Too fast to win!


As expected Wolseley was wet and cold on Saturday 15 July 2017, but far from spoiling the day the weather actually created a very interesting challenge and the final result certainly reflected a few surprises.

The opening round of the 2017 Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Championship headed for Solomon Street in Wolseley and with the 1930 Sir Garnet Wolseley Hotel as background the scene was set. The local municipality even fixed the deteriorating surface in front of the hotel, allowing competitors to truly attack the stopwatch on each of their four individual runs.

The first run took place in continuous rain and unsurprisingly the visible lack of traction did not do much to impress the Jayen Timer, but proved very popular with the very vocal crowd in attendance. With the officials throroughly drenched and just short of being frozen the weather improved and the times started to drop substantially. Unfortunately the mistakes also increased as those brave enough started to test grip levels to the extreme, and occasionally beyond.

Leon Engelbrecht and Carel Bosch eventually managing two, reasonably error free, runs to take a popular overall victory in the AHS Racing class G Mini Cooper S Turbo 1.6. A car which Leon incidently prepares for Rafique and Hishaam Firfirey. Another in house team battle was the dual between the Du Plessis brothers, Jacques and Pierre, as they shared the rapid class B Toyota Conquest 1.8 16v on this occasion. With his son, Wynand, navigating it was Pierre du Plessis who claimed second overall from a somewhat frustrated Rafique and Hishaam Firfirey. Entered a number of times the Firfirey father and son combination posted the outright fastest time in the AHS Racing class G Mini Cooper S Turbo 1.6 during their non scoring runs, but still they had to settle for third overall. A real case of being too fast to win!

Morné Roux and his sister, Liezel Oosthuizen, once again proving that consistency pays dividends by placing the class A Mazda 323 Egi 2.0 16v fourth overall with customary smooth driving whilst they were followed home by Francois Mostert and Marius Ellis in their, “borrowed”, class B Opel Corsa GSi 1.8 16v. Whether his wife actually knows what his intentions were with her car will probably never be discussed but Francois hopes to have his actual gymkhana Opel ready by round two on 5 August 2017.

Jacques and Pierre du Plessis sixth overall in the rapid class B Toyota Conquest 1.8 16v. Driving brilliantly at times every run was spoiled by indecision at one or two points. Should they find consitency to match their obvious pace the Du Plessis brothers must rate as the strongest threat to the AHS stable in 2017.

Johann Zulch and Cobus Viola as always strong in the Ceres Toyota backed class E BMW 325iM and seventh overall in these wet conditions impressive in the big and heavy rear wheel driven car. Riaan Swart and Jackie Swart the first surprise of the day in eighth spot with the Fire Busters No 8, red, class D VW Golf MkI 1.4i. A great debut result with the similar green Volkswagen Golf MkI 1.4i of Marius Ellis and Francois Mostert less than a second slower in ninth overall. The top ten completed by Aatera Firfirey and Carel Bosch in the second AHS Racing Mini, the Supercharged class G cabriolet 1.6.

Liezel Oosthuizen and Aatera Firfirey a fine third in class D and 11th overall in the standard Toyota Yaris 1.3 with André Smit and Natasha de Jager 12th Overall and 1st in class C with their Volkswagen Golf MkI 1.6. Liezel Oosthuizen and Tania Vermaak proved superior in the All Ladies class I with the Toyota Yaris 1.3 in 13th spot overall, closely shadowed by Aatera Firfirey and Liezel Oosthuizen in the AHS Racing cabriolet Mini Cooper S 1.6.

Another team making their debut in the WBMK series was Vernon and Tristan Galp in their interesting Audiosmiths class G Mini JWC 1.6. Father Vernon, a veteran gymkhana competitor but this was 11 year old Tristan’s debut as navigator and without doubt this combination will only become quicker in future. Rafique and Ateera Firfirey also challenged competitors in class D with a Barloworld Chevrolet Spark 1.2 and the little car certainly impressed. Their marketing logo read “Let’s get you rolling” and given the environment they were competing in this certainly led to various comments about the objectives they were trying to achieve with their strategy.

Carel Bosch and Aatera Firfirey were understandably cautious of the Wolseley Finkelsteins in their very attractive class G Opel Corsa Turbo 1.6 and were content with 17th spot overall on debut whilst Abdul Sayed and Aatera Firfirey found the turning circle of their Clubmans spec class D Toyota Conquest 1.3 something of a challenge enroute to 18th overall.

Hennie Odendaal and Giovanni Agostinelli proved fearless as they attacked the Finkelsteins in their 19th placed class C Volkswagen Golf MkI 1.6 and newcomers, Werner Venter and Chinelle Calitz, kept their class F Mazda MX5 1.6 clear of all the obstacles to win the class and finish 20th overall. Jackie Burrows and Riaan Swart swopped sides in the Fire Busters class D Volkswagen Golf MkI 1.4i and were the final team classified as finishers in 21st spot. Always nice to see more lady drivers get involved and Jackie could not have chosen more testing conditions in which to sooth the nerves!

A great big thank you to all who patiently worked behind the scenes to keep the Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Championship strong and the 7th Sir Garnet Gymkhana Wolseley certainly proved most encouraging. Clerk of the Course, Pierre van der Westhuizen, with MSA Steward and Environmental Officer, Robert Marle, supported by André and Nelmarie Mitchell as the Jayen Timer / Scoring offcicials whilst André Brinkman proved to be a sterling Judge of Fact in difficult conditions. Hats off to Tania Vermaak who braved the weather as Start / Finish marshal (No, she is not normally blue in colour).

Anton Smit and Tania Vermaak unfortunate not to be scoring in their class F Toyota powered Nissan LDV 1.6, but they will be back for round two.