Friday, June 26, 2009

drifting in south africa

Saw something new…
by Pierre Martins

DSC_8304Small-1 The other day I spent a cold and windy Sunday at Midvaal Raceway helping a friend with a little Porsche 924 improve his lines and lap times, but that's not what I wanna talk about…

I saw some car control on the day that was quite awesome to say the least. Now, I've seen drifting on TV & U-tube before and I once saw a dude putting on a show at Wesbank Raceway by doing donuts whilst hanging halfway out of the car. He was good, but the speeds were kinda slow and I wasn’t all that impressed. Afterwards they told me that was “Spinning”, not proper “Drifting”.

DSC_8369Small Well, I’m happy to report that I witnessed proper high speed “Drifting” at Midvaal the other day and it’s very similar to what we called “Power Sliding” in the old days…

Saw some guy from Kimberley who answers to the name Otto Craven in a mega horse-power black Skyline driving Midvaal in the opposite, anti-clockwise direction. He'd come down the pit straight flat-out, pitch the car sideways at +/- 160km/h, hit opposite lock and steered with the throttle in a very, very, very spectacular manner…

At first I thought he was gonna crash, but wow, what control! The entry speed he carried into the first corner was simply mind-boggling, and the speed with which he flicked the car to opposite lock was something else. The car obviously made big power, but he toyed with it at will. Lots of noise and tyre smoke, but with absolute control and finesse. This dude knew what he was doing, period.

DSC_83422Small-1 There were a few other drift cars there as well, but none as impressive as Otto in his Skyline. He travelled all the way from Kimberley for the day to practice for an up-coming drifting event at Midvaal in the near future. I’m told that he’s been competing in drifting events all over the world, including the USA and that he owns a fleet of drift cars which includes not one, but two high-powered Nissan Skylines, a tweaked M3 CSL, a twin turbo E46 M3, a new Mustang and a supercharged 350Z with gas. Sounds like he’s serious about drifting, eh?

DSC_8298Small And the tyres? Hell, I thought my Porsche had an appetite for race tyres, but these guys went through a set of rear tyres every twelve laps or so. Every time they came in after a session their rear tyres were in tatters, literally. They must have generous tyre sponsors, I’m sure.

So there you have it, my first impressions of drifting in South Africa. I wonder what kinda budget I would need to do this in my Porsche? He-he-he, just kidding. Not really my my cup of tea, but I certainly see the attraction and I definitely have respect for the skill these guys have when it comes to car control.


You’ll find some more info on drifting in SA here:
Website for the home of drifting in Gauteng - The Rock Raceway. Host of the SADC series.
NDS Series homepage. Cape based National Series.
Kimberley based team / track.
Rock Raceway on Facebook
Monstermob's Youtube channel.

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