Bridgestone BMWCCG Tarmac Rally Special Stage 2014
Story by Manny Ribeiro
Photography by Racepics.co.za
There has been a lot of chat and discussions of how much fun we have at Tarlton doing the gymkhana type events like we used to do in the old days. With Tarlton no longer running the SA Fastest Street Car Challenge, this left an opportunity for the BMW Car Club Gauteng to host an event that brings out the fastest of the zig zag guys and girls.
We needed something new, something longer and something that nobody was used to, and with the help of Brian Viljoen one of our club members we set out a new track. The track started off at the same spot as usual but then after turn two there was a nice long straight to the back of the Tarlton pits where very hard braking was needed for right handed turn three.
Turn four and five was a flowing “S” that led onto another short straight onto turn six a sharp left hander followed by an even sharper hairpin turn seven. The track now ran around the fuel store with two tricky right handers followed by a short straight to the final turn ten another right hander onto the long finish straight that included the 400m drag strip.
The track was set up early in the morning and by the time most competitors arrived all they saw was hundreds of cones all over the place and the panic could be seen on their faces. “This looks confusing” and “which way do we go” could be heard from the competitors as they walked the track trying to make sense of it. The track was set out with no less than 300 cones, thanks to the guys from the Subaru Owners Club and Porsche Club SA for loaning the extra cones which made the course very clear to follow once you were inside a car.
After a quick drivers briefing and the traditional blessing led by Sav Gualtieri, the drivers were given a chance to drive the course in single file to get a feel of the left and right mayhem they thought they saw in the morning. As they drove the track the looks on their faces went from confusion to joy and excitement, all of a sudden the track became a circuit of turns and straights waiting to be challenged.
The cars lined up along the fence of the return road at Tarlton, everyone took their places and we were good to go, and with the help of the BMWCCG committee who positioned themselves at the various points and took to their various tasks, the competitors were set off one at a time.
It was clear that everyone was taking their first runs easy and things were flowing great, guys and girls were getting faster and the cones were standing upright. Our first victim to out brake himself was Paul Munro in his Porsche 997 GT3 who over shot turn three and when he re-joined the course was lost and aborted his attempt. Leon Zaayman tried to drift his Nissan200 SX drift car around the course but he soon found out it was a little too narrow and tight for that kind of thing.
In Class A we had huge line up of force fed BMWs from E36 and E46 turbos to 135s, 235s and 335s to mention a few. Race ace, Sav Gualtieri took honours in his monster E36 328i Turbo with a average time of 64.04 seconds followed by Johan Dreyer in his brand new F30 335i who really drove consistently and precisely right till the end with a time of 67.45 seconds.
Mark Jones had to run to and from the timing tower, as he was doing the data capturing for us, to do his three runs but he kept focused and still finished with a time of 67.67 seconds in third place in a E90 335i. Places 4th to 7th were split by mere 1.6 seconds and the class also saw two very talented ladies Androniki Pouris and Lisa Harvey enjoying their force fed 125i and 135i cars respectively.
Class B was for the non M naturally aspirated BMW cars battling it out for top honours, gymkhana specialist Marco van der Schyff took top spot with a time of 67.23 seconds followed by Michal Kowalik and then Shantell van der Schyff all in E36 328’s. Chris Lubbe and Pieter Visser took 4th and 5threspectively both in E90s.
Ferhaad Ebrahim borrowed his wife’s car, a Z4 M Convertible, and he won the dedicated M Class ahead of Christo Welthagen in his E46 M3 who in turn finished ahead of Wayne Joelson in a beautiful E46 M3 CSL. A roaring and stunning looking E92 M3 of Zeyad Ismail took 4th with Copley Sutton in his E46 M3 taking 5th.
The sound of the mighty boxer motors made up Class D with the Subaru’s coming out to play. Chett Meyer only just beat Anton Wannenburg who also only just beat Carl van As, these three guys were split by only 0.2 seconds. Chett ran a 63.09, Anton ran a 63.13 and Carl ran a 63.24 sec, now that’s close racing! Paul Roebuck took 4th spot with a 69.47 sec followed by Leonel Fernandes then Joel Fernandes who had some GPS / direction problems in his one run when he went straight to turn 10 from the start line.
Class E was definitely one of the most watched classes with the likes of Marius Knoesen in his monstrous R35 Nissan winning the class with a lightning quick overall average time of just 59.94 seconds, ahead of Leon Loubser also in his R35 who came in at 64.07 seconds, who was in turn followed by our course guru, Brian Viljoen, in his Porsche 993 GT2 who ran a 65.90 time.
J R Hartman took 4th spot in the only front wheel drive car an “afFORDable” Ford Fiesta ST clocking in at a very impressive 69.10 seconds followed by our drift king Leon Zaayman with a time of 75.81 seconds.
Our final class was Class F, filled with great sounding and looking cars. Anton Cronje took top honours in a wow sounding Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 with a time of 62.40 seconds and Brian White in a Porsche GT3 taking 2nd with a time of 65.93 seconds. 3rd spot was filled by Paul Munro in his Porsche 997 GT3 who’s first run let him down and really hurt his average time of 69.87 sec. Pieter Zeelie also had his average time affected when a side shaft broke on his first run, they quickly replaced it and Pieter still managed to finish 4th ahead of his son Ryno Zeelie in a MR2 with a time of 73.69 sec.
With everyone doing their three runs the track was opened for 400m drags which were not compulsory but just for fun and this didn’t stop the competitors from gauging the cars and driver skills against each other. All competitors then gathered under the grandstands for prize giving for some great silverware sponsored by Speed & Sound Magazine.
We were requested to create a ladies class and as we have done in the past, provided there are 6 or more of the same, we will create a class like we did for the Subaru class on the day. So c’mon ladies, we need a few more to have a ladies class!
A great event and a great bunch of competitors that were disciplined not to drive over the cones but rather around the cones. A huge thank you to Bridgestone South Africa for sponsoring the awesome event and the BMW Car Club Gauteng for running the event. See you all at the next one.
All the pics on the day can be viewed and ordered on the racepics.co.za website below.