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OFF-ROAD TEST

Wolwekloof off-road trail





1 August 2016


Designing a Hilux killer

In a new series, we visit 4×4 trails across the country, driving them in 4×4 Muscle Trucks’ Jeep Wrangler called Hellboy. And we kick off with something out of the ordinary: a trail designed specifically for Jeep JKs, based at the Wolwekloof off-road trail, east of Pretoria

The Wolwekloof 4×4 trail is not well-known in 4×4 circles, but this is set to change with the addition of an all-new JK section that was recently developed by a bunch of Jeep enthusiasts, but more on that later. The trail is situated just off  the N4 near Pretoria, which makes it perfect for city dwellers in search of some proper off-road adventure that’s not too far removed from their creature comforts.

It’s located on the Pienaars-poort Farm, and consists of man-made obstacles, as well as grade three to four obstacles, which means a standard off-roader with a locking rear differential should be able to cope. But this article isn’t as much about the existing track as it is about trailblazing a brand-new extreme track. You know, the standard car-killing kind of off-road trail…

The brand-new trail is the brainchild of the Jeep JK Owners Club, who simply decided that there wasn’t a trail that provided enough of a challenge for their highly modified rides. The Hennops off-road track is a prime example. We’ve struggled through there many times with standard machinery and it usually takes the better part of a day to complete. According to these guys, however, it’s no harder than attacking a standard mall parking lot. They recently completed the entire track in less than an hour… using only two-wheel drive!

We were sceptical of this claim, right up until the point the JKs turned up at Wolwekloof to complete the morning ritual of drinking some coffee and showing off their individual vehicles’ wheel articulation. After that, it was out to the course, but just before it started, the lead vehicle turned off the established path in order to start carving out a new “Hilux killing” route. Obviously we had no idea what to expect, but we soon realised that this would be a different kind of course development. Whenever an obstacle presented itself, the guys would discuss the best way through.

To most people, the best way would be the easiest route with the least amount of damage, but not these guys. They’d stand there discussing the various options in search of the most difficult line. Then they’d try and figure out how that particular line could be made even tougher. The area provided a tricky array of obstacles, but as is the case with the standard Wolwekloof trail, rocks proved to be the main hindrance. Rock crawling is a fairly intense affair, as you have to drive with a certain amount of gusto, while remembering that too much power will result in a rollover. It’s also merciless as far as tyres are concerned. Some rocks are smooth with little to zero grip, while others are just coarse enough to puncture a tyre that’s running below one bar of pressure.

Wanting to establish a certain degree of difficulty that only modified vehicle could complete, all of the obstacles created on the day are rocky inclines. Some of the boulders were around a metre tall, but proved to be nothing more than a mere stepping stone in the path of these Jeeps. The route currently consists of four obstacles and, as you can see from the photos, they aren’t for the faint of heart. It’s definitely not the kind of route one should attempt without any experience or help, so it’s actually good that Wolwekloof doesn’t allow groups smaller than five cars on to the course.

The JK course will also continuously be developed to include more obstacles, eventually ending at a total of 18. The final course will hopefully include some water, mud and a few larger rocks, if that’s  even possible. It will naturally change with the seasons and we’re guessing that it’s going to be one of South Africa’s toughest tracks once the rainy season arrives in Gauteng in a few months.

Such a track can be tiring, but luckily Wolwekloof has braai facilities for a quick chop ’n dop after the drive. There’s room for camping, too, which we would recommend. The farm is stunning to look at and there are even a few wild buck walking around.

This new 4×4 trail review section is brought to you by Muscle Trucks, which specialises in creating off-road leviathans. Their most recent builds include the R2 million Hilux called Godzilla featured in this magazine late last year, and Hellboy, a big and mean Jeep Wrangler. Monster Trucks is owned and run by Hansie Coetzee, who also happens to be the owner of TJM Pretoria-East.
More information: Tel: 012 809 0090; e-mail: tjmptaeast.co.za

Text: Gerhard Horn
Photos: Deon van der Walt