Story by Dylan Martin, Photography by RacePics.co.za
Today was judgement day where we finally got to put our cars on the Zwartkops skidpan at the Bridgestone BMW Car Club Skidpan Gymkhana day, not just BMWs but all brands of cars! As it was my very first time I did not know what to expect. It was all so new for all the first timers yet they enjoyed it to the sweet end. There were so many different cars, mainly BMWs plus some Toyota’s, Mini’s, Audi’s and so much more, all either standard, slightly modified or completely redone. We had first timers there and regulars with no fear shredding up the course, although extremely wet they still managed to control the cars and make it look so easy.
The sprinklers helped to keep the track wet after the guys had their fun, splashing water everywhere as they had shredded through the track. Altogether it was a very fun filled day, many long drifts, tight hairpin bends 180 degree and 270 degree bends, putting all cars to the test, be it rear-wheel-drive, front-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive, naturally aspirated or forced induction. We spoke to a couple of the first time drivers and some said it was a bit scary at first but they had fun and got to know their cars, whilst others were so excited and fearless it had looked like they had been doing it for years.
I spoke to the Club Chairman and he previously had the tried and tested 3 courses (with a mirror layout to give a total of 6 courses) down pat and even had marked the exact co-ordinates with his GPS on the skidpan to replicate the layout. However, the Club Secretary had other ideas and decided to enlist the help of Anton Wannenburg to design 3 new courses. And they did a great job!
The first course starts with a 360 degree turn into three 180 degree turns followed by a last 360 degree turn to slow you down before parking in the “garage”. If you overshoot the “garage” into the “kitchen” you get a two second penalty and if you stop short in the “carport” the clock only stops ticking once you stop in the “garage”.
The second course was a bit like part of a flower layout – you do a 180 degree turn to trace the petal then back to the centre of the flower, before repeating the procedure another two times before a final 360 degree turn and parking in the “garage”.
The last course started with a 360 degree turn then into a wide loop on the outside of the skidpan before a 180 degree handbrake turn into a 270 degree turn then another 180 degree U-turn into a slalom and back into the “garage”.
With some very interesting cars and drivers at the skidpan, there were some very impressively executed manoeuvres and some super close calls to the cones all making for great spectator viewing. This jam packed adrenaline event is definitely recommended for all drivers to have fun and we urge all drivers to get to know their cars in the wet and so they can have some fun.
There was some time left after the event while the organisers captured and collated the results. This allowed us to keep the last course layout and have some untimed fun on the skidpan to try refine our skills without pressure from other drivers, which was just a ball of fun! A special thank you to Bridgestone for their sponsorship and amazing tyres. Looking forward to seeing you at the next skidpan gymkhana event.