Bridgestone South Africa

Sun and Nerves for Bridgestone Off-Roaders

Nov 06, 2015

Round Nine of Bridgestone's 2015 4x4 Club Challenge was an event that won't be forgotten quickly. This is according to Bridgestone's Guthrie Blaine, who said that the event, held at the daunting Moegatle 4x4 trail near Brits on 31 October, presented every challenge imaginable.

"With 31 teams tackling ten tough obstacles near the end of the season, nerves were already frayed," Guthrie commented. "But to do it in heatwave conditions with temperatures near 40 degrees Celsius took real grit!"

The Moegatle trail is regarded as a 'specialist' track which normally suits highly modified 4x4 vehicles, so the organisers were hard-pressed to create a course for the near-standard vehicles used by competitors. But with the route mapped out, the white poles - which result in a penalty if touched – were moved virtually onto the ideal line through each obstacle. The result was a challenging 4x4 test which still left the result up for grabs.

The calibre of the route was reflected in the lower-than usual scores. The long-wheelbase class was won by former champion Danny Daniels and co-driver Rob Wallace in a Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD. Their final score was 845 points out of 1000.

"We made a few silly mistakes on some of the obstacles, and had to reverse twice to make it up some climbs," said Daniels. "Thankfully the other guys also made mistakes - I just made a few less! It was a really tough day; just getting to some of the obstacles was a challenge in itself," he commented.

In the short-wheelbase class, overall points leaders Danie and son Daniel Tait ruled the roost again in their pristine Suzuki SJ413. Their points haul of 905 was an outstanding effort given the route and conditions. Tait commented that the track looked easy at first glance, but there were many places where the unwary could be caught out.

"There were a couple of ditches that were so deep, you'd need a torch to find your way out of them," he joked. "There was no time to relax on this track. But that's how I like it. Even the sections between the obstacles were fun to drive," he added. "The route included a new trail at Moegatle, which was also great to drive. All in all we had a great day out 4x4-ing with the family."

The final round of the 2015 Bridgestone Club Challenge will take place on 21 November, and will be based at the Four-wheel Drive Club of South Africa's Base 4 facility near Hartbeespoort Dam.

The championship is set to go down to the wire at the final in which the 30 teams left from the 60 that started the season will do battle for top honours. Bridgestone's Blaine said it would be a fitting end to what has been a really tough year.

"We have devised a suitably challenging finale," he said. "The teams will have to keep their wits about them if they want to do well there. So far the small Suzukis are leading the overall points race, with Danie Tait and his SJ413 the man to beat. But it's never over until it's over," he concluded.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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