Bridget & I set out on Sunday 31st May to Hobby Park in Krugersdorp, the first of hopefully many outings as members of the Four Wheel Drive Club. We drove up to the boom gate at Hobby Park, noting that Brian, our club secretary had arrived in a not-so-4×4 and there were no other vehicles to speak of. At this point I got concerned. Are we the only ones here today? Am I going to be demonstrating my inabilities to the club secretary on a one-on-one basis? Did I forget to mention that I’ve only ever driven the club course during Halfway Toyota’s beginner driver training? I was in the deep end here, and I can’t show the fear. Don’t show the fear!
After about half an hour, four vehicles arrived and the drivers walked over and introduced themselves. Doug Galloway, greeted me with a smile and the anxiety I had built up lessened, if only a bit. After signing a few indemnity forms and paying the course fees we had a driver briefing where we quickly established that Irus van Zyl, a local at the course, was going to lead. Doug would be second, followed by Dawie Jacobs in his one-day-old Land Cruiser, kitted to the hilt. Myself and Gary (his surname eludes me), with the least experience, would follow and try to learn from everyone else. Irus, after looking around at the vehicles immediately stepped up to look after my standard Fortuner running boards. “You will follow me up there and you won’t damage the running boards” – I’m paraphrasing, but that made my day and the rest of the anxiety I had felt melted away – I was in good hands.
We started off on the course before 10am and after getting through the axle-twister, a few minor water-based obstacles, inclines and tight bends it was up the hills and onto some rock climbing. At first glance these obstacles looked impossible but after a good walkabout on the rocks, solid guidance from Brian, Irus and the rest of the group things started to look more achievable.
Rock climb one out of the way, I felt great that I actually had the balls to get out here and do this. We arrived at the second rock climb, a 45 degree incline, more like rock face. The course marshal warned us not to attempt this climb, but it was worth a look. Irus, having tried it multiple times before gave it a second thought, and decided to give it a miss – “next time” I believe were his words. Dawie, wanted to give it a go in the Cruiser but his wife protested bitterly, citing that rolling a day-old Cruiser was not on her plan for the day. We gave that obstacle a skip, wisely I might add.
The next obstacle, much less intimidating was easily navigated by all with expert guidance from Irus and Brian. One more major obstacle was a rocky descent, again much more intimidating to look at than to drive down – especially when you have Irus guiding the way. The rest of the way we were left to our own devices and soon we were down the hill and setting up for a lunch-time braai and to enjoy a well-deserved cold one.
The management at Hobby Park were great and organised the fire for us, and sharing experiences as well as inviting us to their monthly night drive. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon in the sun, drinking cold beer, having a good laugh and catching up. To any club members who have not experienced one of these day outings, do yourself a favour and get out there – this is part of why you joined the Club!
Thank you all for a great day out!
Paul Jansen van Vuuren