4x4.

Former V8 oval ace, J.B.Lazarus, returned to racing behind the wheel of a very neat Chevrolet Lumina SS 5.7 V8 Ute. Almost a mild vehicle compared to the Gutzeit version his purpose was to look and learn before taking on the challenge in serious mode come 2008. Karate legend, Hennie Bosman, returned to the mountain behind the wheel of his Reeds Delta Chevrolet Lumina SS 6.0 V8 and recorded a respectable 28th fastest time. The super powerful MACE VW Golf MkI Turbo 1.8 of Daneel Liebenberg simply proved impossible to control effectively and 29th place was achieved with much wheelspin. Daneel also a martial arts expert, having finished 2nd in the kick boxing world championship some years back.

Though never intended to tackle the mountain at full tilt, the presence of Shaun Khan in his very exclusive orange Lamborghini LP640 V12 certainly attracted more attention than the eventual 30th fastest time achieved. To see and hear this exotic on the mountain was as good as watching Jade racing for 1st overall, a real privilege for us mere mortals! Faaiz Majiet believes life starts at 8000RPM and his neat Audi TT 1800 Turbo finished 31st after a cautious mountain debut.

The only incident on the day being the unfortunate off experienced by young karting ace, Schalk Burger Jnr. Driving hard he misjudged his entry speed, lost control and fortunately bailed off the CRG Kalifornia 125cc gearbox kart before it hit the barriers. Schalk suffering a light concussion, but no serious injuries. The team thanking Wessel Venter for his assistance at the accident scene and thank you to the helicopter pilot which monitored the area. Otto Graven traveled all the way from Kimberley with his awesome Monster Mob drifting turbocharged BMW M3 CSL but having participated in the Friday practice at Killarney he fell ill and did not actually post any times on the Sunday. Watching he did however decide that the BMW will return with twin turbocharging in 2008! In fact, he has built a second M3 just to make sure he enjoys the weekend!

Dr Stuart Kidgell tried to overcome a logistical nightmare to contest the 2007 Mountain Race but had to withdraw when it became apparent that he would simply not be able to reach the Cape in time for the Sunday race. He has however made it clear that the twin turbo 3.4 V6 Alfa Romeo powered Ultima GTR will return in 2008 to claim it’s title as rightful King of the Mountain. Will be down for 2008!

Dawie Olivier, the only double winner, unfortunately found himself without the HOBS Subaru when the car melted a piston during a recent top end run. Mike Lötter have since repaired the car but too little testing had them opt not to risk the expensive engine. They are also preparing the hottest twin cam turbo Owen Ashley constructed HRD Supercar imaginable for 2008! Watch this space – Olivier will be back.

The much speculated Gough and Cooper 1000bhp twin turbo Chevrolet Lumina SS project simply ran out of time in 2007 but this car will make it’s debut in 2008 with Kosie Swanepoel at the helm and could well bring the title back to Cape Town. Watch this space!

Paul Riley had to withdraw his mean and nasty Subaru when a clutch ordered from America did not reach Durban in time. He was so committed he still made the trip as spectator.  Nigel Perkins also withdrew his Subaru when time caught up with efforts to complete development.

Any one of the four Joubert brothers are capable of winning at Gydo but they opted to miss 2007 and concentrate on getting their cars ready for 2008. Most have only heard of an Ariel Atom and hopefully Dawie Joubert will be demonstrating this awesome machine in 2008!

Clive Corder have just taken delivery of a magnificent Lola T70 5.7 V8 sports prototype racer and the sound of this car should have spectators flocking to the mountain in 2008. Business commitments also kept Rob Beaumont busy this weekend but hopefully both he, Deon Auby and Mike Thompson will be returning in 2008. Also thanks to Mike for having his helicopter on standby to transport Stuart Kidgell to Gydo.

Charles Arton another who will be returning in 2008 as his car was not ready this year. Ian George spent the entire night trying to resolve a problem on his Noble M400 Turbo but a lack of spares cut their efforts short. He has promised to be back in serious mood come 2008.

Dr Spike Milligan committed to travel all the way from England to race the locally prepared 1959 MGA 1622 only for the car to drop a valve shortly before the race. As the owner of the Roy Salvadori F1 Connaught we hope to see many more classic cars accept this challenge to run the mountain. With enough of them a day could be dedicated to these collectables. Steve Wyndham had to withdraw his Porsche 911 with a broken clutch whilst Fanus van der Walt encountered maladies during Friday practice in his Audi RS4. Gearbox problems put Keith Dorrell out of action in the Ford Escort Mk1 2.0 whilst a LS problem saw Vredendal ace, Henko de Klerk, withdraw his Mazda Rustler 2.0 LDV. Mornay Erasmus had the misfortune of a road accident the evening before leaving for the mountain event and had to withdraw his 2.5 V6 Alfa Romeo. 

As have become the norm SEESA took care of the six motorcyclists entered for the event but sadly they refused to run for times, simply concentrating on demonstrating the various motorcycles at speed. Charl van Sittert rode both a XR10R and ZX12R Kawasaki, obviously green in colour and as he hails from Ceres he was allowed to run with number one on his machines.

Jacques Geldenhuys rode the 1979 Honda CBR 1000 six cylinder made famous by Danie “van Killarney natuurlik” Maritz (Danie might even be seen behind the wheel of a car in 2008, but we all hope it will rather be on board his sweet sounding six pack) and a 2004 Suzuki 1300. The Melkbosstrand rider suggesting that KOTM becomes bigger and better in 2008! Gerhard Gerber also found himself aboard a ZX10 and ZX14 Kawasaki and is fast becoming a regular at KOTM. Nico Moolman rode a Suzuki K7 1000 and K6 1000 whilst 4x regional bike racing champion, JP Friedrich, was present a Kawasaki 1000 and Yamaha R1. The 2004 WP Powersport Champion, Hilton Redelinghuys returned to the mountain on board his silver Suzuki GSXR K6 1000.

Spectators supported the event well but the lack of a proper PA (both Pieter Swanepoel and John Floyd were present as regular commentators) did nothing to promote the event. These matters were beyond the control of the Witzenberg Motorklub, but will certainly be addressed. All were in agreement that the spectators must be complimented for the manner in which they adhered to the basic safety principles as without their conscious support the event would simply never be run.

A big thank you to all who toiled behind the scenes to make this a memorable event. Special mention of the truckers who worked till late night Friday, moving some 250 concrete barriers into position on the mountain.