Once a year the Rust de Winter nature reserve comes alive with the sound of bull bars and big tyres stomping through the bush as hundreds of off-road revellers descend on this tranquil camp site bordering the Elands River 100km north of Pretoria.
Commonly known as the Toyota Rust de Winter Jamboree (hosted by the 4×4 ATV Club), the annual event which took place this past long weekend, was once again proudly sponsored by Toyota South Africa and drew a record 150 entrants, with 129 successfully completing the two-tier course.
Day 1 – Saturday 25 April – saw the bush warriors attack no fewer than ten gruelling obstacles including the family ‘favourite’ which involved dragging their significant others behind their vehicles through the mud. Sunday’s action kicked off at dawn with a challenging 65km route through the mountain range – a true test of off-road mettle. The official prize-giving, took place on Monday 27 April, before the wary participants made their way home.
A firm favourite on the 4×4 calendar, Toyota has participated in this event for the past 24 years as it provides the ideal platform to showcase the incredible off-road talents of its vehicles. And, as the saying goes the proof of the pudding is in the eating: over 45% of the vehicles competing were Toyotas and 99% of them completed the course; three Toyotas featuring in the top ten. A special mention, though, goes to Rudi and Yolaine van der Merwe in a modified Jeep Cherokee, overall winners of the event for the third year running.
While most of the entrants competed in vehicles that were heavily modified, the four-vehicle media team comprising journalists from AutoLive, Autodealer, Radio Tygerberg and SA4x4 participated in stock-standard Hilux 3.0 D-4D Legend 45s and Fortuner 3.0 D-4Ds. Other than the odd bumper scrape, all four vehicles made it through the course flawlessly. The highest placed media vehicle was the SA4x4 pairing of Andrew Middleton and Tyman Smith in a Toyota Fortuner. Congrats Boys!