The latest round of the SupaDrift Regionals competition went down at the Killarney Oval at the weekend, delivering the kind of blinding action and smoke-filled entertainment we’re starting to expect from this fast-growing motorsport.
The battle lines were drawn tight, with drivers now more accustomed to the track and better informed as to the setups required for this fast entry oval.
As always, we have the V8 sheer krag machines on one side and the turbo terrors on the other. And each driver will tell you just why his choice is the way to approach this sport.
Qualifying saw 13 drivers enter, with one or two mishaps. Last year’s champ Daniel Blaser picked up a bearing knock in his 2jz powered Nissan S13. But he pulled it tight, basically borrowing a street 350z and making a determined effort to get his participation points.
Jason Webb was absent due to his participation in international competitions, and Shane Green and his BMW were also notably absent (Shane is apparently preparing a BMW E36 with a 2jz motor).
Faheem Salie, on the other hand, was welcomed back following repairs to his Toyota Supra (it has been a bit of an ongoing thing for Faheem this year as he gets his new car properly tweaked).
To make it through to the next rounds, a score of 46 points or more is required, and round three of the series saw eight drivers in make the grade.
Log leader Juan Stemmet drove his V8 powered S13 just that little bit too hard, blowing a motor and giving Chris Long the win. Izak van Zyl won driver of the day but his box Toyota could not match Faheem Salie’s rocket ship of a Supra.
Judge and organiser Brenton Gregory says: “Izak came from gymkhana, and has a lot of precision to his driving as a result, putting the car on point every time.”
Jacques Lemmer, well-known for putting huge proximity pressure on the other driver, drove Yaseen Damon off the edge. Yaseen lost a bumper and Jacques progressed into the top four. Noer Asmodien took the win over Aqil Parker.
In the semifinals, Jacques won the chase with Chris Long, and then the big battle came between the Supras as Noer Asmodien battled it out with Faheem Salie. Salie pulled a little too much angle, putting two wheels off the track and handing Noer the win.
So, the final saw Noer versus Jacques. Turbo power and a 2jz versus V8 muscle, the showdown between Noer’s style and Jacques’ technical prowess. The battle was a close one at that, with no obvious outcome until the judges announced the winner of round three as Jacques Lemmer. Faheem smoked up every corner of the track as he took third place from Chris Long.
Bobby Nitro first spoke to Jacques about drifting maybe eight years ago, before the sport was even on the map. Brenton echoes this, saying: “Jacques has been there from day one, and the only style he knows is trying to put tyre marks on the other guy’s door.”
Jacques has to agree, telling Bobby Nitro: “People say my driving style is aggressive. My mechanic keeps telling me to keep a bit of distance when I’m following. I agree, but when I get out there and the adrenaline is running, I just can’t help but get as close as it humanly possible.”
This earns points, but is risky because when the other driver falters, Jacques is too close to correct and contact earns serious penalties.
Jacques has been labelled the Comeback Kid after his two-year absence from the sport. He says: “I’m stoked with the win, as it’s my second event after two years. The competition is tight, especially the finals. Noer and that powerful Supra were right on me when I was leading, and following Noer was challenging as he gets a bigger angle in a strong car.”
That said, Jacques is a dedicated V8 man. He says: “With the big motor the power’s always there. With a turbo, you have got to stay in the boost. Plus, maintenance is easier with a V8 and last but definitely not least, I love the sound, it makes me mad.”
Bobby spoke briefly to Noer, who was preparing for this weekend’s nationals. He admitted there was no shame in losing to Jacques, saying: “Jacques is a seasoned driver, and the finals were tough. I made the mistake of going out there on a set of borrowed tyres that I didn’t know.” And he adds, with the kind of competitive spirit this sport has come to know well, “I wonder what the outcome will be next time.”
Noer and Brenton both spoke of how the calibre of the regional competition is so close to that of the nationals. Noer says: “For starters, we have national champion Jason Webb in the regionals, so we’re up against the best.” Beat Jason and the boasting rights are huge.
Judge Brenton adds: “With the national drivers in, the local okes are out to prove a point, and this comes across in no-holds barred driving.”
Bobby asked Brenton what advice he has for people who want to get into the sport. He says: “I suppose the best example is Raymond Hearn and his Toyota Cressida. It’s a nice long car, there are many available in the Cape, and it’s easy to learn in. Just put a 1jz or 2jz motor in, a roll cage, and come down to Killarney for monthly practice. Contact SupaDrift Western Cape Regionals on Facebook and we’ll help you out.”