Some rode the crest of a wave and others buried their heads (and cars!) in the sand at Saturday’s very successful SEA of SAND 4×4 Challenge, powered by COSA Media and Land Rover AFRICA Magazine.
A record number of spectators and participants made their way through the gates of Melkbos 4×4 Track near Atlantis (situated on the R27 West Coast Road) in the Western Cape on a chilly Saturday morning. While conditions were nippy, guests were blessed with plenty of sunshine and hardly a wind to speak of – sublime conditions for off-roading. Over freshly brewed coffee and the smell of boerewors sizzling on the grill, all 54 participants warmed their hands and bellies while event coordinator and Land Rover AFRICA Magazine technical editor, ‘Oom’ Ian Theron, briefed drivers and co-drivers on the details of the day’s proceedings.
After registration and driver’s briefing, contestants were raring to invade the course, which by 10h00 was brimming with electric gees, loud V8 engines and good, old, traditional family fun.
But those who thought that this was a conventional 4×4 event (where the vehicle does all the work) soon realised that even though there’s a degree of 4x4ing involved, the real test of the SEA of SAND 4×4 Challenge was in the way you used your melon.
The 2016 event was, once again, open to all classes and makes of vehicles (and not only restricted to Land Rovers) and included no car-breaking obstacles. While Land Rovers dominated the field, several Toyota, Jeep, Isuzu, Suzuki and Mitsubishi vehicles entered the fray.
But in his effort to make the course a bit more challenging this year, Land Rover AFRICA Magazine’s technical editor, ‘Oom’ Ian Theron added some very tight turns, which is always a pain for anyone who owns a Defender, referring to the vehicle’s infamous turning radius (Defender owners know what I’m talking about here!). It wasn’t so much an off-road test as it was a combination of 4×4 skill, teamwork and common sense. Challenges included throwing lightweight plastic balls through narrow holes, shooting targets with a catty, pegging empty bottles, tyre-slalom and blindfold navigation.
One of the trickiest obstacles on the day was without a doubt, the Water Bucket Challenge. Co-drivers were handed a full bucket of water, which they had to balance on their lap without spilling while the driver carefully navigated up and over steep hills and rocky terrain. Those with the least amount of water spilt scored the points. Suffice to say, many co-drivers were left sopping!
When the driving was done the prize-giving commenced. Drivers, co-drivers and supporters gathered in the hall with baited breath to see who managed to come out on top and land some impressive prizes. After Oom handed out a plethora of booby prizes (Roverland and Burnco hampers and vouchers), it was time for the winners to be announced.
Third place went to driver Jaco Linschoten and co-driver Clifford Smit from Team C2 in their Suzuki SJ410, who managed to make 415 points. Jaco and Clifford won a fancy Leatherman Multi-Tool, including hampers from Castrol, Stamford Tyres and SOS Oil.
Second place went to the seasoned 4×4 challenge participants Elrico Koen (driver) and Pierre Genis (co-driver) from Team Hoenners in their Land Rover Discovery 1 V8. The Hoenners accumulated 432 points and won a Canon Powershot SX720 HS camera, a Leatherman Signal and hampers from Castrol and Stamford Tyres.
Top spot went to Team Rango’s Henri Fourie (driver) and Johan Huisamen (co-driver) in their Land Rover Discovery 1 V8, scoring 437 points, and winning a Canon 750D camera, a 5-night stay for four people at the Whalesong Hotel & Hydro in Plettenberg Bay, an Auto Excellence spare wheel cover (Melvill & Moon) and the Defender Floating Trophy, sponsored by the Cape Land Rover Club. Overall, it was a hugely successful event. A massive thanks to Melkbos 4×4 Track for offering excellent facilities and a beautiful 4×4 course. We’d also like to thank our marshal volunteers for their efforts as well as everyone who participated and supported.
Land Rover AFRICA Magazine and COSA Media would like to thank the following sponsors for their contributions: Canon South Africa, Stamford Tyres, Jaguar Land Rover Stellenbosch, Jaguar Land Rover Cape Town, SOS Oil and Roverland. Thanks to the following prize and goody bag sponsors as well: Burnco, Legend Hospitality Group, Awesome Tools, Auto Excellence, Castrol, Land Rover Experience Western Cape, Campworld, Amarula, Red Bull and PowerBar.