THE EXPERT’S CHOICE: Deon Venter (CEO of 4x4 Mega World)
As one of South Africa’s leading 4x4 and outdoor specialists, we often get questions about off-road tyres and why we use Coopers. My answer has always been the same: “Because they’re tough, reliable, and offer good value for money when you factor in the mileage they offer.
Our journey on Coopers started about 6 years ago. As most of our friends and customers know, the Venter family is mad about Cross Country Racing. But as you can expect, one of the greatest costs of this sport, are the tyres.
Of course, it doesn’t help that there are three of us (myself and two sons) racing behind the wheel. Not to mention that dedicated racing tyres are up to four times more expensive than any premium commercial brand.
We had to find an alternative.
After testing and comparing every Light Truck tyre on the market, we decided on Coopers for a variety of reasons. However, the feature that appealed to us most was the fact that their tyres had “square” sidewalls. It’s a critical quality in Cross Country Racing, where most of our punctures come from sidewall damage in the form of sticks and sharp stones. If you’ve got a tyre with a rounded (or bulging) sidewall, the problem is infinitely worse.
At first, the Cooper STT PROs were our chosen product, and although they worked well for us in terms of traction, we felt that, given the speeds we were travelling off-road, the tyre may be exposed to high-speed punctures between the large open voids within the mud-terrain design.
This brought us to the S/T MAXX, which offered amazing traction performance and puncture resistance. Incidentally, because of the sport’s rising costs, the rules governing Cross Country Racing were changed in 2016; making it compulsory for all competitors to use a standard production tyre. It was an interesting development, because, for the first time, all the major tyre brands were now present in Cross Country Racing, and one could immediately see what tyres could (and couldn’t) handle the extreme driving conditions.
That year, we won the SA championship on Cooper S/T MAXX tyres, out-performing the manufacturer-sponsored teams, too. Our choice of tyre unquestionably contributed to our success. The results opened my eyes, and I could immediately see that tyres were not all equal in terms of durability and performance.
These days, most of our Mega World vehicles are equipped with Coopers, and we’re comfortably getting 100 000km out of a set. Even more so, we now have zero replacement costs in terms of damaged tyres.
I know that the folks at Cooper have some form of mileage guarantee and insurance plan, but we’ve never needed to use it. We now replace all our company vehicle’s tyres with Coopers, the very same day that we take delivery of the bakkie.
You could argue that it’s a waste of mileage to ditch brand new factory tyres right away, but given the dangers of the road and obvious security hazards, I can’t in good conscious have our staff changing a tyre on the side of the road when I know there’s a tyre out there that offers supreme peace of mind. A tyre that’s not just “road tough”, but Cross Country Racing tough!
Deon Venter is the CEO of Desert Cool and the 4x4 Mega World group. He has been at the forefront of the South African 4x4 enthusiast market for more than 20 years, and was one of the first importers and fitment specialists of dedicated off-road accessories into South Africa. Today, he’s the group CEO of more than thirty 4x4 Mega World branches through out Africa, and an avid competitor and contributor to Cross Country Racing in SA.