There’s always something exciting going down at the national drift series, and round six last weekend was no different.
Hosted at Carnival City in Joburg, the place famous for having the largest playing floor in the southern hemisphere where high rollers come to play the odds, the penultimate round of the 2016 season was no different.
Organiser Mikey Skelton says: “The addition of Redbull Mazda’s Mad Mike Whiddet to the program of events brought out drifters from all corners of South Africa, resulting in one of the largest fields we’ve seen this season.
“It proved to be a high-pressure day that saw a definite shake-up in the usual running order and in much the same way that diamonds are created, putting the drivers under pressure made for some beautiful results.
The qualifying rounds yielded some surprising results, once the smoke had cleared it was revealed that the event had in fact created its first Top 32 ladder this season.
Mad Mike got the crowd roaring with his insane demo runs and then it was straight into the Top 32 and Top 16 tandems that went by in a haze of heat, wind and smoke.
But as the competition entered the Top 8, the pressure of a long day of competition began to show with errors from the drivers creeping in.
George Myburgh put his LS powered S14 into the wall behind teammate Adam Shefer, while a straight line error would see Jim McFarlane relegated to the pits after his bout with Paolo Gouveia.
Eric van Essyn was on top form as he slashed his way through the field, eventually beating out Sean February and then taking an automatic third place after Shefer’s clutch gave up the ghost.
Shane Gutzeit was the ninja of the day after qualifying sixth and then seeing off Mohammed Yusuf, Riaan Stokes and Brendan Puren to beat Driver of the Day Van Essyn and find himself in the final with Gouveia.
The stage had been set for the final match-up, with the highveld sun just dipping behind the Big Top Arena at Carnival City. Gouveia and Gutzeit rolled into their final tandem and left it all out on track with super close quarters racing. In the end it would be Gutzeit that would take the top step of the podium, relegating Gouveia to a deserved second.