Round Four of the National Supadrift series took place this past weekend at Aldo Scribante race circuit down in Port Elizabeth, the circuit that is said to be the fastest on the calendar; with entry speeds between 130km/h & 160km/h we can clearly see why they would say that.
Friday and Saturday morning would see the competitors take to the track to find the sweet spots between perfection and insanity, as for most of the drivers this would be the first time they would be hitting the track and pushing their cars to the limit, as they would race down the starting straight, get all the way up into 4th gear, and the attack the corner by yanking on the e-brake at highway speeds, only to turn the wheel right and slide around the the first rear clipping point. For some it was easier than others, as many a time the crowd was showered by a sand storm.
Needles to say the track did takes its toll on the drivers as some of the drivers had some damage to their cars, and could not make it all the way to qualifying; one such driver was Yaseem Damon from Cape Town who managed to break his motor and loose oil all over the track, which put a slight delay on the practice before heading into qualifying. It was good to see Clare Vale back on track and compete in a Supadrift National again, we missed her in the first three series, and was awesome to hear the roar of her Mustang around the track.
However the delay gave the drivers a little more time to get some tandem practice in before heading into first rounds of qualifying. Sadly this lead to Seb & Gordon Rich having to with draw as their car gave in on the last run; meaning Seb Rich could not race in the Pro1 series and his dad Gordon Rich could not qualify in the Pro series, much to both drivers disappointment and frustrations after just fixing their turbo from the day before.
With Qualifying out the way, there were only two drivers in the Pro1 series, Trevor Puren and Tinashe Bundo, both drivers battling with the high speed circuit, and battling to drift the full course, but that is why the Supadrift series introduced the Pro1 series this year, so as to give the grass routes drivers the full opportunity of drifting the same tracks the Pro drivers get to race on, with out having to be intimidated by the aggression of the Pro drivers. Both drivers ended up battling for podium, with Trevor Puren putting down a better run between the two, placing him first.
Pro series qualifying and this was where all the action was, with a few drivers actually bombing out on their first runs, but managing to make a come back on their second runs. Jono van Eyssen in the blue Nissan Silvia S15, who started the year off in the Pro1 series, managed to pull off the highest qualifying points of the day, upsetting the apple cart a little bit, followed shortly by Christopher Long, Zanil Satar and Jason Webb.
With only 12 drivers making it through to the Top 16, this meant the top four qualifiers would get bye runs in the their first tandems. Which left us with only four tandem runs in the Top16, namely Eric van Eyssen who went up against Mikey Skelton, both drivers putting down awesome runs; sadly Mikey had broken his front ball joints and ended up spinning out off the track. Hard times for Mikey as he had a lot of mechanical issues this year and this was his first time competing this season, this mean the race would got to Eric van Eyssen; which now meant he would have to face his son in the next round in the Top8’s…. dun dun duuuunn.
Dewit Oosthuizen met up with Jim McFarlane in their first battle, with Dewit being super aggressive in his runs, maybe too aggressive, with a tight battle between the two, judges awarded the win to Jim McFarlane. Armand “Chucky” Bronkhorst met Gavin Puren, with the win going to Gavin. David Rae would go up against Brendan Puren in their battle and the win went to Brendan. With Jono, Jason, Christopher, Jason and Zanil all getting their bye runs, this meant the Top8 would see some good tandems.
First up would be Father and Son, the Viking vs the Drift Trooper; with Jono taking the lead on the firs run, Eric battled to keep up, pushing his car a little too far on the second-to-last switch, which ended up pushing his car off track loosing the drift and pretty much loosing the battle, but the pure joy of being able to go up against his son in a Top8 was more than a podium win for him. Jason Webb would battle against Jim McFarlane, with a target on Jason’s back, Jim knew he had to pull out all the stops and not hold back. However as if fate would have it, in the same corner as fellow team mate Mikey Skelton, Jims lower control arms snapped sending Jim off the track and unable to continue, giving the win to Jason Webb.
In the battle between Zanil Satar and Brendan Puren, Brendan looked like he was about to over rotate in the initiation, and Zanil had come in hot, and just as Brendan continued with the drift, Zanil had found himself in Brendan’s door. This was not the end of the race however this lead to a OMT for both, with Zanil managed to make a comeback and take the win. Christopher Long found himself going up against Gavin Puren, with both drivers pulling off an epic first run, sadly Christopher ran bearing and was not able to continue.
As if the breakages was not enough of a challenge for the day, come quarter finals and finals the heavens decided to open up and the rain came down, turning what was already a difficult track into an ice rink for the drivers. With both MSA and Organisers deeming it safe enough to continue, the drivers would battle it which saw Jason Webb and Gavin Puren battle it out for 1st and 2nd, while Zanil Satar would battle it out for 3rd and 4th.
Finals turned from Supadrift to Drifitng on ice, as Zanil and Jono Battled it out, as they would slide around the course, both battling to maintain a perfect drift, making it harder on the judges to score at this point as the entry speeds and drift lines had to be adjusted by the drivers. Proving a little harder for Jono as he was not used to this form of drifting, handing the win over to Zanil and the 3rd spot on the podium. The track now was not just test of driver skills in a tandem, it had turned into a test of skill and adaption for the track. With Jason Webb going up against Gavin Puren in the final battle, both drivers being no stranger to drifting in the wet, Jason managed to put drift Gavin and take the win.
Your Podium as follows:
1st Trevor Puren
2nd Tenashi Bundo
1st Jason Webb
2nd Gavin Puren
3rd Zanil Satar
Driver of the day: Jono van Eyssen
Moooove of the day: Armand Bronkhorst