4X4 crews give it horns at Bridgestone Rhino Park event


Rhino Park, east of Pretoria, was the battleground for the recently-held sixth round of the 2014 Bridgestone 4x4 Club Challenge. With almost 30 crews lining up for the McCarthy 4x4 Club's hosting of the event, competitors would not only have to contend with tough 4x4 obstacles, but were up against the stopwatch, the organisers having set a 'target time' within which the course had to be completed.

Only one team would eventually score full marks on the initial test of steep gradients and slippery turns, but at least most teams scored some points.

The same could not be said for the second obstacle, where mud and narrow gates saw most teams score zero!

This pattern repeated itself at the third obstacle, and the teams were glad to get out of the mud into obstacle four, the Rhino Park’s famous sand pit. In the end the burly Jeep Wrangler Rubicons, with their powerful V6 petrol engines, proved to be the fastest of the lot here.

The last two obstacles of the day were set in Rhino Park’s infamous 'Die Walle'. This quarry features some hair-rasing climbs, mud and axle twisters, but at least most of the teams bagged some valuable points.

All that was left was to navigate themselves back to the McCarthy 4x4 clubhouse where each team’s arrival time was recorded. This was then used to calculate an overall time for each team – and compared to the 'target time', set by the organisers.

Once all were safely home, the prizegiving began. Bagging the environmental prize were Shaun Niemand and Dominique Cholewka in a Jeep Wrangler. The team had spotted some strategically placed litter and collected it., winning R2000 from Bridgestone.

In third position overall – and the first of three McCarthy 4x4 Club teams to qualify for the Club Challenge Final in November – were Henry Barns and Bert van der Merwe in a Suzuki Jimny. Their efforts also saw them make off with an Opposite Lock snatch rope recovery kit.

Second place belonged to Heinz and Blanche Kusel in a beautiful Range Rover Classic V8. The team also qualified for the final, and won a set of Opposite Lock spotlights.

The winning team was the Jeep combo of Shaun Niemand and Dominique Cholewka, who added to their environmental prize by taking top honours for the day. The team also won a R10 000 tyre voucher from Bridgestone South Africa.

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