Bridgestone Wet Skidpan Gymkhana Competition: 6 September 2014
An afternoon on the pan
By Colin van Son
After a full house of close on 50 cars at our first Bridgestone Wet Skidpan Gymkhana for 2014 back in March, this ever popular and fun event proved no different with close on 45 cars. We tried a Saturday afternoon session this time around to try to accommodate those who work on Saturday mornings.
For those new to wet skidpan gymkhana’s, a track is laid out using cones and then participants race against the clock to complete the track in as short a time as possible – if you hit a cone, you get a 2 second penalty and if you make your own track (otherwise known as a wrong route), you get the slowest correct route time for that course. The skidpan is wet so the wear on tyres is absolutely negligible (if at all).
With the first course laid as soon as the morning session on the skidpan had finished, we got the runs underway at 13:00. As in the past, 3 different tracks are laid out during the course of the morning, with the skidpan split in half to make a mirror image of each track – so a left and a right track to give a total of six timed runs for each participant.
We started off with a pretty easy course that started with a 270 turn out toward the edge of the pan followed by a 90 degree turn up toward the top of the pan into a 3 cone slalom and a 360 degree turn, then back into the garage.
The second track was a slightly more challenging one which started with a 360 degree turn up to the top of the pan into another 3 cone slalom into a 180 degree U-turn, followed by another 180 degree U-turn in the opposite direction, into a 360 degree about turn and then back into the garage.
The third and final track was the most challenging and started with a 90 degree turn midway up the pan into a 180 degree U-turn into a 90 degree turn to the top of the pan into a wide arc along the outside of the pan and then into a 90 degree turn into two consecutive 180 degree turns, a 90 degree turn into a 360 degree pirouette followed by a dash back into the garage.
We had a great variety of vehicles in attendance with a number of different German marques and a good showing from the Subaru Owners Club South Africa (SOCSA) who are always entertaining to watch in the wet. The wet skidpan is always a great equaliser allowing a compact front wheel drive hatch to be competitive with some much more powerful machinery.
We managed to finish the runs at 17:00 and while we collated the results, the participants were allowed to practice the final track untimed. Prizegiving was held at 17:30.
The fastest BMW of the day was Marco van der Scyff in his E36 328i (average time of 34.75 seconds) followed by Anton Wannenburg in the same 328i (average time of 35.16) followed by Colin van Son in his classic 1985 E23 745i shod with brand new Bridgestone Potenza S001 tyres (average time of 35.50).
The fastest non-BMW of the day was an Infiniti SUV driven by Ricky Giannaccaro (average time of 39.20 seconds) followed by Brian Viljoen in a Porsche 930 Turbo (average time of 39.71) and Gianni Giannaccaro in a Mini Cooper S (average time of 39.74).
The fastest Subaru of the day was a WRX STi driven by Craig Watson (average time of 35.48 seconds) followed by Sean Pretorius in an STi (average time of 35.77) and Leonel Fernandes in a 2.5 GT (average time of 37.15).
The fastest lady of the day was Shantell van der Schyff in an E36 328i (average time of 35.66 seconds) followed by Androniki Pouris in an F20 125i (average time of 37.24) and Nadia Singh in a Subaru STi (average time of 38.34).
Look out for our next wet skidpan gymkhana will be Sunday 7 December 2014 run by BMW Driving Experience.