Story by Rupert Giessing, Photography by RacePics.co.za
Our second and last BMW Car Club Gauteng xDrive Day for 2016 was held on Sunday the 13th of November 2016, proudly sponsored by Bridgestone and Club Motors Randburg.
We made use of the ADA (African Dream Adventures) Training & Outdoor Centre situated in the Cradle of Humankind, it’s 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 warm and sunny Sunday morning, we were greeted with tea, coffee and muffins. A quick introduction and briefing was held explaining the proceedings of the day. The group was then split into two with the one group first doing the 4x4 off road 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 one of the fantastic X-drive vehicles supplied by Club Motors Randburg. The emphasis on the off-road driving course is to be smooth, to provide as little driver input as possible and to let the vehicle do the work for you. The dirt skidpan was a fun timed gymkhana in the X1 xDrive20d.
The off-road course demonstrated the impressive off-road capabilities of the BMW xDrive vehicles, surprising most drivers with what these vehicles can actually do, proving that they are certainly not just “soft-roaders” that can only climb kerbs in Sandton. Participants even got to experience serious Axle Twisters where one or two wheels are in the air and all you need to do is to gently accelerate to move forward, the xDrive system does the rest! Participants also got to experience HDC (Hill Descent Control), which allows for a smooth and controlled descent down rough and very steep terrain without the driver needing to touch the brake pedal (i.e. let go your feet just not your hands).
The skidpan course always brings out the inner Stig in participants, especially when the stopwatch comes out! It was quite a tight and challenging course 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 the emphasis again on being as smooth as possible with driver inputs. The first run is a practice run followed by a timed run. Nervous drivers initially getting into the car to do their skidpan runs soon turn into massive smiles and in some case “sideways” drifting action, as the X1 is thrown around the course in an effort to stop the clock as quickly as possible. 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 (yes, even on the dirt!) taking place showing just how much Bridgestone tyres actually grip even on slippery surfaces.
The fastest Club Motors Randburg customer was John de Jesus, with an impressive time of 30.6 seconds. Eric Feben followed close behind with a time of 30.8 seconds and Attie Nel snapping at his heels with a time of 30.9 seconds.
The fastest BMW Car Club Gauteng club member was Tony Liu with a time of 31.0 seconds followed by Nico Eksteen and Suren Naicker both stopping the clock at 31.5 seconds.
Fastest lady driver of the day was Belinda Bekker with a time of 31.6 seconds. We also had a prize for most cautious (i.e., slowest) driver of the day, which went to Lorraine Swart, who stopped the clock in 36.8 seconds.
We would again like to thank our sponsors Bridgestone and Club Motors Randburg, without whom this great day would not have been possible.