The recent annual 4×4 Weskus Vasbyt competition saw 18 entries ascend to a new motorsport venue on the outskirts of Walvis Bay.
Three of these entries were from South Africa.
The 4×4 event is the annual highlight of the 4×4 fraternity as it not only entertains holidaymakers at the coast, but also counts as the last and final leg of the offroad code.
Organiser Theuns van Zyl says the event always draws many enthusiasts.
Some of the skills on show include using vehicles’ optimum performance, like gears and traction.
The uneven terrain combined with loose sand and boulders require more than just a custom-designed and -built vehicle, Van Zyl says.
This was evident during the competition as some of the cars, such as that of Izak Maritz from South Africa, drew attention due to their high-tech specifications and engineering to overcome almost any obstacle.
Maritz’ monstrous vehicle with advancements like a lifting suspension, former military-specced front and rear axles, as well as the ability to steer in both front and rear wheels, made all the obstacles a walk in the park for Maritz and his navigator, his son Johan.
The powerful motor, through a six-speed automatic gearbox, is more than capable of manoeuvring the vehicle.
Maritz scored full marks as his team did not make any mistake.
Another participant, PJ Balhao, proved that disability should not stop you from fulfilling your dreams. Balhao, who has been left paralysed after a road accident, says: “It is sometimes intimidating, but we have to do it. You just put your mind to the sport and just commit.”
Balhao is a regular participant in 4×4 events.
Safety is paramount to the code since each vehicle is scrutinised by a team of experts before the event to determine whether all required safety regulations have been adhered to, Van Zyl says.
Items like a roll cage, safety nets and four-point harnesses are all non-negotiable, while the crew must at all times wear safety helmets.
Fire extinguishers are also part of the sport, and no event takes place without a paramedic.
In case of a vehicle rolling over no body part should protrude while the vehicle is still in motion.
Only once the vehicle comes to total standstill, are crew members allowed to get out of the car.
Despite two rollovers and a few nerve-wrecking incidents, no injuries were reported at the event.
Each time has five minutes to complete the obstacle course. To ensure equal competition, there are different competition classes. The club has six events slated for 2024, Van Zyl says.
Dates and venues will be communicated in due time.
The results are as follows:
Class C: Rico Bothma and Jossie Maritz (550), Morne Oosthuizen and Christiaan Labushagne (490), and team Steenkamp (460).
Class D: Dolf Bothma and Jossie Maritz (470), Francois and Loraine du Plessis (440), and Herman and Nico Theron (420).
Class E: Izak and Johan Maritz (600), Micheal Hudson and Dupie Kern (500), and Corrie Hudson and Robbie (380).
Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –