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Monday, June 17, 2013

4 x 4 newsletter June 2013

Newsletter No: 102
June 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
Are you interested in competing in 4x4 events?  Before you rush off and buy a comp car or start making your own, give some thought to learning the finer points of competitions.  There are two starting points, (1) help with the Marshaling.  This will give you a good insight into the rules and regs  –or-  (2) get a ride as navigator with an experienced driver in an event.  Even in our recent Big Sky Bush Pig we had a couple of novice co-drivers who said they had great fun and look forward to doing this again.  Are these are our potential new comp car owners?  We always need Marshals and we generally look after them quite well, free food and goodies. You do not need a car, just come and join in the fun and meet some nice people.  We even have non-4x4 owners on the Committee.

CHAIRMAN'S CHATTER:       -    Peter Benzon
The Chairman is engaged!! It has been a very exciting time for Tam and me and I don’t think the grin has left her face since I ‘manned’ up and got down on one knee.  But now the real work starts.  Organising the Bushpig looks very much a walk in the park in comparison to planning a wedding.
But enough about me.   We have had a packed month of 4x4 fun with the Nite Xtreme very capably organised by Jason Young.   We had a great showcase stand at the Moto Show, well organised by Ash Geach and her helpers. The Motor Show is always an event where we are unsure if the rewards are worth the time and effort of our committee. However this year it seems to have generated a lot of interest in the club maybe not from prospective members but from the media with no less than three magazine publications asking us for material for their pages. We even had an article in the lifestyle section of the herald!   And finally we had our Chilly Bush Pig which was again a great excuse to get into the bush and have fun. Encouragingly we had a couple of new teams with some Bush Pig veterans returning to show the newbies how it's done. Now the Competition biased part of our club has a chance to mend broken and battered vehicles and our expedition crews are gearing up to head off to Chizarira to clear some roads.
So whatever your 4x4 Preference have fun.            Cheers Pete

Steve and Fiona HARRIS:  Steve is a friend of our newest committee member – Matt and has a number of Land Rovers.  He has a Series 111 Project; Disco 1 Tdi; and a Defender 110 Td5.  We look forward to meeting you on events. 

Congratulations to our Chairman.  Peter Benzon and Tammy Ellis have announced their engagement to be married.  When is the next date??
Congratulations to Grant and Dawn WEARE on the birth of their son Joshua. 

Our Club is a corporate member of Wildlife and Environmental Zimbabwe, WEZ, and we would like members to know about their lovely shop at Mukuvisi.  If you have not been there please take a short time off in your busy day and drop in.  If you have friends from overseas they will love it.  The shop has an amazing stock of local gifts and hand crafts.  There is a large selection of books, bags, toys and anything to do with the environment, wild life and Zimbabwe.

NITE XTREME       27th April 2013
We would like to thank our sponsors. Without your generosity this event would not happen.
Mr Cruiser,   Stainzim,  Telford Mica,  Tubestone,  EzyTrack,  Taita Trading, Specialised Floor  Services,  Jim Perry Transport,  Premier Auto Services,  Imex Tyres,  Sendem,  Sawpower,  Fuchs.                 **** A BIG THANK YOU ****
Yes, it was a Nite Extreme, the tests were well designed to be difficult and judging by the number of DNFs and Tow Outs the crowd got a good evening's entertainment.  Fortunately there was very little mud, but what we had made things very difficult.  The event ran quite smoothly, recoveries were fairly quick and it all ended with prize giving at about 21.30.  Many drivers received a very large Piston, suitably engraved with their position and T-Shirts were available for all.  It was good to see many familiar Marshals but we do need to find a way to have better crowd control.  They seem only happy if standing on the Test finish line, to peer down the bank and wait for the car to come roaring up the slope.  It reminds me of the suicidal Rally spectators in Italy who like to stand on the outside of the high speed corners.
Well done to the Mutare boys again, another win in the Standard Modified class.
STANDARD MODIFIED. (Anything goes but no traction aids or 4 wheel steering)
1 Roger Barry & Ed Danby                            280     Jeep
2 Jim & Hamish Perry                                     1340   Land Rover
3 Rodney Beckley & Grant Chadwick         1360   Suzuki
4 Jesper Kirk & Matt Kelly Edwards             1840   Cournil
5 Gareth & Ashleigh Geach                           1620   Land Rover
6 Barry Downey & Troy Boshoff                 2360   Land Rover
7 Neil Greenway & Maurice Ades               3700   Land Rover
8 Aubrey Bennett & Reybould                      4120   Land Rover
9 Peter Benzon & Dylan Weare                   5850   Land Rover
10 Alex Hawkins & Cyril Comins                  5930   Jeep
11 Gareth Barry & Graeme Barr                  6050    Jeep
12 Jason Wilcox                                              7650    Jeep
13 Ozzie Peer & Ray Walker                         7910    Jeep

SPECIALS  (Traction aids, diff tocks, 4 wheel steering, fiddle brakes)
1 Trevor Butler & Nigel Weller                    280     Jeep
2 Mass Kirk & Mark Benzon                          1130   Cournil
3 Michael Gill & Ian Grey                              2860   Land Rover
4 Peter Dobropolous & Michael Lottering 5270  Jeep
5 Sonnie Rousseau & Graeme Barr             5380   Land Rover

A new "4x4 Roll Over" trophy, created by Mike Gill, was presented to Jesper Kirk (the first roll over), who passed it to Jim Perry (the second roll over), who passed it to Rodney Beckley (the third roll over) who passed it back to Jesper for his second Roll Over.  Well done guys, now who is next – maybe some fun at the Big Sky Bush Pig Challenge?

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

BIG SKY BUSH PIG.         25 /16 May 2013
Once again we had our unique Bush Pig 4x4 team event which makes so much fun.  Our main sponsor, Sean Quinlan of Big Sky Supplies, joined in the team of Mike Gill – LR Lightweight and Mark Benzon – Jeep.  Yes, saw Sean carrying ramps and wheels, fitting tow ropes and generally getting lots of exercise in prep for his entry to the South African Comrades Race.  Adrian Watt managed to win even though he had to pull Gary Buchanan though several tests, some handicap!
 The event started on Friday night with four tests along a small river, in bright full moon light.  We got back to the camp wet, dirty, tired and very, very cold.  Frost on the grass in the morning.  The Catering was excellent and after a large fried egg and bacon roll and hot coffee on Saturday morning and many war stories, we set off to find the next batch of tests.   This was when we found "Ally Cat" the V8 Lightweight had a broken front drive shaft.  A spare was available and although we had to take off both sides to get the broken bit out the diff it was quickly repaired and off we went.  DNFs were quite common and even though there are two cars to a team and with team members helping each other it was not unusual for both cars to fail a test.  However each test is scored separately so all vehicles completed the competition.  Sadly Jason Willcox had to pull out with broken engine mountings.
Saturday night Prize Giving was a happy affair which ended with Alex Hawkins doing his usual "Fines" … 
 Our thanks to Roger for getting the Marshals; Brian Cocker for the use of his great rugged country side;  Peter and his team of organisers and route planners; Carol for being Clerk of the Course; To Jim Perry Transport for looking after our Marshals needs and for all his help fetching and carrying;  and all our sponsors listed below.   That adds up to making this such a good event, eight teams is a bit few but what fun we had.
The "4x4 Roll Over" Trophy was handed to Adrian Watt by Jesper Kirk.  It seems that Adrian was saved a complete roll over by a small tree.
1st.   "Piss Cats"          Watt/Buchanan.    Cournil/Jeep
2nd.  "Bush Rats"          Perry/Lowery       LR/LR
3rd.  "Team Jeep"       Hawkins/Stead    Jeep/Jeep
3rd.   "4x4 Bandits"     Kirk/Kirk              Cournil/Cournil
5th.   "Hells Angels"     Bennett/Butler    LR/Jeep
6th    "Scorpions"         Gill/Benzon          LR/Jeep
7th.    "I Don't know".  Thorburn/Kiggen  Jeep/LR
8th.    "3 Wheelers"     Willcox/Geach     Jeep/LR
Let us have a look at some of the cars on this event:
Some cars are what you might loosely call standard, Gary B's Jeep,  Aubrey B's Landy,  Tim T's Jeep,  Then there are the modified cars with engine changes: Jim P's Landy – V8, Alex H's & Ralph S's V8s, Mike G's V8, Dale K's, Jason W's and Gareth G's V8s.  Chassis and suspension changes, Diff Locs and Fiddle Brakes, even 4 Wheel Steering. We could go on with Power Steering, Shortened chassis, Bodies on other Chassis and so on.  One thing comes out -  you can have fun with a standard car.
 Our sincere thanks to our Sponsors, without whom we could not put on such a good event.  To Sean Quinlan of Big Sky Supplies for being our main sponsor and for providing super shirts and prizes.  To our good friends at Castrol.   To Fonzie Engineering; Tinkerbells Restaurant; Supreme Butchery for biltong; Fontec Supplies and to the Kirk family for Yoghurts. 

