Brent Oil is well known to all who require motion lotion, but if you follow the Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Series you will be wise to note the name Brent Laurings as he may well be the name found in first place.
Driving the gymkhana of their careers Brent Laurings and Duncan Andrews finally delivered the performance everyone knew they were capable off in their 1984 class A winning Opel Kadett GTE 2.0. The almost innocent looking Opel finally proving that consistent 22 inch hairpins (size of the truck tyres around which they had to turn) does save time and what a pleasure to watch a team totally in the groove!
Starting the fourth and final run they were third overall (only 0.3 seconds between the top three), but it was Jacques du Plessis and Danye Louw that impressed with the fastest time to move into the lead with their Du Plessis Auto class C winning Toyota Conquest RSi 1600.
Günther and Louise Appelgryn led overall after three runs but their final attempt proved too cautious and they were relegated to third overall in the always immaculate Eikestad Plastic Repairs class B winning VW Golf MkI 1800. Brent and Duncan driving the Opel with incredible control and precision to record their second overall gymkhana victory in front of an appreciative audience.
Sasol Racing S2000 rally ace, Jon Williams, joined the commentary team on the Sprite Sound Truck and endeared himself to local motorsport supporters by autographing Sasol Rally posters and handing out Ken Block – DC Shoes memorabilia. Multiple SA Powerboat pilot, Peter Lindenberg, and other motorsport personalities such as Hein Burnett, John Peiser and Paul van Wyk just a few noted amongst the crowd. It was also welcome back to John McLinden and Pieter Steyn.
Though this event reflected the smallest total of scoring entries in the thirteen year history of the Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana Series there certainly was an air of optimism present as many combinations were in the process of preparing their cars when date changes destabilised planning at all levels. The only real disappointment on the day was the late withdrawal of Nashrené Schloss when electrical gremlins in her Toyota Corolla Sprinter 180i could not be sorted before the start.
Most encouragingly the presence of two Coathangers added spice to proceedings. Anton Wannenburg was present to debut his brand new supercharged class G Monster / DC Shoes (baby Block) Ford Fiesta 1600 and this car certainly represented the most high spec entry ever in the series. Arriving with a niggling misfire saw some frustrated frowns appearing but the team remained optimistic with an almost WRC style support convoy.
André Hartman is an interesting individual as he arrives as himself, then becomes Mr H once those five starting lights are triggered and once relaxed his creative alter ego, Pack Jarow, provides the most entertaining insights into proceedings. His exquisite class E BMW Z4M Coupé had grown men dribbling on the paint long before he even started the engine.
The weather added it’s twist to the proceedings as a brief burst of rain had everyone second guessing their set-up, tyre pressures and approach to what traditionally have proven to be a challenging surface where attack meant absolute control over traction. Thanks to a limited entry a practice run was proposed and accepted and this left everyone with more questions than answers.
Triple champion driver, Izak van Zyl Jnr, and Danye Louw simply could not find the balance between power and traction and though they tried every conceivable tyre combination on the Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi Turbo 2.0 they continued to slip down the leader board despite their ideal starting position. Their eventual 8th overall and 2nd place in class was truly mystifying.
Fanie du Toit and Morné Roux fared marginally better in the normally dominant class A Mazda Rustler LDV 2.0 16v by making it home fourth overall. Realising that the yellow Opel was taking everyone to the cleaners on the hairpins Morné was tasked to operate the handbrake and this led to a few tyre jumps and an almost permanently locked handbrake – and slow times! Scrutineers can expect an hydraulic handbrake from the next event!
Slowly but surely Anton Wannenburg and Tania Vermaak found themselves adapting to the “new” Monster / DC Ford Fiesta and were well pleased to finish their debut event in a fighting fifth overall and first in class. Certainly enough reason to believe that this car will be back to challenge for overall honours in the near future.
As always the pesky little Race-Tech class D VW Golf MkI Chico 1.4i of Björn Venter and Jan van der Vyver turned in some impressive times and when the rain came down they looked like potential winners overall. Sixth overall certainly enough reason to celebrate.
Jean-Pierre Robberts and Fanie du Toit were forced to join forces in the black class A Opel Kadett GSi 2.0 16v and seventh overall had JP grinning from ear to ear as he had made serious progress during the day. Continuously experimenting with tyre pressures and with Fanie on the handbrake they truly found a rhythm that will see Jean-Pierre potentially improve even more.
