Story by Manny Ribeiro, Photography by RacePics.co.za
After all the weeks of talk, excitement and anticipation the day had eventually arrived for the Bridgestone Speed & Sound Tarlton Tar Gymkhana 2016. Arriving at 6am and expecting to find the venue dark and deserted but that was not the case, it was dark but not deserted cause the excitement was clearly too much for some of the competitors who had already arrived by 6am. Straight away we set up the 400 plus cone track, this takes time because it is most important to have a clearly marked track or else chaos will reign supreme. While the cones were being placed the 57 competitors lined up on the drag strip ready for scrutineering, MSA did all their checks and we were all happy to get the days’ event underway.
A quick drivers briefing and a prayer sent the drivers to their cars for a slow sighting lap of the course before lining up at the start. The cars looked spectacular with all makes, colour and sizes of cars imaginable. There was BMW, Nissan GTR, Mercedes, Mini, Ford, Lotus, Lamborghini, Toyota, VW, Audi, Subaru and Porsche all ready to attack and impress. All marshals, drivers and spectators were in position and the day had a green light.
The first couple of runs were slow and cautious due to the track being cold and dusty but this didn’t stop the guys and girls from pushing hard to get the best time possible. The format of the event is that you get 3 timed runs and all three count to an average overall time, so one bad run will affect your overall time at the end of the day. Hitting cones incur a two second penalty. The 57 guys and girls drove well and with every run got faster and braver every time.
With 12 classes represented on the day the results were as follows, Anthony Lessing beat out Sergio Jorge and Wallie du Toit in the BMW Class A forced induced class and Marco van der Schyff beat out Mark Jones and Anthony in the BMW Class B 1 & 2 series class which was made up of no less than 8 cars. BMW Class C was won by James Coetzer ahead of Bernard De Gouveia then Martinus Visser all in 335i’s. BMW M cars naturally aspirated was won by Joshua Liebenberg who pipped out Lorenzo and Rupert to all finished with in a second of each other. Chris Lubbe in his E90 330i took the BMW Class E trophy ahead of Colin van Son in his 80’s E23 745i and Paul Steyn in his E60 550i.
Once again as with previous years, Marius Knoesen blew away the competition in the Non-BMW Forced Induced class with an average time of 58.6761 in his Nissan GTR35, on his heels was Steven Coetzer also in a GTR followed by Theo Papadimitriou in his impressive Mercedes AMG A45. The non-BMW Naturally Aspired class was won by Pieter Zeelie in his very nimble Lotus Exige ahead of Anton Cronje in his beautiful Lamborghini Aventador then followed by Riel Steyn in his Toyota 86. The VW/Audi class was taken by Jacques Joubert in the RGM Golf R setting an average time of 61.4441 with Dwayne van Loggenberg and Julian Fameliaris following.
The Subaru brand was well represented as always in class S with 9 very fast and impressive Subaru’s, the top three were Chett Meyer, Wayne Hay and Carl van As setting average times of 60.9120, 62.0161 and 62.1057 respectively. Our Ladies class was won by Shantell van der Schyff (66.7220) beating out Monica van der Westhuizen (69.3936). The Porsche brand also made a great appearance with Willie de Beer in his 993 GT2 taking the class with a 61.4905 sec average to beat himself in a different car a Cayman S and Tony Collaro in his 911 Carrera S. Our race car class was won by Sav Gualtieri ahead of Manny Ribeiro both in a BMW E39 M5 V8 monster.
The top 3 and cars to beat were Marius Knoesen 58.6761 followed by Pieter Zeelie 60.3887 and then Chett Meyer 60.9120. A great day out with some fierce racing and great camaraderie.
Remember if we get 5 or more of a specific car at least a week before the event, we can create a separate category (e.g. Front wheel drive, other marques etc).
Our next chapter of this event will take place on the 11th September but will have a slight twist to surprise us all. Thank you to Bridgestone, Speed & Sound and BMW Car Club of Gauteng for hosting a great event and thank you to all competitors, families, friends and fans for joining us, see you all at the next one.