Before you throw away that old car battery there is a possible use for it.  Most of us have electric gates and/or fences.  The original small black batteries will open your gate a few times but with some of our power cuts they will not last as long as an old car battery.  Bin the small black battery and wire up the car battery.  I have one that is over 6 years old and still works.  Throw an old mat over it to hide it.  It may need water every few months.

Old chauffeurs never die, they just lose their drive.

We all try to fit to fit far too much in our cars so here are a couple of ideas that we have found useful.
 Get a couple of SQUARE buckets.  These pack well and the top one is used for storing all our cleaning items.  In ours is a collection of brushes (standing on end, cut short if too long), Dish Wash liquid soap and Pot Scourers; Insect Repellant; Laundry Soap powder (in a square plastic bottle); Window Cleaner; Clothes Pegs and wash line (in a plastic pot); Handy Andy in old Brasso bottle; Dettol for a Tsetse Fly repellent; a Gas Lighter (saves burning fingers); old Harpic bottle with mixed up Ant Kill; a couple of Plastic Bags and Cleaning Cloths.  Even some Matches in a sealed plastic packet; and a bit of Green Soap in case of a holed fuel tank.
When we get home everything gets refilled, cleaned and replaced so that it is ready for the next trip.    All that can be easily found in one open bucket.  

This wonderful system has one major drawback; it gets old and goes wrong.  Repairs are often beyond the economics of the owner, so what can be done?   There are conversion kits available to replace the air bags with coils it is a reliable fix and cheaper.  This has been done here and there are part way kits which allow you to pump up one corner at a time in case of system failure.  This does not fix a leaking air bag though.
Your Editor knows of several people who can do these conversions, if you need help please ask.

CHIZARIRA             14th-17th JUNE
For all the fairly sane, bush-loving 4x4 Club members who want to get out on a trip to a place they haven’t been for a while AND do some worthwhile conservation work.
LET’S GO TO CHIZARIRA NATIONAL PARK 14th-17th JUNE  (or 12th - 18th for those who can stay longer)  to do some Road Clearing.      Details will follow.    
Contact:          Muzza Black               0772.241.000    

ARCADIA DAM:   13th to 14th July 2013
Drive from Domboshawa to Arcadia Dam along the back roads on Saturday.  Camp one night and drive back home the next day.  The route back is still to be decided. We invite all Club members to join us. It is an interesting drive and very SUV friendly.
If you would like to join us, please contact :
Roger Ellis   Ph :498373 -  cell :  0772 219 154 : email :
or Pat Gill, Ph :494028 -  cell :  0778 731.288 : email :

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
 JUNE       13-16         Bush Clearing(C)         Chizarira
July           13-14         Trail Drive (C)            Arcadia Dam
AUGUST   3-4            English Rules Trials(A)
                                  Jamboree Launch(B)   Donnybrook
AUGUST      12-13            Away Weekend (C)          
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. 

We have a Face Book site  "The 4x4 Zimbabwe Club – Zimbabwe"  which is used daily by members to keep in touch with photos of events, etc. 

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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