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Wildebeest Extreme 4×4 Lockdown Challenge – Reader story

What a weird year we have just been through!
Activities curtailed, lockdowns, you name it!

But at least the Wildebeest Extreme 4×4 Club down in the Western Cape ended their year on a high note – a Lockdown Challenge of note took place on 5 December 2020 at the well-known Zone 7 Speedspot out in the Cape Farms, just off the N7 highway.

With only being able to take part in a few events before the year crashed, the boys were raring to get out and play with their toys and Zone provided the perfect venue with its lumps and bumps and pits and ditches of varying heights, depths and everything in between.

Ten driver classes were catered for, from the stock standard 4x4s to the super modified hand built “monster rock crawlers”.

When I arrived at Zone many of the participants were already lined up in their classes and ready to go. The sun was already beating down, promising to be another typical Cape Town summer scorcher of a day and many were readying their sunscreen and headgear ahead of time.

A light South Easter breeze was already starting to stir the leaves and lift the dust – dust being one of Zone’s specialities! As long as it wasn’t a howling South Easter the cooling would be greatly appreciated.

The Wildebeest committee called the driver’s briefing and everyone gathered under the welcome shade of the Bedouin tent to get all details of the obstacles and protocols for the day. As soon as the classes were assigned their leader everyone scattered to their vehicles to get the day’s event under way.

It was difficult to decide where to start taking photos as the action was everywhere. From earth mountains to blue gum log obstacles and gouged out ditches – there was something to make every extreme 4x4er’s heart beat just that little bit faster.
The initial thing to do in this sport is to walk the obstacle with your mates and figure out the best angle of attack. But once that part of the ritual has been dispensed with the drivers got down to work/play.

At around 12 noon to 1pm, the drivers took a short lunch break and to rehydrate as the heat was becoming quite oppressive. But soon everyone was back out on the course, tackling the obstacles that still lay ahead.

The heavily modified vehicles were really impressive with their individual construction and colour themes – camouflage being a popular choice. The huge wheels make surmounting the obstacles look so much easier but the driver’s skill is an essential part of the package. Some vehicles had mechanical problems during the course of the day with some suffering impact damage and mechanical issues. The stress put on the metal components must be incredible!

But that does in no way take away from the driving skill of those who rode in the more standard vehicles. The longer wheelbase of the larger bakkies definitely had some disadvantages, depending entirely on your angle taken over high humps and some people needed a little “hupstoot” to make it through.

With 8 classes competing on the day, it took a while for every class to get to all the obstacles and then the day was ended off with a time trial on the Zone 7 Junior MX track before the prize giving and congratulations time.

The classes, specifications and winners were as follows :
A class (Super Modified – open class covering all 4 wheel drives not complying with other classes) – JP Fourie
B Class (Modified Production – body shell must resemble a standard 4×4) – Mike van As
C Class (Standard Production – must be series production vehicles; must be roadworthy & licensed) – Jaco Fourie
D Class (Two Wheel Drive – any 2 wheel drive vehicle permitted with unlimited mod except tyre size) – Roelof Zeeman
BM Class (Super Modified – bodies may be modified with provisos but chassis & diff must be of a standard 4 wheel drive light production vehicle) – Andre du Plessis
CM Class (Modified Class – standarrd production vehicle with roadworthy and licensed; professionally fitted roll cage; standard production engine, transmission and axles) – Mark Esterhuizen
CL Class (Street Legal Locker Class – no limit to changes or modifications; street legal and licensed; shell may be shortened, but not narrowed; suspension may be changed) – Jody Stellenboom
F Class ( All classes of vehicles are permitted to drive in this class. This class is for beginners or for those who do not want to damage their vehicles.) – Ebrahiem Levy

Thank you Wildebeest 4×4 Challenge Club for a great final event of 2020 and congratulations to all the winners.
I really look forward to seeing you all again in 2021!

The Wildebeest 4×4 Challenge Club has been part of the off road scene in Cape Town since its inception in 2013. Their aim is to enable 4×4 families to have fun together and to meet with others who also enjoy the 4×4 life.

In normal times the club holds between six to eight events during the year and all members, no matter their experience level, are encouraged to take part and stretch their driving muscles on the day.

A total of ten obstacles are laid out at the venue, each with different routes for the various driver classes. The drivers need to work their way through each obstacle to achieve points, which count towards the Wildebeest Championship where winners are awarded trophies at an annual prize giving near the end of the year.

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