2016 Bridgestone Club Challenge- a new dawn
Good, clean family fun. With a twist of mud. And maybe a little bit of 4x4 sweat and gears for good measure. That is the essence of the 2016 Bridgestone 4x4 Club Challenge, this year sporting a new focus on standard or near-standard 4x4s.
This year the competition again kicks off with four qualifying rounds. Based at the McCarthy 4x4 Club’s venue at the Rhino Park complex, east of Pretoria, 4x4 club members can enter and tackle the 10-obstacle trail. The 60 teams with the top scores (limited in numbers to respective clubs) then advance to the following rounds.
The four “Eliminator rounds” will be held at four different 4x4 trails, all within about three hours driving distance of Johannesburg. The events will also feature an actual 4x4 trail, with 10 obstacles along that trail, instead of just 10 obstacles. The idea is that it’s a family fun event, and not just a mine-is-tougher-than-yours obstacle fest.
“The Challenge has always been very popual,” says Bridgestone South Africa’s Guthrie Blaine. “More recently though, we’ve had to create ever more challenging 4x4 tracks to test the modified 4x4s with their aftermarket lockers and other tricks. This proved great for the contestants in the modified 4x4s, but obviously was less appealing to the teams who have to complete the track in their virtually standard family 4x4 that is also a daily runner.”
So for 2016 Bridgestone decided to return to the long-running competition’s roots, and focus primarily on standard vehicles. And also to differentiate between the long and short-wheel base classes. So there are now four classes:
In standard trim the teams are allowed to fit aftermarket suspensions (with a maximum 50mm lift), accessories such as bull bars and replacement rear bumpers and the tyres of their choice. Any vehicle fitted with an aftermarket traction aid such as a differential lock (and that is not standard on the vehicle), is now classified as a non-standard vehicle.
“The enthusiasts in their non-standard vehicles are still more than welcome to come and compete in the qualifying rounds, but moving on in the competition we will focus our attention on the standard class. Ditto with prizes in the qualifying rounds,” explains Blaine.
The new rules and shift in focus have already paid dividends as the majority of teams that have lined up for the competition, are newcomers.
“This is a great trend for us,” says Blaine. “Catering for the same 50 or so teams year after year is fun, but seeing all the new faces and vehicles, that’s really a great bonus for us. Introducing new people to the sport is our ultimate target, after all.”
The competition is co-sponsored by Opposite Lock and its affiliates, and as always there are great prizes up for grabs. The Challenge will also be broadcast as an eight-part television series on DStv’s Ignition channel, towards the end of the year.
More information: Guthrie Blaine – Tel. 082 809-8223 – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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