TAK­ING THE EX­TREME ROUTE

Tri­ton Ex­treme to Brakke­duine

Road Trip - - CON­TENTS - Story by Ferdi de Vos | Cap­tured by Ryan Ab­bott

So, if you are from the Eastern or South­ern Cape you will need to travel all the way to Atlantis in the West­ern Cape, Wit­sand Na­ture Re­serve in North­ern Cape or to Namibia for a camp­ing week­end where you can do some dune driv­ing too. Right?

Wrong. About 34 km from Hu­mans­dorp and just 12 km from pic­turesque Oys­ter Bay there is a gor­geous camp­site right next to the Klip­drift Dam with ac­cess to a sand and dune trail that will chal­lenge even the most highly ex­pe­ri­enced 4x4-en­thu­si­asts.

Visi­tors to Brakke­duine also have ac­cess to the dam for fish­ing, boat­ing and ski­ing and the camp­site has hot show­ers and flush toi­lets, with power sup­ply points and por­ta­ble braais at each site. Run by the Lind­ström fam­ily, Brakke­duine is ideal for a week­end break with the whole fam­ily, and the ideal base to ex­plore the lovely sur­rounds, in­clud­ing Oys­ter Bay.

LIM­ITED EDI­TION

For our visit to Brakke­duine to sam­ple the ameni­ties and ex­pe­ri­ence the dune trail, we de­cided to take the rugged-look­ing Tri­ton Ex­treme, a lim­ited edi­tion de­riv­a­tive of the Tri­ton range and Mit­subishi’s an­swer to the Ford Ranger FX4 and Raptors, and Toy­ota’s Hilux Black Edi­tion.

It is the fourth lim­ited edi­tion re­leased by Mit­subishi since the Xtreme nomen­cla­ture was first in­tro­duced in the mid­dle 1990s as part of the pop­u­lar Colt bakkie range. Since then, it has be­come syn­ony­mous with the Ja­pa­nese brand.

The per­son­alised bakkie is a lo­cal de­vel­op­ment which, ac­cord­ing to Mit­subishi, adds over R60,000 worth of ad­di­tional fea­tures and ac­ces­sories as part of its dis­tinc­tive, fac­tory-in­stalled body kit.

How­ever, the body kit costs a mere R20,000 more than the listed re­tail

price of the stan­dard Tri­ton dou­ble-cab de­riv­a­tive it is fit­ted to. And with its bold black pan­els and ac­ces­sories it cer­tainly looks the part…

The Xtreme kit con­sist of bonnet guards, a unique grille and fog lamps, front and rear light guards, wheel arch cov­ers, front and rear door han­dle pro­tec­tion cov­ers, branded scuff plates, heavy-duty rub­ber mats, a ton­neau cover, a style bar, tail­gate cover and fuel flap cover, as well as at­trac­tive black and chrome al­loy wheels shod with Cooper Ad­ven­turer All-ter­rain tyres.

The kit’s bold de­sign re­ally made the Xtreme stand out as we made our way to­wards Hu­mans­dorp on the N2 and the R102. Even with the ag­gres­sively styled Coop­ers, fit­ted road noise was neg­li­gi­ble and the power de­liv­ery from the ad­vanced 2.4-litre MIVEC tur­bod­iesel en­gine, cou­pled to a slick-shift­ing sixspeed auto trans­mis­sion. was smooth and ef­fort­less.

SAND GA­LORE

After pass­ing wind­farm after wind­farm, with lit­er­ally pla­toons of wind tur­bine blades swish­ing in the light wind, we turned off onto the gravel road to­wards Oys­ter Bay. Even on the un­even sur­face the Tri­ton felt sta­ble and planted, and we

made such good progress that we nearly missed the turnoff to­wards Palmi­etvlei.

After turn­ing left, we fol­lowed the road for two kilo­me­tres be­fore spot­ting the Brakke­duine sign. Chop­pie Lind­ström was on hand to wel­come us and showed us around the beau­ti­ful green camp­site and the wor­ry­ingly empty dam, be­fore ush­er­ing us into a well-equipped A-frame chalet, our abode for the night.

We en­joyed sup­per in Oys­ter Bay, watch­ing the chokka boats pre­par­ing for their nightly for­ays, be­fore re­turn­ing to Brakke­duine and turn­ing in for the night.

Early the next morn­ing we met Chop­pie at the dam, start­ing point of the 14 km cir­cu­lar trail with a three to five dif­fi­culty grad­ing, and after de­flat­ing the tyres, we fol­lowed him on a scenic drive through nat­u­ral for­est in our Xtreme. We soon hit the sand, and the driv­ing got tricky and tech­ni­cal. How­ever, I was se­cure in the knowl­edge that the Xtreme’s im­ported body kit of­fered ad­di­tional pro­tec­tion against su­per­fi­cial dam­age on off-road ex­cur­sions Turn­ing the ro­tary knob to ac­ti­vate the Su­per Se­lect II sys­tem, I chose the 4HLC (4WD High range with cen­tre dif­fer­en­tial locked) to im­prove trac­tion on the sandy as­cents and de­scents.

With a few sharp turns thrown in for good mea­sure, I had to rely on the Tri­ton’s 430Nm of low-down torque and 133 kw of power to over­come a few nail-bit­ing as­cents, with no view of the track ahead. How­ever, the Xtreme was han­dling it all with rel­a­tive ease, and up to that point there was no need to take an es­cape route or use the sit-out op­tion.

The fur­ther the trail pro­gressed, the more dif­fi­cult it be­came, and soon we reached Lang­bult, a steep dune with no run-up avail­able to build that much­needed mo­men­tum. Even in low-range my first at­tempts up the dune were fu­tile, but after de­flat­ing the tyres a bit more and some ad­vice from Chop­pie on the ideal line of ap­proach, the Xtreme lit­er­ally ran over the dune…

Lang­bult is also a per­fect lunch spot where the not-so-ad­ven­tur­ous can sit out in the sun­shine to watch oth­ers tackle the se­ri­ous ob­sta­cles. Some more roller­coaster dunes fol­lowed on the way back to­wards the dam, and by this time I firmly un­der­stood why the 4x4 guys re­fer to the dune trail at Brakke­duine with re­spect.

The Ex­treme was more than up to the task, tes­ti­mony to the be­spoke 4WD sys­tem and smooth en­gine de­vel­oped by Mit­subishi…

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