Bridgestone 4×4 Club Challenge 2014 Episode 10: Off-road Adventure Club
Size matters, they say. And at round 10 of the 2014 Bridgestone 4×4 Club Challenge, size most certainly was a factor as tiny 4x4s and big 4x4s did battle on 10 tough obstacles. Lining up for the start at the De Rust Outdoor facility was a Motley crew of four-wheel drive vehicles. From pint-sized Suzuki Jimnys to house-sized Toyota Land Cruiser 100s, and everything in between.
Hosted by the 4×4 Off-road Adventure Club the event also saw the biggest field of the year, with almost 40 teams champing at the bit to get some 4×4 action going. This year also saw a change of focus for the 4×4 Off-road Adventure Club, with founder Alan Goodway being renowned for his GPS-based challenges.
This year he decided to change things up some. And instead of GPS co-ordinates, the competitors were in for a few unexpected 4×4 surprises. And big and scary ones too!
Obstacle one kind of set the scene for the day – a 33 degree reverse climb up a slippery slope, and the teams had to touch a pole with their 4×4’s rear bumper at the top of that slope. To make matters ten times worse, there was a golf ball perched on top of that pole, so nudging it too hard will see the golf ball flying – and no points earned. To say that it was a fitting introduction to the day would be an understatement!
Obstacle two was more of the same kind of near-impossible. At least here the teams could drive up another steep and slippery incline with the vehicle’s noses pointed forwards. Again, they gently had to nudge a pole, so judging the momentum and grip and power or lack thereof was vital.
Next the teams had to complete a “blind driving” obstacle. Here the driver had to wear goggles that completely rendered him or her blind, and the co-driver had to direct the driver from the passenger seat with a “left!” or “no, the other left!” Much perspiration and bad words happened here.
At least the next test was a little bit easier. Just a little bit. The teams were supplied with a Ford Ranger 3.2TDCi 4×4, compliments of Action Ford in Krugersdorp, which was attached to a Conqueror off-road trailer. The teams had to drive this rig through a series of twists and turns, testing their towing skills some. At least the drivers could see where they were going!
From there the competition got a whole lot of tricky again, and the remaining six obstacles all shared one common thread: managing how many points are lost, and keeping that inevitable loss to a minimum. In the end all the teams safely negotiated the mud, ruts, side slopes and steep ascents and descents.
And here size did prove to matter, as the smaller and more nimble machines had a distinct advantage on some of the tight obstacles. However, organiser Alan Goodway had designed some of the obstacles especially with those nippy little Suzuki Jimnys in mind – and on these challenges the big machines reigned supreme. So although the little “Zooks” had their moments, they definitely did not have it all their own way on this 4×4 challenge.
The prize giving ceremony kicked off on an unusual note. The De Rust Outdoor venue had decided to forfeit their venue rental fee, so the 4×4 Off-road Adventure club, along with Action Ford and with the blessing of De Rust, donated R5 000 to The Vrede Foundation. This non-profit organisation aims to generate awareness about cancer amongst young people, and to also assist cancer patients who don’t have a medical aid.
As always, Bridgestone and Supa Quick’s Pink Valve Cap Project was also at hand at the event. For R50 teams could buy a set of pink valve caps, with all proceeds going towards the fight against breast cancer. So, on this day, cancer was dealt a heavy-handed, double blow by the 4×4 community.
To the results of the 4×4 driving competition we go. The environmental prize – a R2 000 voucher from Bridgestone South Africa – was won by Michael du Preez and Gareth Sieberhagen, driving a Ford Ranger 3.2TDCi 4×4. The Ford lads had impressed the marshals with their smooth and “as slow as possible, as fast as necessary” approach.
And in third place overall were John and Desire Fuller, in a Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen. The Fullers won a Mean Green recovery kit from co-sponsor Opposite Lock. Second place belonged to Freddie Siebert and Corne van der Merwe in a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and they won a set of Opposite Lock driving lights.
And winning the event overall were youngsters Armand Schaap and Werner Jansen van Vuuren, in another Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. The winning team won a R10 000 tyre voucher from Bridgestone South Africa.
More information: www.bridgestone.co.za