Zandile Mbabela and Bobby Cheetham
JUST because he is too young to drive on public roads does not mean he cannot drive, an East London schoolboy has proved.
Bradley Schreiber, 11, knocked the stuffing out of more experienced adult drivers when he managed to finish third overall with 521 points, behind Antonie Swart (603) and Richard Pook (561), at the 11th annual Isuzu 4x4 Challenge in Kirkwood at the weekend.
Confident in his VW Beetle pipe car, Bradley effortlessly tackled many of the obstacles on the off- road course, getting high scores in almost all of them.
Some of his competitors were much older and more experienced drivers, including professionals who run 4x4 driving academies.
"It feels so good to be at the same sort of level as the older guys and to know I’m almost as good as them,” Bradley said yesterday.
The event – organised by the Eastern Cape 4x4 Club – saw 50 vehicles participating in a variety of classes.
Bradley competed in the D-class – with two-wheel-drive buggies competing against 4x4s – where he also came third.
Following in father Mike’s footsteps, the youngster, who has been driving go-karts and motorbikes since he was five years old, said he hoped for a lengthy career in off- road racing.
"I love off-road. It’s fun and a great workout for the brain because you need to figure out how to approach and get over an obstacle,” he said.
"I also enjoy that I get to spend a lot of time with my dad because he loves this.” Mike Schreiber has been competing in motorsport for the last 10 years.
The competition was Bradley’s first major one and many were gob- smacked by his achievements.
Eastern Cape 4x4 Club chairman and event organiser Francois Schellingerhout lauded the Grade 7 Hudson Park Primary School pupil’s achievement.
"Coming third in his class was quite an achievement – he was the youngest in that category,” he said,
"He is fantastic and has a bright future ahead of him in motorsport.
"Although his dad helps him along, he shies away from too much help and prefers to figure things out himself.”
While some adults sometimes battle with concentrating for long periods on the course, Schreiber was amazed at his son’s ability to do so.
"We’re so proud of him. He is so energetic about this and I find it amazing that, at his age, he is able to concentrate like that,” he said.
Bradley, who also plays rugby and cricket, started driving cars and bakkies two years ago and is in no real hurry to get his driver’s licence.
"There are still another five years before I can get my learner’s licence, so, in the meantime, I will continue doing off-road driving,” he said.
Preparations for the big event saw Bradley driving at friends’ farms and creating makeshift obstacles with "tyres left lying around”.
Schellingerhout said driver skills and vehicle capabilities were put to the test when drivers navigated their vehicles through 10 tough obstacles.