Story by Rupert Giessing, Photography by Racepics.co.za
Our first BMW Car Club Gauteng xDrive Day for 2017 was held on Saturday the 20th of May 2017, proudly sponsored by Bridgestone and Cedar Isle Auto BMW.
We once again made use of the excellent ADA (African Dream Adventures) Training & Outdoor Centre in the Cradle of Humankind. It’s a beautifully situated venue close to Hartebeespoort dam, offering an adrenaline filled escape from daily city life, and offers amongst others, 4x4 adventure tracks, trails and a gravel skidpan. Perfect for having some fun in a BMW X-drive vehicle then!
Upon arrival at the venue on a sunny autumn morning, we were greeted with tea, coffee and rusks. A quick introduction and briefing was done by BMW CCG chairman, Colin van Son, 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. If you prefer, you can do the off road course in your own X vehicle or else you got to experience one of the fantastic xDrive vehicles supplied by Cedar Isle Auto for the day. Dion Ruppert, who was in charge of proceedings at the off road course, explained the secret to off-road driving in an xDrive vehicle to participants… be smooth and consistent with the accelerator and let the brilliant xDrive system do the work for you.
The off-road course demonstrated the impressive off-road capabilities of the BMW xDrive vehicles, proving that they are not just pavement hoppers. There were some 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. As drivers approached the steep descend the first time, engaging HDC with a nervous look on their faces, they soon discovered that the X-drive machines had their back and that there was actually nothing to fear. xDrive makes everyone look like an experienced off-roader!
The dirt skidpan was a fun timed gymkhana event in the agile X1 xDrive20d. It was 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”. 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. Participants are always a bit nervous before they do their first run, but it soon turns into massive smiles as they start having fun and kicking up dust and in some cases even some “sideways” drifting action on the skidpan. 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 tyres was very impressive, with much tyre squealing (yes, even on the dirt!) taking place, showing just how much they actually grip even on slippery surfaces.
While participants were waiting for their turn on the skidpan (or after they finished their run) they got to do a lap of the new adventure/rally course at the ADA Centre in an X4. Participants thus got to experience an xDrive vehicle in a gravel driving situation as well, covering all the different aspects of off-road driving. As is always the case, time flies when you are having fun, and it was over way too soon. It was time for lunch where we were treated to some delicious prego rolls. This was followed by the prize giving, upon which it was time for us to head back to the city, covered in some fun filled dust!
The fastest Cedar Isle Auto participant was Satish Naidoo, with a time of 29.53 seconds. Gregory Phocha followed close behind with a time of 29.75 seconds and Jabu Ndwandwe snapping at his heels with a time of 29.91 seconds. The fastest Cedar Isle Auto lady driver of the day was Zodwa Mzizi with a time of 30.34 seconds.
The fastest BMW Car Club Gauteng club member was Pieter Lombard with an impressive time of 28.94 seconds followed by Oliver Correia with a time of 29.91 seconds, and Monica van der Westhuizen in 3rd place with a time of 30.47 seconds. Monica was also the fastest club lady driver on the day.
We would again like to thank our sponsors Bridgestone, and Piet Maluleke and his team from Cedar Isle Auto BMW, without whom this fantastic day would not have been possible.