Bridgestone South Africa

National 4x4 Fundi Challenge winners

Nov 11, 2009

The Bridgestone South Africa 4x4 Fundi Challenge, introduced in 2006 as a club competition for standard production 4x4 vehicles, has proved so popular after going national in 2009 that it will once again be staged as a national event in 2010.

This year's adventure consisted of six legs in four provinces and in Swaziland and a final spread over two days in Gauteng.

The final combined, for the first time in a competition of this kind, a GPS test with night 4x4 driving and started from Bridgestone South Africa's headquarters in Isando at 20h00. The first car arrived at the venue for the second day's more traditional dirt driving at the African Outdoor Group's facility near Hartbeespoort Dam at 04h00 the following day, with the last vehicle in by around 07h00.

The 42 enthusiastic participants from six 4x4 clubs and some individual entries rated the event the best of its kind and will be pleased to know it will follow much the same format in 2010.

Winners of the 2009 Challenge, for the second year in succession, were Andre de Villiers, owner of Safari Centre, and his wife Yvonne in a Toyota Fortuner, who also won the opening round in February.

Second were Sakkie Coetzee and Marius Bonthuys of the Isuzu Off Road Club in a Frontier. They also won round four at Rhino Park in May. The Safari Centre 4x4 Club made it two on the podium with Kai and Bruni Vogel third in a Pajero. Johan Terblanche and Marlene Muller of the Isuzu Off Road Club, who won round three in Swaziland in April, were fourth in an Isuzu double cab ahead of the Gelandewagen Club's Johann and Henning Bisschoff in a Gelandewagen (winners of round five in the Free State in June) and Idmar Marx and Clinton Claassen in another Gelandewagen (winners of round two at AOG in March).

The Bridgestone 4x4 Fundi Challenge was born out of the establishment of the Bridgestone 4x4 Fundi programme in 2004, a unique initiative to train dealer sales staff in all aspects of 4x4 tyres and off road driving. The challenge brings together the dealerships that have received Fundi training with the 4x4 clubs and enthusiasts.

The 4x4 Fundi portfolio is managed by Johan Mostert, a committed off road driving enthusiast for many years who has considerable experience in off road driver training and the creation of off road tracks for promotions and competitions. He has been involved with the programme since its inception and created the 4X4 Fundi Challenge.

"The Challenge has grown beyond our wildest expectations," he said. "It has become so popular that competitors keep on wanting to enter as soon as they understand the concept, we just love to see their enthusiasm and gladly welcome all.

The Challenge final, which offers substantial prizes, is limited to 42 participants who qualify by either winning a round or by their combined scores from at least four rounds. The winners each received an Echo 3 off-road camping trailer (valued at R130 000 in total), the runners-up each won a Nuvi 500 GPS plus Safari Centre vouchers (valued at R10 000 in total) and the third-placed team went home with a pair of Cadac patio braais valued at R10 000.

"Prizes are presented in pairs as we believe the co-driver is as important as the driver," said Johan Mostert. "We also traditionally have fun prizes for 15th overall (Safari Centre vouchers) at each round as well as the last-placed competitors (walking sticks)."


Mostert is excited about the growth in popularity of the Challenge and sees it as acknowledgement of the success of Bridgestone's concept of providing 4x4 off road driving enthusiasts with a family-oriented activity in a safe and environmentally friendly environment.

"A key objective with 4x4 Fundi is to position Bridgestone South Africa as a responsible company that cares about the environment and treats it with respect," says Romano Daniels, GM of both group public relations and marketing. "That is why we have actively sought out like-minded companies (such as Suzuki SA and the African Outdoor Group) and organisations like the Association of All Wheel Drive Clubs of Southern Africa and the Four Wheel Drive Guide Association, and associated ourselves with safe and responsible off road driving.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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