CAPE TOWN'S DRIFT KING? Keeping his cool as night falls... Drift champ Daniel Blaser on route to victory. Image: Reynard Gelderblom
Cape Town - A drifting frenzy has hit Cape Town during the last two months and with the Supadrift Western Cape Regional championship season opener being run in conjunction with the second round of the national championship at the end of April, the time had finally arrived for the Cape Town boys to head up their own show on Saturday, May 21 at the Killarney International Raceway.
Utilising the oval section of the Cape Town race track, 17 competitors would take to the circuit with a slightly improvised layout from Round 1.
Image Gallery: 2016 Regional Western Cape SupaDrift - Round 2
Joining the judging panel on the day was one of the competitors sitting out for this round: Jason Gorman. This is set to become a regular add-on with the purpose of providing driver-views to the judging panel, but also for the drivers to experience first-hand what exactly is required to impress the judges while in search of valuable championship points.
The afternoon’s qualifying session saw 16 competitors making it onto the circuit to battle for a spot in the elimination rounds, but hope of it being a top-16 challenge faded soon as Faheem Salie competed in a spare car for the purpose of bagging championship points for completing qualifying only. This resulted in added pressure on the competitors to make it through to a top-8 eliminator with everyone having to dig that little bit deeper to impress the judges.
With the sun starting to set over the circuit, defending national champion Jason Webb kicked off the eliminators with a fairly easy victory over Bronny White – the latter having to retire his Nissan with mechanical problems following a very steady morning.
Next up saw a tough battle between the two CVP team mates: Defending Western Cape champion Daniel Blaser and Christopher Long. Blaser progressed to the semi-finals after two very close duels. Juan Stemmet drove like a man on a mission to beat Gianni Crowster for a spot in the semi-finals.
One of Cape Town's most-loved drifters, Shane Green. Image: Reynard Gelderblom
The last of the quarter-finals saw the two finalists from April’s DriftCity event go head-to-head: Shane Green in his BMW vs. Izak van Zyl in the Dynotech Toyota. As the pair came around the final corner during the first battle they however made contact and for a short while it looked that both competitors would be done for the day.
This provided an opportunity for the true spirit of sportsmanship to shine through. Van Zyl’s radiator got damaged in the collision and it was fellow-competitor Tommie Beirowski who volunteered the use of his one from his race car for Van Zyl to be able to continue. Following a valiant effort from the Dynotech crew, Van Zyl soon found himself ready for the second battle against Green. Unfortunately Van Zyl was forced into retirement soon after the duo started their lap due to a driveshaft failure which resulted in Green merely having to cross the line to progress.
The semi-finals saw Webb progressing against a very determined Stemmet, but not before this round went into a 'One More Time' scenario – a restart to the battle occurring when a clear result can’t be reached the first time round. Blaser beat Green in the second semi-final.
With the sun now completely gone and a cold autumn evening setting in, the die-hard spectators were still in for two more thrilling battles. The first of these were for third place as the impressive Stemmet went head-to-head against Green in an absolute thriller. It was Green is his bruised BMW who narrowly emerged victorious.
This set the stage for the clash of the champions in the final: Webb vs. Blaser. It was however the regional champion Blaser who had the better of the national champion in the final to conclude an action-packed day.
With this being only the second season of the regional series, a lot of positives could be drawn from this round – most notably the high standard of competition on display. Along with this there’s also an influx of numbers on the entry list – even with some very notable absentees on the day.
2016 promises to be an exciting season with Round 3 heading to the Killarney International Raceway on Saturday, June 25 – an event that should not be missed.