Steering with pre­ci­sion

New se­ries chal­lenges spin­ners, drifters and even hand­brake park­ers to show their driv­ing skills

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

KZN’s most pop­u­lar motorsport group, Side­wayz, have now tested the track at Ma­sons Mill near Eden­dale to launch the KZN Driftkhana Se­ries in Pietermaritzburg on De­cem­ber 3.

Led by KZN’s pre­ci­sion-driv­ing leg­end Reece Wil­liamson, in part­ner­ship with Thrill Seeker, the event sig­nals a shift in fo­cus for all spin­ners and drifters in KZN.

Wil­liamson said the event will chal­lenge the best ama­teur driv­ers in South Africa, with some 30 driv­ers in­vited to com­pete.

He warned that the KZN Driftkhana se­ries is not about stunts to win points from the crowd’s re­ac­tion, but “all about fast but pre­cise car con­trol”.

“Driv­ers gar­ner points based on how many ob­sta­cles they touch or miss on a timed lap around a gymkhana track,” he said.

“This is the fairest way to judge a pre­ci­sion steering event. Sub­jec­tive opin­ions do not come into it. You ei­ther touch a ball with the ap­pointed part of the car or you miss it, and you ei­ther make it through the gates with­out touch­ing sides or you hit them,” said Wil­liamson. He added that the Driftkhana Se­ries will mix the spec­tac­u­lar skills of drift­ing with the pre­ci­sion skills of gymkhana driv­ing.

The for­mat was adopted from the Red Bull Drift Park, which is tak­ing rac­ers around the world by storm. In KZN, the driv­ers will com­pete in four, six or eight-cylin­der classes, as well as a turbo class, and to make the chal­lenge ac­ces­si­ble to the fans, Wil­liamson will also host a hand­brake park­ing chal­lenge for the pub­lic in their own cars.

“We will set out cones to de­mar­cate a park­ing bay and will pre­pare the sur­face to en­sure the com­peti­tors do not get flat spots on their tyres. Then we will in­vite driv­ers to show the fans their driv­ing tal­ent in their own cars. Each driver will get three tries, but will have to pay R10 to en­ter, with the money go­ing to the Sal­va­tion Army or­phan­age in Pietermaritzburg,” he said.

Wil­liamson said many driv­ers in South Africa com­plain that rac­ing is be­com­ing too ex­pen­sive. “With this KZN Driftkhana se­ries we are mak­ing the thrill of throw­ing a car about ac­ces­si­ble to a broader pub­lic in a safe man­ner,” he said.

He em­pha­sised that the event will not in­volve spin­ning, for which Ma­son’s is best known, but said he looks for­ward to chal­lenge all the city’s spin­ners and drag rac­ers to test them­selves on the mini gymkhana track. “We have now tested the set-up and it re­ally is great fun, both for the driv­ers and the spec­ta­tors,” he said.

The win­ner of the first KZN Driftkhana event will clinch the ti­tle of King of KZN Driftkhana and Wil­liamson said the se­ries will con­tinue next year, at Ma­son’s and other venues in KwaZulu-Natal.

GRAPHIC: SUP­PLIED

Mix­ing the pre­ci­sion con­trol of drift­ing with the fast ac­cu­racy of gymkhana, KZN’s first Driftkhana changes the fo­cus of driv­ers from do­ing ever-more dan­ger­ous stunts at spin­ning events to dis­play­ing real driv­ing skills, and it even in­volves the fans, with a hand­brake park­ing chal­lenge to raise funds for or­phans.

PHOTO: RED BULL

Side­wayz will bring the wildly pop­u­lar Drift Park for­mat, shown here in a time-lapse photo, to Ma­son’s Mill next month to crown the first King of KZN Driftkhana. See the de­tails below.

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