Vasbyt:

Vasbyt events have become a popular spectator sport and our vision is to expand on this growth. Trax and Trails 4x4 Club is affiliated with the Namibia Motor Sport Federation (NMSF), and 4x4 Events are regulated as per the General Rules and Regulations of the Namibia Motor Sport Federation, e.g. Safety of the competitors, medical aid cover for dangerous sport, use of alcohol while competing (strictly prohibited), 3rd party insurance for officials and spectators etc.

The Namibia Motor Sport Federation must approve all the events. Events are day and night events with lots of entertainment for the spectators. Events hosted by T&T will be National Events with competitors from all over Namibia and even Competitors from neighboring countries. With the Vasbyt on 6 October this year, 12 Teams from South Africa competed as well.

 
Overview of the Vasbyt Classes:
  • Class A: Short wheel base 6 or 8 cylinder vehicles – vehicles without any modifications and without any advantage
  • Class B: Short wheel base 4 or 5 cylinder vehicles - vehicles without any modifications and without any advantage
  • Class C: Long wheel base 6 or 8 cylinder vehicles -- vehicles without any modifications and without any advantage
  • Class D: Long wheel base 4 or 5 cylinder vehicles -- vehicles without any modifications and without any advantage
  • Class E: Any vehicle as described in Class A to D, with any equipment which may give the competitor an advantage over other competitors. (diff locks, 4wheel steering, independent brakes)
  • Class F: Any modified heavy duty vehicles to light vehicles e.g. Unimogs
 
The history of 4x4 Vasbyt:

Vasbyt in Namibia (or South West Africa) started in 1988 when members of the SWA 4 Wheelers were on a 4x4 outing in Rundu. Out of nothing other than boredom they have decided to build a 4x4 obstacle course and challenge each other to see whose Jeep was the best. It was so great that they have decided to host a 4x4 event over Christmas at the coast.

It was a lot of fun and immediately something spectators just enjoyed to watch. It took awhile to get everything sorted out and the first real 4x4 event took place in December 1989. The first 5 obstacles took place at the moon landscape just outside of Swakopmund and the last 5 obstacles took place in the dunes at Langstrand (Between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund). During those years anyone with a 4x4 could enter without any additional safety features such as roll cages, 4 pin safety belts etc.

It was a big success and especially the dune stages and it was decided that it should be held every year. The big guns in those years were guys like Beitels Buitendach and Boetie Brand.

As time went by the organizers realized that the sport were getting more and more dangerous. With the December 1990 West Coast Vasbyt they have decided to implement stricter safety rules to ensure the safety of the participants as well as that of the spectators. Things like proper safety belts, roll cages and helmets were introduced. It was from the start a truly spectator sport with people camping alongside the dune obstacle “braaing” and have decent 4x4 excitement.

The 4x4 events were then rolled out to the inland and Vasbyte were hosted in towns like Otjiwarongo, Gobabis and later in Windhoek. The sport started to gain momentum and had at one stage on average 30 4x4’s competing.

Then in 1998 a Namibian team was invited to take part in a 4x4 Challenge in Robertson (South Africa). A group of 14 teams with family and friend went down to SA to compete in probably one of the biggest 4x4 events in SA. More than 55 teams did partake in the event. It was a grueling day between the South Africans and Namibians.

Back in Namibia the Windhoek Vasbyte started to draw less and less spectators. Windhoek at that stage hosted two events in a year and the spectators needed something new. Events that draw crowds of 1000 people were suddenly attended by as little as 200 spectators.

A newly established club “Trax and Trails 4x4 Club” then decided it was time for something new, new venue, different obstacles and different timing and the first day and night event was hosted. The club invested more than N$35,000 in lights to host the event. The event started at around 13:00 in the afternoon and continued until 22:00 in the evening. It was an immediate success and spectator numbers increase to 1500. It is a real family outing for the spectators.

Now for the first time ever 13 teams from South Africa will compete in Windhoek on the 6th October 2007 in a day and night event. This will certainly be a new chapter the history books of Vasbyt.

Thank you Trax and Trails 4x4 Club.

by Jan de Jager