Bridgestone South Africa

Former Champs Top-Score on Bridgestone 4x4 Qualifier

Mar 11, 2016
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Round three of the 2016 Bridgestone 4x4 Club Challenge, held last weekend at the Rhino Park complex east of Pretoria, saw the screws start to turn on competitors hoping for a ticket to the main competition which begins after the fourth and final qualifying round. With some of the ten obstacles now showing wear and tear from the first two rounds, the almost 40 teams who arrived on the day were in for a torrid time.

A brief holdup at obstacle five, involving a Land Cruiser which had become stranded on a large rock, laid bare the rivalries between owners of various vehicle types. With the Cruiser pilots twitching at the potential indignity of being towed back onto the track by the Chief Marshall's Land Rover, extra manpower was enlisted, and the stricken Toyota eventually got going under its own steam.

On the McCarthy 4x4 Club"™s academic track which hosted the final three obstacles, it was the worse-for-wear obstacle eight which presented the greatest challenge. It would be an expert's job to conquer it, and former Bridgestone 4x4 Club Challenge champions, Marco and Joe Marincowitz, in a Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen, took the laurels here. The team scored 65 points on the supposedly "impossible" obstacle, but it was the team"™s overall performance which really set tongues wagging: they scored a total of 940 points for the day, the most points any team has scored on this track to date. The Mercedes-Benz team won this round overall with their score, and bagged a R10 000 tyre voucher from Bridgestone South Africa.

"It was a tough track, but it suited the Gelandewagen," said Marco Marincowitz. "The Mercedes, and possibly a shorty Jeep Wrangler Rubicon are the only 4x4s that can give the Suzuki Jimnys a run for their money. And today we certainly got the better of them."

Second place overall was another turn-up for the books. First-time competitors Andre Strydom and Bernie Putter in a Jeep Cherokee competed in the long-wheel base standard class, recording a creditable 785 points. The team won an MRO LED light bar, courtesy of Opposite Lock.

The third podium step went to the Isuzu Off-Road Club"™s Johan Terblanche, driving an Isuzu KB. And this despite completing the obstacles without his usual co-driver, wife Marlene. The couple's young son took ill while the family was driving to the event, and Terblanche was forced to turn round and head back home.

"I almost cancelled my entry, but then I decided to just have fun and enjoy a day on a 4x4 track," said Terblanche. And what a day it turned out to be, as he single-handedly ended on 775 points, just ten short of the second-placed crew, and winning himself an adjustable shovel courtesy of Opposite Lock.

The final qualifying round takes place on 12 March, again at the Rhino Park complex, east of Pretoria, using the same 10 obstacles.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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