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Saturday, March 14, 2009


Newsletter No: 65
MARCH 2009

P O Box HG 641 Highlands Harare Zimbabwe

The Chairman and Editorial Team:
CHAIRMAN: Mark BENZON 301041 011 216 105
EDITORS Mike & Pat GILL 494028 / 011.400.243 / 011.440.794
4x4 Club Website:
The 4x4 Club is affiliated to the Zimbabwe Motor Sports Federation - ZMSF
Our Club is a member of the Mashonaland Motor Sport Association Club House, situated at: 2 Annan Rd. Eastlea. Support your Club House. It is available for hire for weddings, conferences, kids parties, 21st birthdays, etc. Lunches and dinners at reasonable prices.
News, comments and opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Club or the Committee

EDITOR’S NOTE - Michael and Pat GILL
When ones car engine “blows up” every one wants to know why. Our Patrol motor cooked itself and we believe it was due to the Air Con and Coolant radiators being partially blocked with insects and seeds. We have driven off road all over Southern Africa and often cleaned debris away but as time goes by more and more bugs and seeds lie hidden in the cores. If you take out the Air Con rad it is going to cost a bundle, the water rad is cheap. Getting the bits out and straightening all those bent little fins takes hours - but then so does fixing a blown motor. Now I see why people cover their radiators with bug nets. Beware, you have been warned! Michael Gill

An incident, which occurred early one Saturday morning highlighted the complacency, we have to vehicle fires.
It was the usual Friday night scene – one son visiting girlfriend (so relatively safe) and the other at work and then out on the town, so cell phone next to the bed hoping it is not going to ring, because if it does, the news will be bad! Every parent’s nightmare.
The phone call we dread came at 3 a.m. “Dad, Snowball (the V6 LandRover) has gone up in flames, we have put it out but now it is dead. Can you come and fetch me? ”
At that point, as long as he was ok and not injured I could not have cared how bad the car was. I climbed out of bed, found the tow-bar and went to tow him home. Damage assessment could wait till the morning. The cell phone video showed the chaos.
The scene was grim. As he was leaving the club, the fuel hose had dropped off the carb, pumped the well in the V6 full of petrol. A spark from the distributor had ignited it. The fire had raged for about 3 minutes before someone from the club had rushed out with an extinguisher and put it out. By the way – have you seen the damage the extinguisher powder causes?
Wiring loom burned, all hoses gone, distributor cap melted and everything covered in white powder and sand, which they initially threw over it. A mess but damage was mostly superficial due to the quick action of putting out the fire. If he had not been in the shopping centre the whole car would have burned to the ground in minutes. Snowball (now renamed Fireball) has an empty fire extinguisher bracket.….
I would like to thank those who helped, unknown strangers and bystanders who saved the car, stayed until I got there and then helped for the tow home.
Fires are catastrophic and generally leave nothing of value to recover.
We are obliged to carry fire extinguishers in competition vehicles, but how many of us carry them in the other vehicles, the daily drivers?
I was complacent, as in 35 years of driving, I have never had a car catch fire on me.
I am now shopping for good quality 2 kg fire extinguishers for every car.
So should you. Take care. Mark Benzon

THE AGM Sunday 15th March I hope you get this e-mail in time.
Notices have gone out. However a gentle reminder that the AGM is a very social event. The meeting usually takes less than half an hour and then it is Playtime again. Come along, join us and bring your own for a fun day.

New member – or should I say new old member.
Stephen and Lane Murphree: Rejoined the club after a number of years. They came along on the Ngomokurira run. So glad you couldn’t stay away from us. Welcome back. Ph: 733451
- and -
Andre and Tanya DeKlerk: Andre is well known in the Land Rover fraternity. He runs the company Zimtow. He drives a Disco 1 and a TD 90. Welcome to the club. We look forward to seeing you out on events. Contacts: 733.451
Richard STUBBS of Headlands. This is becoming a family affair. He is the brother of Mark Stubbs. Both Headlands Farmers.
We welcome you all to the 4x4 family and look forward to seeing you out on outings.

David and Ria Rock nearly lost their Pajero with all their goodies when collecting supper from KFC in Johannesburg. Fortunately they arrived back at the car in time and no one was shot. Ria was pushed and hit by a car door and has recovered. David is looking for another steering wheel that has not been cut through with a hacksaw, the Crookloc was too hard to cut.
Ian Benzon - see the Chairman’s Chatter
Our congratulations to Roger and Bev Ellis who celebrated their “Silver Wedding” in early March.

The Ngomokurira mountain picnic was very well attended with about 23 cars and lots of people. Even the Extreme Bunch managed to get through the rough route and join the SUVs in time for lunch. A feat they have not managed for some years. The rain was visible but moved round the mountain and left us alone, more than could be said for some lady who got quite hysterical when she had climbed up the back way and found the top covered in 4x4s.
The Bring-A-Buddy Day was also well attended and it was so good to see many new faces. Members spent much of the day taking people for drives over the Jamboree courses and explaining the finer points of 4x4 driving. The little water in the Toyota Hole had several people playing and trying to get out with muddy wet tyres. A good sociable day that went on till sunset. Yes - we did get one new member and several renewals.

Set of new genuine Nissan Pistons and Rings to fit 6 cyl TD 4.2 Nissan Patrol (or 2.7 Nissan.) Incorrect spares supplied and not able to return. These have a 28mm pin and 4mm wide oil rings.
Contact: Mike Gill Phone: 494028 Cell: 011.400.243

Simon Fisher is having a clear-out, he is not leaving the country.
Mazda B2000 Pick-up (ex Mike Gill.} Hi-lift Jack; Double Jerry Can Holder; Recovery Kit; Hand Winch; Amo Boxes; First Aid Boxes; Plastic HD Battery Case; Steel Workbench;
Record Vise; Toolmaker’s Vise; 12 Speed Bench Drill; Axle Stands; Car Ramps; Hydraulic Trolley Jack; Hand Tools; Metric Socket Sets; and lots of Books.
Contact 883126 to view:

2009 4 x 4 Jamboree May 22 – 24th.
The Jamboree will be held at the 4 x 4 Centre at Donnybrook over the weekend 22nd - 24th May There will be the traditional 4 x 4 trials and the 'Extreme' competition. There will also be the usual commercial Displays in the Arena, Motor Exhibits and bar and catering.
Trials include the "Mud Run" and the "SeeSaw" Those wishing to camp on Friday and Saturday nights will be welcomed. There will be water.
All interested Competitors, Marshals and Exhibitors need to book the weekend.
For further information contact:
Stan Higgins : Mark Benzon :
Neil Greenway : Maas Kirk :
Tim Thorburn : Kelvin Weare :
Ralph Stead :

I would like to express a very big thank you for the donation of $200 cash and the boxes of groceries, which you donated to SOAP. It really was a very generous gesture and much appreciated by all.SOAP [Supporting Old Age Pensioners} was formed in 2003 when it was obvious that due to hyperinflation and acute cash flow problems people were finding that their pensions could not even buy a loaf of bread and their life-long savings had dwindled away. Thanks to donations SOAP delivers to over 650 old folk a substantial parcel of food, once a month.SOAP has no overhead expenses. Everyone helps on a voluntary basis, hence no salaries are paid. Even the warehouse we work in is loaned to us at no charge. Hence every cent of donations goes towards food. These monthly goodwill parcels are delivered personally to each individual and include: tinned spaghetti, jam, peanut butter, dry pasta, instant soup mix, stock cubes, tea, powdered milk, fresh eggs and sometimes chicken, We would not be able to do this without the continued assistance of Zimbabweans living here or abroad. As you well know, the economic circumstances deteriorate on a daily basis; the old folk have no plan to cope with this - we are their plan - and they would not survive without your generosity. It is our hope that these parcels, as well as the regular visits made to pensioners, can in some way help to alleviate the burdens faced by so many. We are extremely conscious of our responsibility to continue to offer this assistance and we would not be able to do so without donations. Once again, a sincere thank you and thank you to the 4x4 Club for supporting our cause.
Best wishes, Kathie McIntosh

A further donation of goodies and cash collected for SOAP on our Ngomokurira Picnic.
Dear 4X4 Club,Once again you have come out trumps! Your donation of US $ 135 and parcel of food are gratefully received. In fact the very next day I found an elderly lady who had not eaten for two days and I gave her your parcel. Imagine her joy! SOAP will now feed her regularly but she said your parcel was an answer to prayers. Thank you so much. Kind regards, Kathie McIntosh

The Committee is working on a way of getting discounts for paid up club members.
If any members run a business and would like to contribute to this facility, we would be most grateful. Just think, it could improve your business as well as being an advantage to club members.
Be a member of the Club, get your Membership Card and claim these discounted prices.
Discounts on offer so far: Maguires in Willowvale for Filters etc.
Silverstone for tyres; and Telford Mica for Tools.
To take advantage of these discounts you MUST produce your 2009 Membership Cards.

