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Tough challenge at McCarthy 4x4

2013-08-01 16:34

JUST HANGIN' AROUND... Who needs all your wheels in an off-road challenge. Not Jeep driver Tom Foord and co-driver Vaughn Cllifton at the 2013 Bridgestone Club Challenge hosted by the McCarthy 4x4 Club. Image: Motorpress


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2013-06-26 11:51

Taking a Smart ForTwo off-road sounds like a ridiculous thing to do but according to the automaker it's "as good off-road as an off-roader in the city". Watch this hilarious video!

It had all the ingredients of a soap opera – drama, extreme challenges, suspense and bucketloads of action. It was Round 6 of the 2013 Bridgestone Club Challenge hosted by the McCarthy 4x4 Club.

The course consisted of 10 obstacles at Rhino Park 4x4 track, east of Pretoria. As usual the organisers and marshals, encouraged by Bridgestone's 4x4 liaison guy Daniel Barbosa, created some really tough tests.

The Club Challenge format has resulted in a number of new teams joining the action. For many, especially those who had never competed in an off-road event, it was daunting. One of the newcomers joked: “I've learned so much about my bakkie and 4x4 driving in a very short time… and I still have six obstacles to go! By the time I’m finished I’ll know everything there is to know about 4x4-ing."


The first of the 40 teams tackled the daunting track just after 8am. However, on this first obstacle, it was soon clear that scoring any points at all would be a tough ask. After four competitors had 'completed' this obstacle, the top score was 15 points of a possible 100!

Obstacle two was more of the same: a tight and technical challenge, with very little margin for error. A perfect score of 100 was again a pipe dream. Instead the competitors were forced into containing their losses.

The rest of the day’s obstacles continued to dish out the rough stuff: tight, technical and lean on the points. Obstacle six though, stood out as a particularly challenging, er, challenge. Here the teams had to first scale a steep ascent with a sharp crest. Then followed a steep and rutted descent where wheels lifted in the air, rounded off with a seemingly impossibly tight turn through a donga at the bottom, and a small climb through a gate to finish.

All the competitors received a safety briefing first, with the marshals ready to assist. Everybody eventually made it through, even though there were certainly a few nervous yelps inside the cabins as the wheels parted with terra firma at a rather uncomfortable angle!


Finally it was time to tally the scores, with most not willing to bet who the winners might be. Everyone had had a tough time on this track, losing bags of points.

Third place, and a hand winch from Opposite Lock, went to Mitch Viljoen and Letisha du Toit in a near-standard Suzuki Jimny (63.18%). Second overall went to another Jimny – the souped-up Zukzilla driven by Raymond and Anel Martin (67.73%) - who took home a set of Light Force Spotlights, also courtesy of Opposite Lock.

However it was the Jeep Grand Cherokee of Danny Daniels and Tjaart Scheepers that took top honours with an outstanding 73.18%, enough to scoop the first prize of a R10 000 tyre voucher from Bridgestone SA.

The top three crews also earned their entry tickets for the 2013 Bridgestone Club Challenge final over Nevember 16/17. It will certainly be a while before they forget how hard they had to sweat for their places!

Upcoming Challenge dates
Lichtenburg 4x4 Club - August 3
Jeep Club SA - September 21/22
Land Rover Owners' Club - October 5
4x4 Offroad Adventure Club - October 26
Bridgestone finals November 16/17

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Opel Astra 1.4T Enjoy auto – understated and smart new hatch

When it comes to the mid-size hatchback choice, there are a few default choices, a few bland ones… and some often overlooked cars. The Opel Astra hatch is an example of the latter, writes David Swanepoel. - Sponsored

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