We headed off to Polokwane this past weekend for the second round of the National Supadrift series; a first for the series as they had never ventured to the Province before for a National.
I got the track late Friday evening so missed out on all the practice on the day, but was welcomed by dusty cars in the pits, and war stories to go with the dirt baths. I walked through the pits in the evening to count the entries for the event and was surprised by the amount of cars that had made their way all the way out to Polokwane; drivers like Chris Long who had made the trip all the way up from Cape Town, as well as all the drivers who made it up from KZN too.
Saturday morning I got to walk the pits again and got to see who else made their way to the track and once again was good to see familiar faces and cars that we haven’t seen in while. Polokwane being the Copper’s back yard it was great to see the whole team out in force as they brought along four cars to compete in the days event, which added another four drivers to the list bringing the total of the Pro’s up to 23 and the Pro1 manged to get Four drivers in.
Pro1 is a new part of the National Drift series, which is basically the “grass roots” class, a class which was created for up and coming drivers who want to get seat time and get better so they too can complete against the Pro series drivers in the near future. This way the drivers get to experience what it takes to compete and also have their own competitive racing to grow their skill levels. A awesome way to cut your teeth, a lot easier on the driver compared to going up against the likes of previous series champions.
Polokwane’s track was most definitely not set up for drifting as drivers found out the hard way, with tight corners and a narrow track surface, drivers found themselves put their cars in the dirt several times as they went “farming” in the high power zones. The track layout would see drivers pull the e-brake at about 90km/h into a long narrow right turn, with an aggressive switch to a shallow chicane into a rear clip, and short left around a front clip, into a long rear clip zone, and a aggressive switch back into a tight front clip zone pushing them out to the finish line. These clip zones saw a lot of the drivers put their tyres into the dirt, which gave spectators an epic cloud combination of smoke and dirt.
With practice out the way it was time for drivers to head into Qualifying, and with the track being pretty hard on the cars the Pro1 only saw three of the four cars compete, which lead to them only holding a battle for First and Second in the final day of comp. This saw Trevor Puren go up against Tinashe Bundo, with Trevor Puren taking the win; and as Adrian Brokhorst broke his car, Melanie van der Merwe (only woman driver) took third.
Pro session, saw only 15 drivers make the necessary points to make it through to comp, once again the track lead to a lot of driver errors and the drivers fell short of the 45points they needed to make it through. With top qualifying points going to Zanil Satar (aka HoneyZ), followed by Shane Gutzeit and Jason Webb.
Top 15 drivers battled it out for their spots in the Top8, the tandems on the track left the spectators breathless as the track layout lead to close quarter tandems, with drivers in each others doors, some drivers a little too close. Drivers like Zanil Satar and Gavin Puren who made serious contact in their semi final battle, leaving Gavin Puren without a front bumper and Zanil with a damaged control arm; a problem that he would only find out in his battle for third against Shane Gutzeit.
In the battle for Third between Shane Gutzeit and Zanil Satar, Zanil went off track after initiation and broke his control arm, leaving him unable to carry on and compete against Shane; not the way Shane wanted to take the win, and not the way the crowd wanted to end the day either, as we were all looking forward to the smoke show and door to door tandem these drivers put on.
The final battle of the day would see Gavin Puren go up against Jason Webb, both these drivers having the longest cars to go around this narrow track, kinda like trying to fit a size 11 foot into a size 9 shoe, that’s how tight these two cars are around this track. Both drivers pushing the envelope as they took to the track, first run saw Jason lead and Gavin give chase, with Jason just out running Gavin leaving a bit of a gap in the proximity. Second run would see Gavin lead and Jason chase, with Jason pretty much knocking on Gavin’s door I’m sure his cockpit was not only filled with his tyre smoke, but the winning sound of that Roush powered motor too. Both runs being absolutely insane, and proof why these two drivers were in the final. But with the judges final telling of the points, the win went to Jason Webb, giving him back-to-back wins in the series so far.
Be sure to make your way down to Dezzi Raceway on the 29th/30th June for Round3.
YOUR TOP16 LEADER BOARD BREAK DOWN: