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Monday, April 29, 2013

4 x 4 Newsletter

Newsletter No: 101
May 2013
P O Box HG 594 Highlands   Harare   Zimbabwe                                     The Motor Sports Club House,  2 Annan Road, Eastlea, Harare.
The Chairman and Editorial Team:
CHAIRMAN:      Peter Benzon                0775.009.218          
EDITORS       Mike & Pat GILL  (M) 0778.843.843 (P) 0778.731.288 
4x4 Club Website                 Face Book Site:             The 4x4 Zimbabwe Club - Zimbabwe
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.   It is available for hire for weddings, conferences, kid's parties, 21st birthdays, etc.
News, comments and opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Club or the Committee

THE EDITOR’S DESK        -   Michael and Pat Gill
We now start a new century of Newsletters number 101; we have a new Chairman, Peter Benzon and we have a bit of advice for campers.  Some may know that we have become part of the Mountain Bike fraternity, as part of their ROC, (Race Organising Committee)  Our 4x4 Club members are ideally suited for this as the MTB's spend a lot of time "Off Road" and that is what we like doing too.  This association has introduced us to some wonderful tracks and their highly organised events would be a lesson to us all for our events.  Their next major event is the ZSPCA fund raising race in August.  The Blue Cross in the Eastern edge of Zimbabwe from the lowest (the Save River bed) to the highest (Mt Nyangani) The MTB's part of the event is all on dirt, with about 100ks per day for the 5 days.  No, they walk up the Mountain, but ride to the base.  Our job has been to follow and sweep the route for casualties or go ahead and check the route and set up time keepers at the end of the days ride.  This year we intend to spend four days in Gonarazhou on the way through to Chilo Lodge where they start.  Would anyone like to join us for the Gona section?

I would like to thank the club for allowing me to become the new chairman and a big thank you goes out to Tim Thorburn for being the chairman for the last four years and tirelessly helping the club follow the right path and become one of the biggest motorsports clubs in Zimbabwe.
After the AGM we are lucky to have some new blood on the committee and I would like to welcome: Matt Kelly Edwards, Jesper Kirk, Wilma Hoefnagels and Ashleigh Geach. We are looking forward to some new ideas.
We have got a packed calendar of events coming up which is great for competitors but it gets tough for our marshals who stand in the sun all day and watch the drivers have fun. (We really are grateful to them).  So in that vein I would like to appeal to the club for help to spread the load. If you would like to Marshal on one of our events such as "Night Extreme" or "Bush Pig"  don’t hesitate to get hold of our Father Marshal Roger Ellis.
Have fun in your 4x4s,  Cheers                       Peter Benzon (Chairman)  2013
As always it was a good day and the review of the last years events made us realize how active our Club is and all the work done by the outgoing Committee.  Many thanks to you all and we are fortunate to have a few of the old team still in the "Leper Colony"  At long last Tim has managed to retire and young Peter Benzon has been nailed to the Chairman's Post. It is good to have so many "young" members in the Committee and we wish them luck and strength in the coming year.
The meeting was well attended, much playing on the 4x4 tracks after the meeting, and demo drives given to the interested spectators. Many of us took Rick Stainton's little 4x4 Go Kart for a test drive.  An impressive 2 seater fun machine that can do some amazing things.

CHAIRMAN                         PETER BENZON                       0775.009.218
VICE CHAIRMAN                 TIM THORBURN                 0772.645.518     
TREASURER                         KELVIN WEARE                        0772.326.687
SECRETARY                          CAROL WEARE                                 0733.400.496
CHF MARSHAL/D.BROOK  ROGER ELLIS                                      0772.219.154
MEMBERSHIP                     PAT GILL                                                                       0778.731.288
EQUIPMENT                        ASHLEIGH GEACH                                     0772.283.524
EVENTS                                JASON YOUNG                                         0772.918.878
ENVIRONMENT                   MUZZA BLACK                                       0772.241.000
EVENTS                                MASS KIRK                                  0772.261.682
EVENTS                                JESPER KIRK                                       0772.414.281
EVENTS                                MATT KELLY-EDWARDS  0772.384.404
EVENTS                                WILMA HOEFNAGELS            0774.342.648
NEWSLETTER                       MICHAEL AND PAT GILL                                    0778.843.843

The Umfurudzi Expedition brought us four new members and we have had glowing reports from them about how much they enjoyed the event. 
Clint and Romy Mayes: Clint is a farmer at Mukuyu Winery and has a number of farm 4x4's.  They came on the trip in their Hi Lux Pick-up with their three little daughters in the back. 
Vaughan and Janice Bessell:  The Bessell's own a LR Defender and two Discoveries.  They came on the trip in the Defender and spent their time going round getting camping equipment ideas.  They had not done anything like this before and loved every minute.  Though I might add that Janice came to this country overland with her parents in 1972 in a Land Rover.    
Kevin and Michelle Stainton: Kevin joined us on the Thursday morning with his son Henry.  They were in a Toyota Vigo.  This is now a family affair as brother Rick joined us last month. 
Rob and Dot Franklin: Rob owns a Nissan Wolf and Toyota Surf.  He took the Surf on the trail but was not able to get it into 4 Wheel Drive so managed to do the whole drive in 2WD, with difficulty. 

Another car reborn.  Lloyd Clarke rescued a 1952 Willys-Overland, what most would call a Jeep.  It is a pick-up had an all wooden tray which rotted and now supports a Toyota metal tray.  The original 6 cyl Hurricane engine had to be binned so it runs on a Ford F100 motor, gears are still a problem but he did managed to drive across Harare to show us the vehicle.  What is interesting is that this was the truck used by Rupert Fothergill of Operation Noah fame. This was the animal rescue operation when Kariba dam was filling in the 1950's.

Many members have seen our "in car" storage system.  What follows may be useful.
4x4 Magazines are full of ads for wonderful metal drawer systems that they will bolt into the back space and you have quick access to your food and equipment.
It is purpose made to fit, is heavy and costs a lot of money.  So what alternatives do you have? Expensive plastic Ammo boxes?
We have used cardboard "archive" storage draws for many years. I told Pat they would fall to bits half way through Namibia but they lasted for at least ten years of travelling and now act as storage cases in the garage for ropes and canvass etc. The new ones are already well travelled.  Advantages – They are very light, dust proof, very cheap, can be packed on top of each other or side by side (Duct tape or glued together if needed); can be picked up and taken into a holiday cabin or your tent with all your equipment and clothes; do not rattle and damage other packed items.  Being 550 x 340mm they do not take up a lot of floor space yet can hold 46 ltrs of food, clothes or what have you. AND when you get home it takes minutes to return the wagon to its usual Moms Taxi.

When camping there are masses of loose untidy things; rolls of extension leads, cargo straps, etc.  A temporary fix of something loose or a lid that will not stay closed.  Enter cheap, common Masking Tape.  Throw a roll of 25 -30mm wide Masking Tape into the car and enjoy some order.  Those ratchet Straps, with their ever busy hooks, can be rolled up and taped.  Lead light wire can be rolled up, taped and packed quickly.  This tape can be torn off quickly and thrown in the bin, no searching for that belt or strap or elastic band you used before.

This event really caught Members eye and they spread the news and we gained several new Members.  What a fantastic time we lucky ones had.  Wonderful crowd, no vehicle trouble, good weather, good 4x4 trail driving and what a place.  The plan was to meet at the renovated National Parks Main Camp, drive next day past caves and rock art to a rustic camp above the Gwetera River and Pot Holes.  Day two another slow drive to the side of the Mazoe River where we played in the sand and swam in the river and several camped on the 'beach'.  Day three was a shorter, but tricky in places, drive to Hippo Pools camp.  The "Trekkers" hit the showers and sat and watched the river and a few animals on the far bank.  Day four the birders got a chance to spot the Narina Trogan while others chilled out or repacked their cars. A short 2 hour drive back home on a fairly quiet main road.  What more could you want? A special thanks to Tim and Kelvin for all the hard work and planning, production of a special booklet for each car with all the route data, GPS points and points of interest shown.  You guys are amazing!  Our leader Kelvin with Tina, Pam and Maria had to endure walls of grass seeds and finding the overgrown track for us happy people to wobble along behind. With all the stops, some for fallen trees, some for unwanted spiders in the car, it was a very social journey.
35 Adults and 6 children, 2 punctures, a couple of flat batteries (Fridges), 17 cars.

Kelvin Weare's  description of the drive: 
’’’The expedition was challenging, enjoyable and most importantly SUV friendly! The route took us on a full circumnavigation of the Umfurudzi Park, a jewel in the Zimbabwean bush - from the lawned camp site in the South of the park, complete with clinically clean ablution facilities, to the Shona ruins, onto the Portuguese Fort, past Beryl Rose and onto Gwetera Potholes. Down though the bamboo vlei to the escarpment above Natural stone with magnificent views and then to the old hunters camp on the Mazoe River. A night at Hippo Pools finished the 4 night expedition.
Many thanks to Jan Stander, you have a very special park, thank you for sharing it with us.’’