Trading sides Jan van der Vyver and Björn Venter also lost some time with entertaining tyre jumps and ninth overall could well have been improved upon. The Race-Tech class D VW Golf Chico 1.4i always a factor when conditions are tricky.
The ever consistent Morné Roux had brother-in-law, Nic Oosthuizen, as debutant navigator in the blue Venusion class A VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 and they were well pleased with tenth place overall. Anton Smit and Gavin Parsons unchallenged in class F and the nippy Innovative Woodwork Nissan-Toyota LDV 1600 impressive in eleventh place overall.
Johann Zulch and Tania Vermaak really had to dig deep in their Ceres Toyota class E E30 BMW 325iM to finish a very respectable twelfth overall. Big and heavy the Beemer required some disciplined driving to post competitive times. Maybe the presence of that blue Z4M was all they required!
Danye Louw and Jacques du Plessis very consistent in their HH Wellington class C Toyota Corolla RSi 1600, smoking the front tyres enroute to 13th spot overall. Jolanda van Zyl and Jacolien Hough surprised even themselves with 14th spot overall. Winning the ladies category in the Dynotech VW Golf MkII GTi Turbo 2.0 the first objective, but beating both her father and father-in-law overall was really satisfying!
Izak van Zyl Snr and Dewald van der Merwe had to accept defeat in 15th overall with the same Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi 2.0 Turbo. Not even the fact that Izak Snr had beaten Dewald could ease the burden of losing to your daughter-in-law!
Warren Ambler and Gary Meyer sixteenth on their debut in the ex-Jehan de Jongh class C Pest Control VW Golf MkI 1600. Dewald van der Merwe and Izak van Zyl Snr seventeenth in that hard working Dynotech class G VW Golf MkII GTi Turbo 2.0.
Eighteenth overall but voted the Most Spectacular Driver of the Day had the second Coathanger, André Hartman, and Tania Vermaak in high spirits as their class E BMW Z4M Coupé certainly became the crowd favourite with controlled powerslides and blood curling sound. Impressive would fail to describe this car on route.
Deon and Maralize Conradie found their Flat Four Racing class E 2.3 Buggy something of a handful on the tricky surface but posted consistent times enroute to 19th overall. Kobus and Lizelle Smit 20th overall in their KS Panelbeaters Strand class E BMW 325iM with Gary Meyer and warren Ambler 21st in the Pest Control class C VW Golf MkI 1600. Did we mention that Gary was beaten in his own car or that his car could rev 500rpm higher in the hands of Warren?
Making a welcome return to driving was Liezel Oosthuizen neé Roux and she had Louise Appelgryn pointing the way to 22nd place in the silver Venusion Toyota Yaris 1.3. Lizelle Smit and Jacolien Hough 23rd in their KS Panelbeaters Strand Hyundai 1.3.
The 24th and final scoring entry was the very impressive Lexus V8 powered Audi Coupé of Ewald Spies and Fanie du Toit. Though this car made it’s competitive debut at Vredendal many years ago this was the first outing for the new owner and though they clearly enjoyed the day there is much to learn about the car.
The single seater class was won by Brent Laurings in his Opel Kadett GTE 2.0 with Günther Appelgryn second in his VW Golf MkI 1800 and Jacques du Plessis third in his Du Plessis Auto Toyota Conquest RSi 1600. Izak van Zyl Jnr a somewhat subdued fourth in his Dynotech VW Golf MkII GTi Turbo 2.0 and the always spectacular Danye Louw fifth in his H&H Wellington Toyota Corolla RSi 1600.
The impressive Sprite Events truck served as Gymkhana HQ and as always the Jayen Timer was in the safe hands of André Mitchell with Monique Ramshaw behind the computer. Dewald and Meghan Nortjé as always the Start and Finish Controls. Michael Ramshaw and Schalk van der Merwe scrutineered the field before settling in as the Judges of Fact and Pit Bull, André Brinkman, as always retaining number order. Marius Bester also back behind the microphone after serious back surgery.
Pierre van der Westhuizen the Clerk of the Course and Safety Officer whilst Howard Daniëls served as the MSA Steward and Environmental Officer. Amazingly the only person with a 100% attendance record at the 80th Witzenberg Motorklub Gymkhana was the Event Secretary, Anette Vermaak. Also encouraging was the presence of many familiar faces such as John McLinden and Pieter Steyn.
Do not miss the 6th Lions Vredendal Gymkhana on Saturday 15 September 2012!