Story by Colin van Son, Photography by Racepics.co.za
Our second BMW Car Club xDrive Day for 2015 was held on Sunday the 8th of November 2015, proudly sponsored by Bridgestone and Menlyn Auto BMW.
We made use of the ADA facility next to Leeuwenkloof, which is very close to Hartebeespoort dam and offers over 1,000 hectares of the best that nature has to offer including many off-road challenges and interesting topography such as caves.
Upon arrival at the venue on Sunday morning, we were greeted with tea, coffee and muffins. A quick introduction and briefing was held explaining the proceedings of the day with an emphasis on the key to the off-road course being “as slow as possible and as fast as necessary”. The group was then split into two with the one group first doing the 4x4 offroad course and the other group having fun on the timed dirt skidpan. The off-road course was either done in your own X vehicle or else you got to experience a new X3, X4, X5 or X6 that was provided by Menlyn Auto BMW. The dirt skidpan was a fun timed gymkhana in the all-new BMW X1.
The off-road course demonstrated the impressive off-road capabilities of these BMW xDrive vehicles, which have certainly proved that they are not “soft-roaders”. Participants got to experience the depth of off-road capabilities these xDrive vehicles have to offer including Axle Twisters where one or two wheels are in the air and all you need to do it accelerate to move forward, the xDrive system does the rest! Participants also got to experience HDC (Hill Descent Control), which controls the vehicle’s speed on a steep downhill without having to touch the brake pedal and the speed desired can be set via the cruise control stalk. All each driver had to do was steer (i.e. let go your feet just not your hands!).
The skidpan course was quite a challenging one with three zig-zag slaloms, followed by a U-turn, back through the same three slaloms, a sharp right into an emergency lane change, followed by a 360 degree loop before stopping in the “garage” (and sometimes overshooting the garage and stopping in the kitchen!). Each person got to drive the same vehicle to help level the playing field with their choice of traction control on or off. First a practice run then the timed run – massive smiles and excitement and an incredible amount of dust ensured as the participants raced around and sometime even over the cones in effort to stop the clock as quickly as they could. If you hit a cone you got a 2 second penalty and if you overshot the garage and parked in the kitchen, you also got a 2 second penalty. The grip of the BMW X1 which was shod with Bridgestone Potenza S001 was very impressive with much tyre squealing taking place showing just how much Bridgestone tyres actually grip even on slippery surfaces.
The fastest Menlyn Auto BMW customer was Michelle van Wyk, who ironically was a bit apprehensive to try the skidpan and then threw caution to the wind with a time of 32.36 seconds. Waldemar Bodenstein followed close behind with a time of 33.09 seconds and Phorster Sambo took 3rdplace with a best time of 33.41.
The fastest BMW Car Club Gauteng club member was Luis Malhou with a lightning fast time of 30.63 seconds closely followed by Bernard de Gouveia stopping the clock at 31.66 seconds. Chris Theron clinched third place with a time of 31.71 seconds.
We even had a ladies class on the day with First place taken by Chinell Dejenga with a time of 31.97 seconds. Phillipa Leo was second with 32.12 seconds and Betty Maseko from Menlyn Auto BMW took third place with a 34.50 seconds.
We had two prizes for the slowest lady and gent of the day which went to Naomi Rachidi and Phillip Steyn respectively.
We would again like to thank our sponsors Bridgestone and Menlyn Auto BMW, without whom this great day would not have been possible.