Bridgestone South Africa

Mercedes Benz in the Wild!

Mar 27, 2013

If you have a bunch of Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagens competing against each other, no ordinary 4x4 track will be, well, quite tough enough.

These German machines are designed to handle the worst of conditions, and for a "G" to reach its limits you really have to push the 4x4 envelope.

And that"™s exactly what the organisers of round two of the Bridgestone 4x4 Club Challenge had done. Drivers of lesser 4x4s would probably describe this test as a bit of a horror trail.

There were rocks and dongas, steep uphills and downhills - and plenty of extreme wheel articulation tests. With 21 Mercedes 4x4s starting the event - 20 Gelandewagens and one very brave ML500 - the action waited around the very first corner.

First reigning Bridgestone champion Johann Marx got stuck on a rock. Then regular Bridgestone Fundi frontrunner John Fuller"™s V8 Gelandewagen got hung up on another obstacle. It was going to be one of those days!

Once the vehicles were recovered, the action continued unabated as Gelandewagen after Gelandewagen made its way through the tough track, with a few needing recovery from the rock that had also caught out Johann Marx.

Amazingly, there were even two AMG G-wagons that competed - one was virtually brand new, and the owner had taken delivery of his R1,5-million vehicle not long before the event.

The brave prize of the day though, must go to the crew of a stock-standard Mercedes ML500. Despite the option of escape routes at all the really bad obstacles, the crew pressed on through the tough stuff. And amazingly, they went everywhere the G-wagons went! Although the ML had to rely on Mercedes"™ 4ETS traction control system to keep going as soon as wheels lost contact with terra firma, it continued onwards and forwards.

In the end it was the Bridgestone Fundi regulars from years gone past that finished on top. Although reigning champ Johann Marx had a less than ideal day behind the wheel, his son Idmar won the event in his G-wagon, bagging a R10 000 voucher for Bridgestone tyres in the process.

Second place belonged to former Bridgestone Fundi champion Marco Marincowitz, who won a set of Light Force spotlights from Opposite Lock, worth R4000. Third place belonged to Braam Hoffman, who won a hand winch, sponsored by Opposite Lock.

The Bridgestone 4x4 Club Challenge - a new game!

The Bridgestone 4x4 Fundi Challenge is no more. And in its place is the Bridgestone 4x4 Club Challenge, a format that sees 10 prominent 4x4 clubs host special "in-club" events during the course of 2013. The top three performers from each club challenge will then battle for overall top honours (and a R50000 Conqueror trailer) in November.

The next event on the calendar is the Nissan 4x4 Club"™s challenge on 6 April 2013.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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