Story by Gerhard Botha and Manny Ribeiro. Photography by RacePics.co.za
11 September - a day that many American’s can remember when the terror attacks struck the USA.
This is the day that the BMW Car Club Gauteng remember as a day of change in direction.
Sunrise the morning of 11 September posed a new challenge to the committee of the BMW Car Club Gauteng.
With the help of the Subaru Owners Club South Africa and Porsche Club South Africa Central hundreds of traffic cones were made available and laid out for the 2nd Bridgestone, Speed & Sound Tarlton Tar Gymkhana. Not only was this a challenge on its own, but a challenge as we changed the direction of this legendary Gymkhana track. This event starts off facing the wrong way at the drag strip start line into a tarmac Gymkhana that leads into a flying 400m dash down the same drag strip lane to the 400m mark to complete the run.
The track stayed basically the same except for the 2nd corner of the old track became the 2nd last corner of the new track. We had to think of how to slow down the monster machines competing for top honours in this specific corner. We decided to shorten this corner to provide a safe run off should this go south.
This posed a new challenge to the vehicles with a turning circle disability. The Club decided again to open this event to all makes of vehicles and had a fantastic turnout of enthusiasts from all over the motoring range. From a historic Porsche from Kobus Brits to an ultramodern BMW M6 of Wayne Engelbrecht were some of the increible cars present on the day.
The day kicked off with rather confused drivers as the “Twist” was only revealed at drivers briefing. This being that the track would be run in the opposite direction.
At the start the times were average as the track was dusty and new to the drivers. The challenge became a reality in the second run as the times tumbled for some competitors now well below the target 60 second mark.
The times however cannot be directly compared to the normal direction as the track dynamics changed completely from start to finish. Points system awarder as follows. Both times are recorded for the Gymkhana and 400m separately at first and combined to give a total time. Points were deducted for cones hit and added to the total time. The three runs allowed were averaged to compile the final times. Best times for the day were recorded.
Of the 60 entrants we had on the day Class A was won by Chris Nathaniel in his F10 M5 and followed by Dean Coetzee in a similar vehicle. Third was then taken by Wayne Engelbrecht in a F12 M6.
Class B was made up by E82 135’s and won by Marco followed by his sister Chantelle van der Schyff and then third was Michael Mateus.
Class C Honours was taken by Bernard de Gouveia follow by Marthinus Visser second and Zahir Seedat in third position.
Class D were all M cars naturally aspirated with father and son duo Sav and Lorenzo Gualtieri taken first and third respectively, they were split by Joshua Liebenberg in a Z4 M Coupe.
Zeyad Ismail in his E36 328i drove impeccably to beat out Theo Papadimitriou in his E46 M3 Supercharged and Nazir Loonat in his E30 325iS Turbo took third in Class E.
Chairman Colin and Brother Ryan van Son brought their newly acquired Race Car to the fight and got top Honours in Class G.
In Class I non-BMW front wheel drive Turbo Class was won by Riaan Estherhuizen in his beautifully turned out Honda Civic Turbo, followed by Gary Coetzer in his Mini John Cooper Works who beat out Wesley Greeff in his VW Scirocco R.
Our Naturaly aspirated Class included the highlight of the day Pieter Zeelie in his Lotus Exige who totally blew the competition away with his average time of 58.482 sec. Pieter also had the fastest run of the day with a 57.19 sec. In the same Class was Martin Jessen in his Chrysler C300 SRT8 who took second.
Our next Class that was won by Mark Jones who had the difficult task of running to and from the timing tower to capture the times from each and every competitor. Mark finished ahead of Christopher Peers, Pierluigi Muzzulini and Ricky Giannoccaro all in Mercedes Benz AMG’s.
Jozo Bosjnak won the Audi VW Class with a time of 61.45 sec in his Audi TT ahead of Michael Flunger followed by Dominic Dias both in Golf 7 R’s.
Our Nissan GTR35 Class was won by Steven Coetzer in the awesome Mean Wraps car with a super impressive time of 59.239 sec. He was followed by Dhiren Ganasen and Bengt Stenberg second and third respectively.
As usual the Porsche brand was well represented on the day with four Classes in total.
Porsche A Class was the closest contested class with the first four being split by 1.3 sec. Calvin Dias came in first with 59.695 sec followed by his dad Louis Dias with 60.395 sec, third was Willie de Beer with 60.527 sec, and Paul Munro in fourth with 60.994 sec.
The remainder of the Porsche classes were won by Rudi Schuhardt and followed by Dave Woest for Class PB.
Class PC was lead out by Kobus Brits who beat out Eugene Dittberner.
One of our lady drivers Maria van der Schyf took the PD Class in her Porsche Boxter.
Our final Class for the day made up of Japanese AWD drive cars and was won by Farhaad Ebrahim in his Evo 9, second was Eziel Estherhuizen in his WRX STi. Third and fourth was taken by husband and wife team of Graeme and Simone Steyn both in a Evo 10.
Fasted speed for the day was recorded by Willie De Beer with a 231.87 Km/h in his Porsche 993 Turbo monster.
Prize giving was well attended with the introduction of new fun trophies. This included trophies for cone sweeper of the day, fastest Lady, hard luck trophy, wrong route of the day to mention just a few.
All in all, it was a very successful day and the new circuit was well accepted by all.
A special thank you goes to all competitors, their cars, family and friends, BMW Car Club Gauteng committee, MSA Officials, Medics, Tarlton International Raceway and last but not least all the spectators that were present. Overall this stays one of the Club’s most popular events and was a great success! Thanks to all particlarly our key sponsor Bridgestone and Speed & Sound.