When the going gets commercial, the tough go Outlaw. As always, Bobby loves a mixed metaphor.
That aside, the Drift Outlaws Series Three that has been going down at the old Fisantekraal airstrip has brought the real McCoy drifters out of the woodwork (see, there Bobby goes again), with Juan Stemmet being crowned overall winner for the season.
When the idea was put forward by Raziek Rajah of Razor Customs in late 2017 at a top secret meeting, the vibe was that this was the kind of stuff to put Cape Town drifting on the map.
Bobby spoke to Raziek, asking him that very question. He says: “When I look at the Formula Drift coverage, and see the way they’re doing it, with drones and Go-Pros in cars, I see that it’s the way we’ve pioneered with Drift Outlaws. We’re reaching over 2 million people on TV and about 12 million on social media.
“I think the viewers are appreciating the rawness and the honesty of the coverage, and the fact that the guys go all-out to make it happen.
“Take Tommy Beirowski, for example, he broke a tie-rod on Saturday, right on the line up against Shane Green. So it looked like he’d have to give Shane the win, but no, Tommy borrowed the part of another driver, fitted it over lunch, and went out there to beat Shane.”
Back at the outset, the Outlaw Drifting project, managed under the auspices of Razor Customs Car Show and GHC Racing, was all about getting more track time for locals and getting the vitality back into grassroots drifting.
At the time, Raziek said: “It all started when my younger brother Zaeed and myself felt the need to get the rawness back into the Drifting world, to get something different going.”
“We’re also trying to get the politics out of it, bring the rawness back. If an ou runs his mouth on the sideline, Outlaws gives a driver an opportunity to settle it. We call those ‘Grudge Days’, where a guy can say to another, ‘Jy, I’ll drive you for my name’.”
That “rawness” he speaks of, lies means that in Outlaw Drifting there is a certain reduction in rules, and more of the personal-grudges-taken-to-the-track that made Drifting such a jol in the beginning.
There has also been a drive to get up-and-coming boytjies into the action.
Raziek says: “Tommy’s brother Richard Beirowski, at the beginning of the season, he couldn’t drift, now he’s had enough track time that he has been crowned a substitute Drift Outlaw. That attests to Drift Outlaws successfully nurturing talent.
“The guys have matured into race drivers, they no longer complain when things don’t go their way, they make a plan. Add to this the fact that there has not been a single complaint against judges the whole season, the guys have learned that if they fail, excuses don’t help.”
Juan Stemmet came out top of the log, after fighting off challenges from the toughest drivers Cape Town has to offer.
Raziek says: “The guys have thrown everything at Juan and he has stood tall. I thought for a moment Bronny White might take it, but he didn’t. Juan has developed hugely in the past two years.”
With regards to the Fisantekraal venue, Cape Town has always been crazy for Drifting, and we’ve not had a dedicated track. The exciting and technically challenging track at the airstrip has grown skills among drivers.
What’s the Outlaws about, a craze that has even found its way into karting?
Raziek says: “On normal grid Drifting, you don’t always get the right cars challenging one another. In Outlaws, you have the right to challenge the guy directly above you on the ladder, and ultimately we have a scenario here where the best guys will go up against one another, battling their way up the ladder to top spot.”
He adds: “It’s always humbling to complete a season without a single injury, and kudos goes to GHC Racing and the marshalls team for that, they’re the backbone.
“Rouen Abrahamse as our head judge has kept the competition fair all the way through.”