Bridgestone South Africa

Online forum hosts tough Bridgestone 4x4 Challenge

Jul 07, 2014

End of June saw round Five of the 2014 Bridgestone 4x4 Club Challenge hosted by the on-line 4x4 Community Forum (www.4x4community.co.za) at the tough Heidelberg 4x4 trail.

Isuzu Off-Road Club stalwart, Sakkie Coetzee, set a really tough course that had some marshals whispering the words "roll-over" even before the event got under way. With 40 teams saddled up to compete, the first two loops were a mountainous track followed by a downhill muddy loop, and seemed less daunting than expected.

But that was before they got to the final loop, with its three very tricky obstacles. The first was a descent, followed by an extremely awkward turn over a large hump, and a slippery climb up another axle twister. Vehicles without differential locks had a tough time if the crews did not use the correct line and gather sufficient momentum to scale that last climb. And as with all the events on the calendar, the route's edges were demarcated with white poles which cost valuable points when they were nudged by over-zealous competitors.

The second test in the final loop was a slippery climb, combined with another hump and a tight turn which saw even experienced crews flounder in vehicles not fitted with diff locks.

But Sakkie had left the toughest test for last: a seemingly simple climb up and over a heavily rutted ditch with rocks.

However, the ‘gates' through which the teams had to drive had been placed in all the places one wouldn't normally drive. Again, it was the vehicles without diff locks that struggled, but it is to the competitors' credit that all teams managed to make it through this section.

At the prizegiving, the Environmental Prize was presented first. The organisers had planted a ‘home-made' animal snare next to the track and it was the Jeep Wrangler father-and-son crew of Werner and Arno Schaap who discovered the snare, removed it, and handed it in to organisers, bagging the team a R2000 reward from Bridgestone.

In third position was defending Bridgestone Club Challenge champion, Danny Daniels, partnered in this event by Theuns Kortenhoeven in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. They scored a hard-won 920 points and won an Opposite Lock snatch-rope recovery kit.

In second place were Corne van der Merwe and Freddie Siebert, in a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, with 925 points, winning themselves a set of Opposite Lock spotlights.

But the top dogs were the Environmental Prize winners, Werner and Arno Schaap, who recorded an exceptional 950 points. This earned them a R10 000 tyre voucher from Bridgestone SA, and positioned them as early favourites for the Bridgestone 4x4 Club Challenge finals in November, where the winners will drive off with a Conqueror off-road trailer to the value of R50 000.

The next event on the 2014 Bridgestone 4x4 Club Challenge trail will be hosted by the McCarthy 4x4 Club at the Rhino Park complex east of Pretoria, on 26 July.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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