2017 and time to kick off the new season of drifting, as we head down to Kimberly to catch all the action form Round01 of the National SupaDrift Series at Monstemob Raceway. We headed down to Kimberly the early Friday morning so we could catch the full days practice; as we’ve all been waiting for the first round for a few months now, and the series has not been back to Monstermob since 2015.This event would be a combination of the Western Cape Regional second event as well as the first event of the national series, meaning that the drivers would be gaining double points from that region, as this would add to their first round scores in the Regional, and then placing them into the first round of the Nationals. Needless to say the pit area was pretty much filled with the drivers from Cape Town, with a hand full of the Regional drivers making it to the first round. Sadly a few drivers could not make it due to some unfortunate circumstances, and this would have resulted in one of the largest group of cars to hit the track.

One of the drivers who were not able to race was former National Champion, Jason Webb, as we all hoped to see his 2017 drift machine, namely his Roush Ford Mustang 5.0. Fully custom built by himself and Matt from CVP & Smoke’m Garage… we have shared a little preview of his build with you in our current issue 188, and should be revealing the final chapter in issue 189, keep your eyes peeled for this one. Other driver who did not make the first event would be Mikey Skelton, Mathys Naude, Gavin Puren, Brendan Puren, Trevor Puren, Vic Pardal, Fayaaz Alibhai, Azgaar Raiden, Zein Raidan and Des Gutzeit.

With Fridays practice out the way, the drivers found the track surface to be seriously abrasive as they went through tyres like a kid in a candy store, only managing to get in about two to three runs, not a cheap exercise I tell you. The track layout had drivers pushing an entry speed of about 110km/h to 120km/h, kicking the clutch and power sliding into a long left had corner before switching to a short left then back to a sharp right corner and the switching once again to a short left onto a long left corner; this is where the massive wall run and the bellows on smoke came in. The rest of the track layout left hardly any massive smoke areas.

Saturday I walked through the pits once again to check out who still had their machines running and how many tyres they had abused during the Fridays practice. As usual I grabbed the two Liqui Moly pit girls Marizel and Amber and we got to snapping, stopping to take pics with the drivers and their cars. We had to get some with birthday boy Jean Mare and his newly sprayed Nissan s14, after all it was his birthday hahahaha… but no pit girl shots would be complete with stopping in at Sean February, a tradition we seemed to start last year, the whole Bra’se van die Kaap style ek se Aweh!!

Day two and driver had a long morning of practice before heading into qualifying at about 2:30pm. One by one they pitted their drift machines against the harsh surface to pull out their best runs and try getting those maximum qualifying point. With 28 drivers heading into qualifying only 16 drivers managed to get high enough points for the top 16, leaving a small field to run a Silver cup challenge. This would see Sean February go up against Clare Vale in the Silver cup final. In the second run, Clare Vale’s steering rack broke, which led to her loosing the front end and sliding into the dirt, handing the win over to Sean February.

Top 16 time, and this is where things started going sideways and not just in the drift sense, but for the drivers abilities. Now as most know, when a track surface gets cold it normally gets super slippery, however this is not the case at Monstermob’s track. When it gets cold, the surface gets a lot more grip, which is not ideal for drifting and drivers soon found out as they headed out against each other. When Chris Long and Juan Stemmet went out to battle, Juan found himself in all kinds of trouble at the initiation and found way too much grip and swung him into the tyre wall at about 110km/h writing his Nissan 200sx off.

This was just the first victim as Chris Landsberg found himself in the same situation as he went up against JP van der Spuy, luckily not such a bad accident and his car was saved. This however would see the top 8 driver call a driver meeting to make a decision on whether or not to carry on the event or come to a consensus to call the event. This would mean that all eight driver would finish off the the round with an equal 8th position and score a 8th position point going into round two, along with their qualifying points. Not all where too happy with the decision but as safety is our number one priority the call was made and the event ended early. Sad I know but this is racing for you, and I’m glad that no more driver and cars were injured.

So heading into Round02 Chris Long, Paolo Guevia, Shane Green, Shane Gutzeit, Otto Graven, JP van der Spuy, Daniel Blaser and Jim McFarlane will all start off with a 8th place along with their qualifying points. I know there will be a lot of controversy surrounded the final call and everyone is allowed to have his or hers opinion on the matter, and so be it. Hope to see all the drivers at the next event which will be at Dezzi Raceway 27th & 28th May, keep it safe, keep it sideways and as always keep it Supafly.