Every time we visit Tarlton for one of our autocross events, it seems to be one of the coldest mornings of the year, and this time was certainly no exception. And just to make it that little bit more interesting (or is that unpleasant?) there was a huge blanket of mist hanging over the track upon arrival!
The guys from the Porsche club were there from very early to lay out the endless number of cones in order to create our makeshift autocross track. Scrutineering started around 7 a.m. and even though we were a bit down on numbers for this event, we still had a great variety of cars of all different makes, shapes and sizes competing for top honours in their respective classes. And to make things interesting, this time we would be running the course in the opposite (anti-clockwise) direction.
If you aren’t exactly sure how an autocross event works, the objective is to complete the course that is laid out as quickly as possible. Competitors are divided into different classes depending on the car you are competing with, navigating the course one at a time, pretty much the same as you would find on a rally stage. Each competitor gets 3 runs, and your final result for the day will be an average of your three runs, so consistency is important.
If you hit a cone, you get a 2 second penalty. It might not sound like a lot but taking into account that the difference between fastest and slowest in class is sometimes only a few seconds, it could be the difference between coming first or last in your class… and missing out on winning one of the awesome BMW brake caliper trophies up for grabs on the day.
But, even though our autocross events are very competetive it's mostly about having fun and enjoying our cars, in a safe environment. This is also very aptly demonstrated by committee member Mpho Diloro in his trusty steed Eileen (if you look at the pictures you'll understand where the name comes from), a 1984 518i. Even though he might have had the slowest time of the day, he always has a ton of fun. He was also a definite crowd favourite, pusing Eileen to her limits while throwing her around the circuit and enjoying some sideways action in the process. She might be getting on in years, but Eileen definitely knows how to party like the younger kids on the block!
The course starts with the tight and twisty section through the cones, followed by a blast down the Tarlton straight for a 400m dash to the finish line. The faster cars make up a lot of time here, and get up to some crazy speeds, with the highest top speed (and also quickest time of the day) achieved by Steven Coetzer in his Mean Wraps Nissan GTR, reaching a top speed of 219.637 km/h and completing the course in a very quick time of only 58.9 seconds. Second fastest time went to Varish Ganpath in his X6M (yes you read it right) with an equally impressive time of 62.802 seconds. Third quickest time of the day went to Nick Verheul in his Audi RS3, also with a very quick time of 63.448 seconds. The fastest lady driver was Shantell van der Schyff in her E82 135i with a time of 64.933 seconds.
The Top 10 times for the day were as follows:
CLA 45 AMG
Marco Van Der Schyff-
Shantell van der Schyff
As is always the case, a huge thank you to Bridgestone for sponsoring the day and making it possible for us to enjoy our cars in a safe and competitive environment while having a huge amount of fun! That’s it for our autocross events for 2017, and we will unfortunately have to wait until next year for the next one.
For our next event and upcoming track day, we are heading to the fantastic Phakisa circuit, which we haven’t visited since 2015. The on-track action will start with an open session on the Friday afternoon, so there will be plenty of track time to enjoy this great circuit, with a whole weekend of driving fun on 15 and 16 September including a Slalom Challenge and Handicap Pursuit Race. Entry to Phakisa also guarantees entry to the big one, our Kyalami track day on Saturday the 28th October, so hope we will see you there!