SWEET STUFF THAT’S MADE OF DONUTS AND SLALOMS [DrivenCrazy Gymkhana Round 2]

Equestrian for Motorsports
The tranquil environment at the Punggol Marina Country Club was rudely interrupted, as the screaming roar of engines and blurring speed of participants’ machines ripped through the large open space car park, much to the awe and amusement of spectators and on-lookers. Passerbys and participants were treated to a spectacular sight of performance vehicles, shredding rubber and completing handbrake turns.

Driven till Crazy
The skies opened onto the North Eastern territory of Singapore on that very Sunday, as DrivenCrazy Singapore held its second DrivenCrazy Gymkhana event on the 9th of December 2012. Even as it continued to shower, the management of DrivenCrazy Singapore pressed on, laying cone after cone under the dark and bellowing rain clouds that threatened to postpone the event.
Much to the relief of early participants and staff, the rains eventually subsided, allowing staff to finish laying the course’s figure 8s, slaloming section and the challenging S course, as Driven’s Joel drove the van to his best ability around the initial circuit layout, much to the amusement of on-lookers. Not only were the staff armed with traffic cones, they were equipped with brooms and brushes as they swept away at excess debris and sand that would pose as a threat to participants who would be pushing their machines to the very limit. How thoughtful indeed.


Course Layout

Van on track!

Some Brawl and plenty of Brains
Gymkhana is the precise art of maneuvering a vehicle in tight spaces, dealing with on-the-fly decisions and relatively quick thinking. The objective of it all is getting through the course’s makeshift obstacles in the shortest time possible with minimal error.
While horsepower plays an important part in keeping the times down, a great memory of the course is an all-essential skill that will reduce mistakes and the possibility of taking an extra turn! To add to the challenge of the basic principles of gymkhana, not only must grip driving be applied, a series of e-braking and even drifting techniques must be utilized in order to effectively reduce time wastage trying to navigate tight corners by finding ample space to turn in.


Champion car!

Champion Driver!

The Role Call
The list of participants was not exhaustive, though it had a good spread of machines, lest the 4WD platform, a Lancer Evolution whose owner sadly, was unable to make it due to last minute commitments. Surprisingly, the particular machine that made most of the number present was the Honda S2000, a naturally aspirated, rear-wheel driven roadster that makes a healthy 240 horsepower, thanks to its chirpy F-series VTEC powerplant. The Honda roadster’s other counterpart was the Mazda MX-5 series. Believe it or not, the full MX-5 generation lineup was present, from the NA model to the NC model! The gymkhana was graced by the presence of Malaysian Gymkhana expert Chris Chong, who came down specially for the event in his Mazda MX-5 NA6. The host himself, Joel also took part in the event, driving his own Mazda MX-5 NB8. Other notable models included the agile, lightweight Lotus Exige S and a European exotic Porsche Boxster. The event was not only limited to FR machines, as Honda’s FF camp of Honda Civics and an Integra Type R was present to tackle the gymkhana! While it might seem unbelievable, a single Chevrolet Spark participant registered himself for the gymkhana as well! Now that’s something to speak about!


Queuing up for the start

Auto NC, great driving!

Walking Down Memory Lane…
As the asphalt started to relinquish its earlier retained moisture, participants were brought out for a walkabout on the circuit, with diagrams in hand to memorise the track layout. Much needed advice was given to participants on how to tackle each particular corner, as they walked from the start to the finish.
Practice runs started soon after, with instructors in tow to help participants as they swerved and navigated the circuit precariously on their first few initial attempts. It is no easy feat, since there is no particular route, unlike that of a circuit to follow. Racing lines had to be improvised for each vehicle platform, as participants struggled with the initial feel of the circuit and the memorized route.


ITB goodness

Old girl, still at it!

Twisting, Turning, Maneuvering
Soon after, FR owners were starting to feel adventurous, as they threw their cars around the donut cone that lay in the middle of the circuit. Power-overs, e-braking was soon deployed to quickly navigate that section. Timing was everything, as precise footwork played an important part in clearing the figure 8 with low-speed over-steer and minimal counter to find a less-obtrusive line into the next section.
What really had competitors wide-amazed was when the humble Chevrolet Spark took to the stage. Throwing his vehicle into the corners with absolutely no fear on stock suspension and tires, Ek Goh showed his bigger cc-opponents that it took more than just brute power and memory to finish the course with pure gutsy style. Now that’s something you don’t see every day, a Chevy on 3 wheels!
As the number of practice rounds depleted into the scorching afternoon, drivers were quickly getting acquainted with the course, attempting to tackle the S course in a higher gear, shooting down the only straightway in full throttle, only to late brake and navigate a final chicane before turning down the finishing line. As timings started to reduce drastically, the Punggol residents and even Marina Club members started to crowd around, wanting to get a glimpse of what the noise and acrid smell of burning rubber was all about.


3 wheels all day!

more 3 wheels

Type R power!

Gentlemen, start your engines
As the afternoon ticked by, it was that moment when the timed runs were recorded for competitive purposes. This was it; kid gloves off, as competitors soared across the melting asphalt, armed with what knowledge and lines they had derived from the numerous practice runs that they had completed earlier. Should a competitor hit a cone or graze it, the run will be penalized with additional seconds added onto the total timing recorded at the end of each run.
It was no easy feat, even with many runs made previously. A handful of competitors made errors as they fought the afternoon heat, shifting their vehicles’ weight, braking and accelerating under the stresses of time and constant perspiration. Some made additional donut turns, while others missed a line completely, having to go back and finish it. In the end, it was a game of endurance, as run after run was completed for the fastest average time of the event.
With years of experience and knowledge, it was little surprise that Chris Chong took the title of the fastest man of the event. Skillfully taking advantage of the roadster’s lightweight ability, Chris reigned over the rough asphalt and narrow path of traffic cones to glory, effectively sealing off any thoughts that the winner’s trophy could still be fought for.


Top German engineering!

nifty and quick!

Sweet 9000rpms

super nimble driver

Co-driver holding on tight!

Give me more Oversteer!

Clunky box!

Even good things have to come to an end…
As dusk slowly crept up, the exhausted but contented faces of perspiration and sun-scorched skin brimmed throughout, as prizes were given out to each participant, personally handed by Joel himself. However, the event was not over for Driven Singapore, as they packed up tentages and cones around the makeshift circuit. Indeed, it was a tiring but extremely fulfilling session for the Driven Singapore crew, having successfully hosted an event and witnessing the happy faces that participants wore, washed mental fatigue away almost completely. No man went home empty handed, as every participant learnt something new about their cars and their limits.


Champion!

Handful of Prizes!

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