WITH hearts pumping and sweat running freely from under their helmets, the men and women of off-road competition bravely faced the obstacles at the Bathurst Quarry 4×4 challenge on Saturday.
Spectators were treated to some thrilling driving as vehicles and drivers overcame the treacherous and often dangerous obstacles in their paths in order to win the prizes on offer and the prestige of being crowned best driver in their class.
The challenge was set up with individual obstacles, each with its own estimated difficulty level, and drivers with their navigators were invited to complete each one as quickly as their vehicles, and their nerves, would allow.
WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE? Drivers and navigators did not have it all their own way at the Bathurst Quarry 4×4 challenge on Saturday, and many vehicles struggled to stay upright and complete the obstacles set before them. Behind the wheel of Puddle Hopper was Bertus Hanekom from Eastern Province 4×4 Challenge Club Picture: ROB KNOWLES
Some of the obstacles were easier than others, while the hardest challenge, in the quarry itself, proved impossible even for the most experienced and courageous drivers.
Many competitors at the quarry obstacle did not even make it halfway before their tyres began to lose grip on the loose soil, or they encountered large boulders their vehicles could not pass. With engines roaring, and the smells of burning oil, tyres and clutches, the vehicles tried to avoid hitting markers in order to score highest in each of the sections.
The day remained sunny until the late afternoon, just in time for spectators to rush home before the Springbok rugby match against Argentina began, but this did not dilute the almost palpable enthusiasm shown by all at his event. As usual, spectators were thick on the ground, there to support their favourites or simply to observe the spectacle.
ON TOP OF THE WORLD: Drivers and navigators on the 4×4 challenge at the Bathurst Quarry on Saturday must have felt on top of the world if they successfully completed the dramatic and often dangerous obstacles in the manner of Bertie Roux from Western Cape Challenge Club Picture: ROB KNOWLES
With the crowd sighing audibly for some drivers who failed to complete their chosen sections, some vehicles seemed to streak to the top of the rocky slopes, passing the finish line and hoping for a clean bill of health from the course marshals.
Only a week earlier the area in the quarry where the event took place needed to be cleared of long grass to enable the courses to be constructed. Each obstacle was designed to test the driver’s and navigator’s skills, as well as to provide the highest possible adrenaline rush among the spectators.
A Class: 1st Jacques Fourie with 215.4 points.
B Class: 1st Christie de Kock (495.7), 2nd Mike Schreiber (486.3), 3rd Arno Bester (438.3).
C Class: 1st Edward Colling (457), 2nd Eddie Colling (422), 3rd Choppie Linstrom (382).
D Class: 1st Richard Pook (572), 2nd Karel Spangenberg (569), 3rd Antonie Swart (562).
Special Class: 1st Anthony Brits (395.4), 2nd Bruce Bester (160), 3rd Bryan Bester (90).
Best lady driver of the day was Liesl Strydom., and best junior driver was Bradley Schreiber. Roll of the day went to Johnnie Johnston, while the break of the day was awarded to Clive Bester. Most point for the day were awarded to Richard Pook.