The Adventures of the Suzuki 4x4 Club

Date: 28 Feb 2013



Last month the Suzuki 4x4 Club WP invited Suzuki lovers to join them on some of their adventures - and many did. This month they are sharing the experiences of one family who attended, as well as showing us how many of their members show their love for their Suzukis - and of course inviting everyone to their March gathering!

Clive and Margaret tell their story here:

Margaret and I had not been on many outings in 2012 because of "dog sitting" problems, so I was very rusty and we knew that this was "easy" course as we had done it in our Ford 4x4 when it first opened many years ago.

Before the start I was surprised to see people letting down tyres and asked Richard if he thought it necessary. "Yes", he said, "let down to 1,1 or 0,9 bars". I thought this was a bit "over the top", but I have learned to respect his judgement so I let down to 1,1 bars.

I chose the red (advanced) route option because after all I "knew" the course was easy. Margaret thought it was the right choice.

As cars from our group started turning left, uphill, onto the deeply rutted start of the red route, I was quite surprised to see some getting stuck in the clouds of dust and then I knew something had happened to the course from when we first drove it.

I was directly behind Boeka and he negotiated the first hill slowly and with consummate ease. He chose the perfect line. Clearly he knew what he was doing and so I decided to copy him. I am experienced and competent sand driver but I have never felt comfortable on deeply rutted roads in the mountains.

I copied Boeka, and continued to copy his chosen lines of attack for the rest of the trip and it worked perfectly; no fuss no bother no skidding, no over-revving. It was nevertheless, quite challenging and by the timewe all stopped for the final, deeply rutted, uphill, left bend on loose gravel, followed by a right bend; I had already gotten a new respect for the course.

I went to see what the holdup was, in time to see our leader in his Vitara making his second, then third and then final (successful) attempt. It was impressive and concerning."If the leader takes 4xattempts I might take 10x".

Years ago; I was the founder member of Pennington Deep sea Skiboat club in KZN. We launched from the beach through the waves. We used to sit on the sand on rough days deciding the best way to negotiate the waves on the sandbank without overturning. Whilst making their decisions, Skippers and crew paid frequent visits to the beach bush, thus proving the origins of several crude, but true, proverbial English sayings.

Having watched our leader making 4x attempts, then watched him walking down the track to help the rest of us and literally sliding down the very loose gravel (and falling a few times) the situation started havthe same effect on me as at Pennington beach. There was an irresistibleurge to "pump the bilges". Contemplating the hill, seemed to have the same effect on some of the spectators and my wife (and I bet a lot of other folk as well).I thought; "If people can't even walk up or down it; how are we going to drive up it?"

Boeka was watching as well. I said, "Boek I am glad you are ahead of me I am just going to copy you, as I have been doing". "Ya", he said, "but you must remember I have had a rear diff-lock fitted" (cheeky very cheeky). Suddenly my security blanket was gone and so was my confidence. Copying Boeka would probably not work.

So I decided to treat it like a sand dune; with momentum. Tyrez were let down to 0,8 bars and when it was my turn (Margaret, with her eyes shut all of the way up)I attacked the hill as fast as possible, in low range first gear, with much over-revving and clouds of dust, much adrenalipumping, much pride at stake; determined not to give the spectators the pleasure of seeing me reverse down after a failed attempt.(I was also frightened of being forced to reverse!) Before the attempt, I was past the bilge pumping stage and "**##^^!!" myself, but, as in launching through the waves, so also when "on" the actual obstacle; fear gets suspended and you simply do it.

There was a tremendous feeling of relief for both of us, when, with more luck than good judgement we made the ascent on the first try. When Margaret opened her eyes she still couldn't see, because the car was full of dust. (I like my window open on 4x4 obstacles) Margaret's Monday job will be a full valet of the Jimny. We won a nice potjie pot for "good driving", which never would have been awarded if the organisers had been able to "read" my trepidation on that final obstacle. We thoroughly enjoyed the course. As usual, the organisation of Richard and Kristin, Suzuki Parow and CT South (before the day and on the day including prizes) was excellent. We had other commitments, so we did not join for the braai, but the braai area was excellent, shady and cool. On Saturday we were at the J&B Met, but we both agree that we enjoyed Sunday with the Suzuki 4x4 Club far more than Saturday. Thanks for a great "pump the bilges" day, we really enjoyed it.

Clive and Margaret.

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