Step aside, guys. Here comes the next wave of spin icons, the heroines of the pitch.
Over the years Bobby Nitro has seen more and more women getting involved in the front line of motorsport, from spin to drift, and it is making the game bigger, better and fairer.
It being Women’s Month, Bobby spoke to an upcoming woman in motorsport, Farah Oliver, about her involvement in the scene.
Farah, who is almost 20 years old and comes from Woodridge, says she started getting interested in spin some years ago after her father got himself a spin car and hit the pitch on weekends.
Not one to wait for drive time, she jumped straight into the passenger seat and made a name for herself as a stuntwoman, hanging out the vehicle and doing all manner of hair-raising feats in a moving car.
Farah says: “I’ve always had a passion for cars, especially the older ones. Being a stuntwoman is amazing, because you can do all kinds of adrenalin-spiking antics.”
Bobby had to ask and he would ask this question whether it was of a man or woman what about fear?
Farah answers: “There’s no fear; nope, none at all.”
Farah joined the youth programme run by SPIN (Supporting People in Need), which is, in part, a training programme hosted at The Hills which, for those of you who do not know, is Cape Town’s first dedicated spin pitch, used most weekends.
She says: “I’m getting great experience with SPIN, learning from mentors how to really handle a car, how to do obstacles, how to spin around a cone and more. I’m still learning, but have recently taken a big step and bought a car.”
Farah has invested in an E30 BMW and is in the process of the build. She says: “My father, Riedwaan Oliver, and my boyfriend, Idrees Trout, are helping me with this project. We intend putting an M50 multi valve engine in it. I do get involved in the mechanics as I want to learn what is what.”
Bobby brought up the topic of there being more and more women in motorsport and Farah rose to it, saying: “It’s amazing, us women are not only having a great time, but we are showing the men that we can do it too.”
Farah spent some time with Cape icon of women’s motorsport, Firdous Asmodien, at the last The Hills meet.
Farah says: “Firdous was so friendly and really interested in me, asking me about my car and the build. She gave me good advice and seemed very excited to see females on the spin pitch. She also gave me some tips on how to drive.”
Firdous, famed for her drift experience and involvement in bodybuilding, has made herself available as a mentor to the kids and especially the women at The Hills.
She says: “I help the women with how to present themselves as well as with sponsorship. Being a female in the motorsport game, we get to break the stereotypes.
“Of course, being a minority, women can be nervous and scared, and it’s then that I become a cheerleader, urging them on to overcome the fear and take the step.”
Self-confidence comes after taking the jump into something new, not before.
She adds: “More and more women are coming forward, proving to themselves that they can do things that make them happy.”
The Hills, which came into being as a pitch through the efforts of SPIN, has become renowned for, as Farah says: “Keeping people off the streets and away from gangsterism. Every Saturday people are excited for the spin event, it’s something to look forward to.”
As for idols in spinning, Farah says hers has to be her brother, Wafeeq Oliver, 15, who started out just under a year ago and has made so much progress in a short time.
Nazeema van Schalkwyk, another woman in spin, says that during her three years in the sport she has seen more females building their own cars. She says: “It used to be so male-dominated, but that is changing. Spin is my passion and it brings my family together, from the kids all the way to the grandparents.”