02
Jun

Chairmans Newsletter May 2022

Dear 4×4 Friends!

The winter has really come early this year – but the cold weather has not been able to dampen the warmth of being part of the FWDCSA family!

Herewith a few thoughts looking back at the month that was …. May brought the winter – much earlier than most of us wanted but at least compensated with a spectacular moon eclipse on the 16th.

The social media strategy that Craig is driving for us is paying dividends in spades – we have tracked 400,000+ views across Facebook and Instagram during April, recently launched our own TikTok channel, we even had a spot on the Travel Show on Mix FM (93.8) and Craig, and his team of wizards are busy revamping our website as well! More eyes lead to action – the Adventure Afrika Magazine contacted us to do articles for even more publicity, a lot more interest has been shown in Club events and we had a bumper attendance at the May Open Day.

You can look forward to a lot more. Our May Open Day was a huge success: a very brief, but interesting, talk by Craig on social media, followed by Geoff that spoke about different types of 4 x 4 vehicles. Dorota’s “Treasure Hunt Mini Rally” was loads of fun and enjoyed by everyone that took part. The camp site was full – a sight for sore eyes! I really hope that we can sustain this into and through the colder months of the year. We were also entertained with a recovery that took place when some eager 4×4 enthusiasts “drowned” their Toyota Prado … and had to be recovered by “another” vehicle brand! Not a good weekend for the Toyotas … at least the bar was well supported – which makes you wonder if it was related to the unfortunate incident?

Having so many new faces at the Club on Open Day brought new members: Clive and Stuart Murray joined, and we welcome previous members, Mike Knox and Gerrie Nel, back into the fold. We look forward to a chat and beer next to a campfire. There were numerous other requests to apply for membership and we hope that they will also come through. Going forward, we want to see if we can setup a “Welcome Committee” that will take special care of new-comers or just those that want to come and see what the hype is about. This would entail
meeting everyone at the door, identifying new people and seeing that they are “integrated into the crowd” and cared for throughout the day. This will include inviting them to braai with us and meeting the rest of the clan. We are going to look at doing the Saturday-braai up near the Club House, in order to get more people together … rather than going down to the campsite, where people tend to congregate in smaller (“exclusive”) groups. Please support this initiative – and make a friend that can become a member of our family.

May also saw the “Bush to Beach” outing that Dave McMurdie led from the Kruger National Park through Mozambique to the beautiful shores of Bilene from 7 to 15 May. Another trip was led by John Runciman around Kabega, which apart from John falling ill, was a huge success. We look forward to the trip reports and maybe even a short talk at an Open Day (?). More outings are being planned for the rest of the year – the next one going to the Baviaan’s Kloof in the Easter Cape, led by John Runciman from 23 to 28 July. Look out for the promo that has already gone out. It is limited but may be repeated if there is enough interest around September.

On Monday, 23 May, we connected with our “other” national family members in the other branches of the FWDCSA in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal – chaired by KZN (Charles and Kevin).

Unfortunately, Midlands and Eastern Cape could not make it. At this stage it is still rather informal, but we aim to foster closer ties between all the branches, share information and look at leveraging resources to everyone’s benefit. One such initiative, is to look at how we can leverage our FWDCSA website – which has received accoladed all around -to the benefit of the other branches -which we will take up with our Marketing and PRO Portfolio to see how we drive it forward. In general, it is great to see that the larger family is pulling together – and that we will always be welcome wherever we travel in South Africa!

Over the weekend of 28 and 29 May, Geoff Joubert and John Middleton presented their ever- popular Driver- and Recovery Training. This was a major success! We had 13 people attending on the Saturday for Driver Training and 14 on Sunday for Recovery Training. This included people that found the event on Facebook, friends of friends and some special guests: Michael Catterson from Mix FM (93.8) and a friend attended part of the Driver Training, whereafter John took them around the course – great excitement! This led to some invaluable airtime on the “Travel Tuesdays with Mike and Sam” show on the radio station. (The radio clip was posted on the WhatsApp group.)
It was also a bitter-sweet occasion, as this was Uncle Geoff’s last presentation of the Driver Training… and it was memorable! On behalf of the Club, I would like to thank Uncle Geoff for all the years of dedication and the immense value that he brought to each member that attended his courses and valuable lessons learnt. Going forward, John Runciman will bring a new dynamic to the training, Which I am sure, will be just as fantastic.

Open Day in June will be on Saturday the 11th and we are looking forward to hosting more members who are willing to brave the cold! The programme for to the day has been done, so keep a lookout for the promo and invite your friends. We remain weary and careful of the COVID virus … as well as this terrible flu that is doing the rounds and therefore maintain what’s required not to spread it further. This is going to be rather interesting, as we have a speaker that will enlighten us on “gas”- powered vehicles and have one that will allow us a peek under the bonnet.

This month I would like to introduce you all to one of our most energetic and enthusiastic offroad
Committee members: Dorota Maskowicz.

After Dianne Theron, she holds the distinction of only being the second lady in 50 years to be on the Committee – I hope this will be the start of a more diverse committee! She brings fresh ideas and a new drive to the Events Portfolio … and by the “character” displayed on her vehicle is not scared to participate in any! Dorota works hard at making sure that each Open Day is interesting and entices current and potential new members to share the “Base 4 Experience”. If you have any ideas that you would like to share, please speak with her.

I am also very pleased to announce that Andrew Maier has joined the Committee in the Maintenance portfolio.

This is a key portfolio that requires all our support – both financially and by lending hands and taking part in the “maintenance weekends and days”. A maintenance day was held on Monday, 2 May, with quite a few members joining to move the main DB board at one of the doors to the Club (much safer now), whilst some members trimmed trees and cleared the 4×4 track and the ladies fixed up the pictures within the club house. Four new benches have also been installed: for which we must thank Andrew, Dave Nixon and Noel Thompson for their generous contribution towards the cost of the benches.

Thank you to everyone that has contributed to the Dave Bostwick Fund. We are still a long way off from where we want to be, in order to make a meaningful contribution to his medical bills. Any donations will be hugely appreciated. Please engage with Karl, Noel Thompson or me for details on how you can contribute. On the Bar in the Club House there is a green bottle for your change and
spare cash … every penny helps.

Unfortunately, I need to remind everyone of the continuing problem with crime in the Rhenosterspruit Conservancy wherein Base 4 lies. Several violent incidents have taken place over the past month including murders, robberies and other crimes. Members are encouraged not to camp alone and at least always be in a group of two or more. Local residents have started their own patrols and are using green lights to identify themselves – should you run into them. Also, be aware that the metro police seem to be targeting 4×4 vehicles that drive in the area over weekends on the main routes. It seems like they are out to elicit bribes on the back of intimidating people under the pretence of driving under the influence of alcohol. We do not promote driving under the influence of alcohol generally and do not permit it on our own 4×4 track. The best way to avoid this, is of course to camp over on a Saturday and rather leave the next morning!

Please keep safe … rubber-side down – and see you in June!

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