Supadrift round 5 took place this weekend down at Dezzi Raceway in Port Shepstone; I headed down to Durban on the Thursday evening so I could get the full day of practice in on the Friday, as this event had a little more to it than just the Semi-final round.
As an added bonus to the launch of the Gymkhana GRiD, three time rear wheel GRiD Champion Luke Woodham would be joining in on the weekends racing, not only as guest, but Luke would be joining in and competing in the weekends event too. With a rented Nissan 200SX (with a similar set up to his current JapSpeed / Monster Energy 200sx) Luke headed out on to track to lay down some rubber. With a few mechanical gremlins on the Friday, he did not get in as many runs as he would have liked to.
Fridays practice did not seem to go down well for Jason Webb in his Monstang either. During practice Jason was having a pretty good run, dialing in some much needed angle and running in the new clutch, when during his second last run of the day, while doing a tandem with Eric “the Viking”, tragedy struck and Jason had to make a call between T-boning Eric and running the wall… sadly Jason’s attempt to correct an under-steering and side impact with Eric, saw him crash his Monstang into the tyre wall and writing his car off. Now normally in this situation Jason’s dad, Speedy, along with Malcolm would work through the night, hammering, cutting and welding to get the car back on track; however Speedy did not want to take the risk this time, and Jason’s shot at the championship looked like it was out the window.
But this is Supadrift and here competitors are more than just faceless people behind a helmet, behind a wheel of a race car, and soon Jason had several offers to assist with fixing the Monstang or lending them him a spare car. One such individual was Mikey Skelton; who during the days practice was looking pretty good, stood up and said he was pretty far on the leader board for the championship and would not want to see Jason out and gave Jason the keys to his Rockford Fosgate 350Z and said get it done bud. Now I’m not sure a lot of other drivers in motorsport would actually do that, and this is what I love about drifting… the fact that Supadrift is a family.
Saturday… and time for everyone to put on their game faces and get some much needed practice in as judges had changed up a few of the clipping points for the drivers to get in the right amount of speed and angle to put on the best runs for the crowds and get those much needed points for the semi-finals. Before the qualifying rounds, Monster Energy held their “Drum Dash” which is a chance for Supadrift drivers to win a Golden Ticket to compete against some of the world’s best Gymkhana drivers at the Gymkhana GRiD finals at Carnival City in November. With tips from current 4wheel Champ Riku Tahko from Finland and rear wheel champ Luke Woodham from the U.K., drivers went out one by one against the clock to secure their spots. With Luke Woodham setting a qualifying time, the drivers needed to bring their A-game. With the Golden Tickets going to Eric “the Viking” van Eyssen and Paolo Gouveia Senior.
Drum Dash out the way, and time for qualifying… as drivers pushed their cars around the circuit to get maximum points, as not only did they count for the day, but they count towards their final points for the finals at Carnival City 29th and 30th September, with top qualifying points going to Jason Webb on the day, and Luke Woodham qualifying in 7th… not too shabby. With only 16 drivers qualifying for the Top 16, a short silver cup was held with four drivers, and with Armand Bronkhorst in his Mazda Rx7 taking the win.
Top 16 saw several championship runs, with close calls and several OMT’s the Judges had their hands full with making the right calls all the way up to Top 8 battles and into the Final 4. Some of the best battle of the days had to be Paolo Gouveia Jnr versus Luke Woodham, with Luke just clipping the front clipping point in his lead battle giving the win to Paolo. The battle between Riaan Stokes and Eric van Eyssen, with a OMT, just nudging Eric out giving the win to Riaan.
The “Final 4” battles where top quality runs too, with Jason Webb going up against Jim Mc Farlane and Gavin Puren going up against Paolo Gouveia Jnr, with the wins going to Jim and Gavin, pitting Jason and Paolo against each other for the battle for third; a tough battle too close to call for the judges leading them to call a One More Time, as Jason and Paolo battled it out once more, Jason’s close proximity in the final run gave him the upper hand and the win.
Final battle would see Jim Mc Farlane in his Nissan 350Z versus Gavin Puren in his Toyota Soarer, with both drivers putting down some impressive runs on the day, Jim Mc Farlane managed to best Gavin’s runs in the finals and judges awarded a well-deserved win to Jim Mc Farlane.
Your Podium for Round 05:
1st. Jim Mc Farlane
2nd. Gavin Puren
3rd. Jason Webb
Silver Cup: 1st. Armand Bronkhorst
Driver of the Day: Carl Werner
See you all next time at the finals in Gauteng at Carnival City, 29th & 30th September, till then keep its safe, keep it sideways and as always keep it SUPAFLY!!