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Tuesday, 12 June 2012 21:37Bloemfontein might be the shortest trip for the crew from 4x4 Video, but it is by no means an easy one. Known amongst competitors as a back-breaker, the hot and dusty conditions combined with excessively hard terrain creates a competition that shifts the definition of hardcore to another level .
As the morning breaks and the sponsors set up their banners and marshals do their checks, drivers had a chance to walk through the obstacles to see what lays ahead for them. The looks exchanged between driver and co-driver said it all. The was going to be another Bloem event.
It’s still early in the year and competitors of The Maxxis National 4x4 Challenge 2012 are still establishing themselves in the rankings. The day kicked off with the driver’s brief and a prayer before drivers head down to the first obstacle sponsored by Gabriel Shock Absorbers. In true Bloem-fashion this was an extremely tough obstacle that only the brave could tackle. The action continued on the other obstacles with crowd-pleaser Herman Vermaak setting a roll-record with 4 tumbles on the day, even damaging the roll cage on his tremendously tough buggy. Not to be out done Fraser Vermaak won the admiration of the crowd by balancing on the nose of his vehicle when coming out of an obstacle. Almost a full minute went by with Fraser vertically facing the ground. After which he neatly placed himself down and continued with the competition.
Always one to make sure the drivers deserve their points the CAT Footware obstacle saw some impressive manoeuvring from the likes of Leon Gouws and Tjaart Van De Walt. Not to mention the Formula Off-Road vehicles, the newest class in this competition, who with identical vehicles pit the drivers against each other to find out who is the best of the best.
The Bloemfontein leg of the Maxxis National 4x4 challenge didn’t see as many rolls as in 2011, but at this early stage it’s better for the drivers to be cautious than break down and fall behind on the leader boards. That might have been the plan strategically, but Bloem had other ideas. Even while the sun was setting the the incredible heat of the day was fading away driver were still furiously battling the obstacles. With the last whistle blown to signal the end of the day Bloemfontein can still hold on to its reputation as one of the toughest events on the 4x4 calendar.
With that the drivers set off into the sunset and we switch off our cameras. Catching all this action for television comes at a price and it’s not only the vehicles that left Bloem with a few bumps and scratches.