Tougher than ever, with a good helping of mud, sweat and tears, topped off with some new twists and turns that will test man and machine like never before.
This is the new Bridgestone 4×4 Adventure Series which is set to make its debut in 2015. The new series evolved from Bridgestone’s original 4×4 Fundi Challenge and the 4×4 Club Challenge. South Africa’s top 4×4 clubs will still play an integral part in the series but the competition has been spiced up some, and the rules streamlined to support the new format.
The Adventure Series starts off with four qualifying rounds, or boot camps, where 4×4 enthusiasts will compete in their own 4x4s. The qualifying rounds will all be hosted at the Leeuwenkloof 4×4 centre, near Hartbeespoort Dam.
The Top 65 teams from the boot camps (and top five crews from each club) will then advance to the “Eliminator rounds” at 4×4 tracks near Johannesburg and Pretoria. There will be at least two new tracks included in the 2015 line-up. In the Eliminator rounds the bottom-placed teams in each round will be eliminated from the competition, leaving only the Top 30 crews for the FINAL, which is set to take place in November 2015.
Points are accrued in the Eliminator rounds as per the results for each event, so steady performances in all six knock-out rounds should earn a crew a place in the final – and a shot at the title.
In another new twist all the obstacles at all the 2015 events will be designed by one man: Sakkie Coetzee. Coetzee is a legend amongst the 4×4 fraternity, and his 4×4 obstacles have made grown men shed a tear in the past. Obstacles will be short but very tough and technical, with 20 poles per obstacle. The current scoring system for obstacles will be retained.
Also new is the introduction of a “Drive-off” element. In some of the Eliminator rounds, the crews who finish in the bottom fifth and six places will have to drive a 4×4 supplied by co-sponsors Opposite Lock and Conqueror. The winners of this “all-or-nothing obstacle” stay in the competition, and the losers are out. So teams will drive their own 4x4s in the competition, including the final event, but there may be one obstacle per event that will have to be completed in a supplied 4×4.
The prizes for event and overall winners have also been streamlined. In the qualifying rounds the Top 10 teams will receive prizes, with a R10 000 tyre voucher from Bridgestone SA as the main carrot in these rounds. In the Eliminator rounds the Top 3 crews of the day will receive trophies and the best environmental performer will receive that R10 000 Bridgestone tyre voucher. A new, more comprehensive scoring system for the Environmental prize will also be introduced.
Overall prizes will again be comprehensive, and will include off-road gear as well as big cash prizes. So there’s certainly a lot more to play for than just bragging rights.
“As before, we’re focusing on standard or near-standard production 4x4s, instead of heavily modified off-road machines,” explains Bridgestone SA’s Guthrie Blaine. “The new Adventure Series format brings new challenges for the teams, and will definitely add a new dimension to the dynamic of the competition. The competition will be tougher than ever before, and the overall winner of this contest will really have to be at the top of his or her game, all the time.”
Qualifying rounds will be hosted at the Bridgestone Leeuwenskloof facility on the following dates, limited to 65 vehicles:
21 February 2015
28 March 2015
18 April 2015
30 May 2015