We were expecting a packed day at this year’s first skidpan event at Zwartkops with 55 entries, 5 over the limit. Crowds started arriving as early as 6:30am and the groundsman prepared the skidpan and the sprinklers from 5am, so everyone was eager to get going.
There were 3 unique tracks that were set up on the day with the skidpan divided into 2 to create a mirror image of each track. This allowed 2 cars to go on the skidpan at the same time and create a race feel. Track 1 was set up by 7:30 and it started from a “garage” of 4 cones at the entrance of the skidpan, straight into an anti-clockwise 360 around the first cones, wide around a side cone, around the cone on the farside, Slalom around the cones back around the 360 cones clockwise this time and back into the garage. There was a 2 Second penalty for knocking over a cone, disqualification for a wrong route. We did have some wrong routes which were longer than the one set out, for this, there was no penalty.
We had our driver briefing by 7:45am and it was clear that we had a big field with some cars sporting 2 drivers. There were plenty BMW’s from the old and new generations including: e12’s, an e23, e36’s, a super rare 840ci up to an f10 M5 and even an X6 to name a few. Non-BMW’s were also out in their numbers ranging from front wheel drive Toyotas, Kias, minis and Audi’s etc. There were also some all wheel drive participants in Subaru impreza WRX Sti’s and some other SUV’s were present ready to race against the guys in smaller cars. We had some new faces and a lot of old faces which shows that this is an event that one would want to do over and over again.
Each track/course would be done twice per driver, once the left and then on the opposite, mirror side. BMW Car Club Gauteng Chairman Colin Van Son broke the ice after the briefing in his E23 745i, one of the best performers on the day. After that the gloves were off with like vs like races, sibling and couple rivalries. The excitement continued as the second and third tracks were laid out. Competitors were meeting and checking out one another’s cars, engines, modifications etc. for example, there was an E34 5 Series with with a Toyota Supra 1JZ engine and 4 speed Automatic Gearbox.
The All-Wheel drive Subaru’s clearly dominated all 3 courses with their extra grip (and driver experience). The front wheel drive cars were also posting good times with their cars being easier to control on a wet skidpan. Some of the more powerful rear wheel drive cars battled a bit with electronics and assists switched off.
Our ladies also made quite the showing, sporting some of the fastest times on the day, they truly were among our best drivers on the day.
The fastest time per competitor was an average of the six runs on the 3 different courses, which Committee Member Benard was quick to apply his numerical skills and to tally up.
At the end of the day, the type of car used and driver experience would combine to give us our fastest times in the four different classes. The top 3 in each class were as follows:
BMW Z4 M
BMW Z4 M
Marco van der Schyff
Shantell van der Schyff
Monica van der Westhuizen
Bridgestone 4X4 Class:
When the timed runs were done, we had some more fun runs where most participants were checking their car’s capability now that they were familiar with the courses. This brought some visual thrills, pictures and drifts with no holding back. My Standard differential earned me the nickname “1 tyre fire Mpho”.
There were many people who met other enthusiasts and like-minded individuals. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of them at future events and gymkhanas.
Lastly, a huge thank you to Bridgestone and everyone else who helped make the day possible, and for giving us the opportunity to come out and play on the Zwartkops skidpan.