IT’S one of the iconic events of the year for the Ndlambe/Makana area, the Bathurst 4×4 Challenge, and fans of the sport came out in their droves, despite the morning’s inclement weather, to support their favourite drivers or to simply witness the spectacle.
If anything, the rain added to the excitement, with the big, beefy along with the smaller buggy-type vehicles slip-sliding on what, for any ordinary car, would be an impassable terrain.
This year was the challenges 16th, and it has grown over the years and now has teams entering from five different provinces, with more than 30 vehicles and drivers taking part.
“We are very pleased with this year’s event,” said event organiser, Difford Keaton. “We had a great turnout and, by mid-morning, the rain had stopped and we could get on with business.”
For the drivers, this year’s courses were difficult but fair – provided you had the skill to mount the koppies and drive through the dongas without touching a course peg or rolling backwards. The answer to these situations is not always more power; sometimes a gentler touch is required.
But seeing the vehicles roar up the steep (sometimes almost vertical) slopes, or to rise from a two-metre pit with virtually no slope to drive up is what makes this challenge particularly good as a spectator sport. To hear the hums and ahs from onlookers shows the level of involvement the event stirs in its spectators.
Five provinces were represented with teams from the Eastern Cape 4×4 Challenge Club, South Western Districts, Cape Town, Border and North West all vying for top honours in their respective classes.
After the race Keaton was tired but happy that another event had come to a close without any casualties.
Top Truck: 1 Karel Spangenburg 960, 2 Bruce Swatlon 884, 3 Lucas Holtzhauzen 490;
Modifieds: 1 Marilise Spangenburg 796, 2 Antonie Swart 784, 3 Nigel Burmeister 635;
B Vehicles: 1 Shane Peach 504, 2 Aino Bester 432, 3Bertus Hanekom 414;
C1-Short: 1 Edward Colling 515 and 2 Koos le Grange 424;
C2-Lon:, Eddie Calling 371 and 2 Chappie Lindstrom;
D Section: 1 Bradley Schrieber 573, 2 Richard Poot, 3 Barry Gradwell.
“I would like to thank all the volunteers on the day, and especially the general public who always make this event a success,” said Keaton. “I would also like to thank the drivers and their support teams and families who travel here to take part in this specially event.
“I would also like to thank the sponsors for all their hard work. A big thanks to The Bathurst Co-Op, Olof’s Motor Spares, Wurth, Algoa Steel from Port Elizabeth, Midas in Port Alfred, Buco in Port Alfred, Wimpy/Debonairs/Fishaways, Dunlop Port Alfred, Kowie Toyota, Georgie for the toliets, Graham Williams for the TLB, I-Hire Port Alfed, MultiSecurity, Dell’s Earthmoving Equipment, KGA Life from Port Elizabeth, Frontier 4×4 Centre, LA Sport, PG Glass Grahamstown, Spur Port Alfred and Travcor VW.”