We have a Face Book site and for those members who are on Face Book, feel free to join the site: 4x4 Zimbabwe

Reading your latest newsletter about the two families doing the Africa trip, it ends with .......”Cape Town and then back to Harare”.
Please suggest they come back via Namibia. I have just done it and loved it. Harare - Gokwe - Binga - Vic Falls - Kasane - Kutima Mulilo - Rundu - Grootfontein - Etosha - Outjo - Torra bay on the Skeleton coast right down to Swakopmund. On the desert/dirt road to Windoek - Solitaire - Helmeringhausen - Aus - Luderitz - Fish Rriver Canyon - Springbok - St Helena bay. Cape Town - Port Elizabeth - Bloem - Jhb. - Gaborone - Francistown - Bulawayo - Harare.
The dirt roads in Namibia were the best I have ever been on. Worst road on the entire trip Siabuwa to Binga. 9730 k's in my 17 year old Cruiser (371000 k's)
Incidentally a tip for 4x4 owners who may go shopping in Botswana, we were told to drive 40k's due west from Francistown to Masiloje, good tar in Bots but interesting dirt in Zim. 60 k's bad dirt and 40 of tar to Plumtree and on to Bulawayo. (Ed. We also suggest you use this Border Post, we have.)
Best regards Nick Knill

Your Editors spent a Saturday exploring the Tsindi Ruins North of Marondera. We know that very few members have even heard of this place we a going to try and fit it into our busy calendar. Watch this space for more details.

Note some changes to the calendar.
CROCODILE CRAWL - March 20 – 22nd.
The Rhino Challenge has been postponed and in its stead we will run the Crocodile Crawl. This will take on the same format as the Rhino, which is a point-to-point competition, but we will keep this within the club for club members. In the past the object of the Rhino was to collect donations for the Zambezi Society for rhino conservation. However with the prevailing condition at the moment we will keep this as a club event.
Venue will be the same at Pip Matterson’s farm, Taveydale at Concession. Go out on the Lomagundi Road, Turn right at Nyabira and follow the signs. More details will be sent out as a flyer.

Marimba Fishing Club – Chivero Sunday 5th April
Have invited us out for a fun and adventure day. .
We have planned a bush drive for the guys who wish to spend a while in Low Ratio. We have driven the route in my LWB Patrol so it is not that radical. This is a short but interesting route made by Murray Upton by walking along footpaths and finding a way through the bush. No vehicles have ever been through much of the proposed track. We also plan some entertainment along the way so be prepared. There is a very nice swimming pool, bar and braai fires for cooking your own lunch.
The children can cycle, play and explore in safety. Adults can go for walks and do some birding.
There will be a gate charge of $5 per car. More details will be sent out as a flyer.
Michael Gill.

Calendar for 2009
These dates may change as the year progresses, however as usual, we will send out flyers before every event.
March 15 AGM
March 20-22 Crocodile Crawl
April 5 SUV trail Drive Marimba Fishing Club - Chivero
May 1-3 DAM weekend
May 9-10 Course Building Weekend
May 22-24 Harare Jamboree
June 19-21 ECO Challenge
July 4 Christmas in July – American theme
July 19 Trail drive/Orienteering
Aug 7-11 Away Week-end Aberfoyle Club
Sept 25 - 27 Bushpig Beatrice
Oct 16-18 Bulawayo Jamboree
Oct 30-31 Three Hills
Nov 20-22 Mutare Dungbeetle
Dec 13 Christmas Run

Your Editors have recently done the “shopping trip” to SA and once again we had an unusual experience. With our new Peugeot Partner Van (not 4x4) we were concerned about fuel range so decided to get a few litres of diesel in Masvingo. We stopped next to a smart small bus and asked the driver where we could buy some fuel. After a short chat we were led into the industrial sites and a transporter’s yard. “This is surely a Hi-Jack situation” says Pat. But there was no problem, we paid and received some diesel, said thanks and off we went.
Our host was Edgar Mhere who owns the Riverside Lodge, which can be found 4 ks down the Masvingo to Bulawayo Road. about 6ks from the centre of town. The last km is a good dirt road. Looking at the list of licenses it holds we are sure it is worth recording but we regret we did not have the time to “case the joint” Perhaps a member will report back.
Phone 039-264 725 011-605576 e - mail : Web :

Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs,
the Titanic by professionals

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