Our eagle eyed member, Margie Gibson, sent us a copy of and story of damage to the soil and vegetation caused by vehicle wheels.  It seems that when a car drives on certain types of soil it compresses the soil for a wide area and this damages plant life. They say 4.8m wide. This could be a very contentious subject and we may have a chat round the camp fire one evening.  Your Editor has seen, and made, tracks in the Namibia desert which they say can be there for hundreds of years.  We have also seen parts of unused roads in Hwange where there was only an Elephant track and no sign of the old road, till we cut the bush and drove on again. I wonder what the result of the film and safari crews endless wandering over the Serengeti has done.  What of the vehicle chases through the bush to shoot, dart or collect animals, has this produced everlasting tracks?  Obviously some areas are much more prone to lasting damage but how are we, lay persons, expected to know what damage we could be doing?. In Umfurudzi Park we had roof high grass in the center of the track.

Are you keeping up with our Facebook page?         The4x4 Club-Zimbabwe.
Members are always adding little bits and pieces and sending pictures. Right now it is full of the Umfurudzi Expedition. 

Night Extreme.  Saturday 27th April from 4 p.m.
Come and watch, if you are not driving or helping with Marshalling.  Donnybrook Park.  See the Comp Cars doing their best on the 4x4 Courses at night, which gets harder and harder as it gets darker.  A good crowd and lots of entertainment and good catering. 

Motor Show:        17-18-19th May   We will have another stand at the Motor Show this year.  Ashleigh Geach is the coordinator and would love to hear from you.  I know she will need a lot of help. 
Contact her if you are able to assist.   0772.283.524

Big Sky Bush Pig:
Big Sky Bushpig Is coming soon this year as it has swopped dates with the Jamboree. Now it is Friday 24th to Sunday 26thMay 2013.  so it's time to get your gang together again or find new team mates. Get your car fixed after the Nite Xtreme. We are on the same Farm as last year but the manager, Brian (now he knows what we do) is keen to show us new areas to play. We look forward to seeing you there!

4x4 Club Diary -      2013
These dates change as the year progresses, but flyers will be sent out before each event.
Event types
(A). Competition cars.  (B). Social event, any car.  (C). 4x4 Touring/SUV
April 27                           Night Extreme (A)           Donnybrook
MAY            17-18            Motor Show (B)                Info only               
MAY            25-26           Big Sky Bush Pig (A)        T.B.A.          
JUNE           13-16            Bush Clearing(C)              Chizarira
AUGUST   3-4            English Rules (A)
                                  Jamboree Launch(B)   Donnybrook
AUGUST      12-13            Away Weekend (C)           T.B.A.
August         24 -25          Course Building(B)           Donnybrook
SEPTEMBER 7 -8    Jamboree (A)         Donnybrook
OCTOBER    11 -13           Matabele Jamboree (A)   Bulawayo
OCTOBER    19–20           3 Hills (C)                         Chinamora
NOVEMBER           t.b.a.            CLUB 20TH ANNIVERSARY
NOVEMBER 22–24           Dungbeetle (A)                 Mutare
DECEMBER  8                 Christmas Run (B)            Local
A = 6;               B = 5;        C = 5.  Events left this year

To enter Donnybrook Park on a non-event day it will cost you $2 per car, providing you have you membership card.  Non-members will be charged $20 per car.  You must sign the book at the gate and put your name, your Club and membership number.   Do not pay without signing the book.
Please note:  If you wish to go to Donnybrook to play and there is another event on, then the organizing club can charge what they like for you to enter.  They will have hired the entire complex for that day. Please don’t try and argue with the gate attendant, they will just be doing their job.  Either pay-up or go away and come back on a free day. 

Have you had a look at our Web Site?  Grant Weare has done a really good job of updating it.    Go to:
We have a Face Book site  The 4x4 Zimbabwe Club – Zimbabwe           

Motor Sports Association Club House

MSA Membership: The Club House bar works on a Swipe Card basis and any member of an affiliated club can join.  Pay your $20 Club House subscription and get your card.  Bar prices are double for non-cardholders. 
Hall for Hire - Hire our affordable Club facilities for parties, Wedding Receptions, meetings, seminars, courses and other functions.  Assist us in this way to obtain funds for the Clubhouse.

Till next time. 
Michael and Pat GILL
Phone:   04.494028    (M) 0778.843.843        (P) 0778.731.288

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