Drift City 2017
It was a crazy idea in 2016. We knew this. ‘Motorsport on the Grand Parade? You must all have been inhaling too much tyre smoke’, they said.
We knuckled down and did it anyway. Words were not going to deter us from doing our best to give Cape Town and her children the world class motorsport event that
they deserved. Proudly for Cape Town, by Cape Town. Drift City 2016 was a resounding success. Drift City 2017 was better.
Drift City 2017, powered by Monster Energy and proudly supported by The City of Cape Town had more drivers including a few out of town powerhouses, more attractions and more activities. What made it really spectacular is that we were able to run through the gorgeous Cape Town
sunset into the night. This is another first for Cape Town motorsport. Fans had gotten real bang for their buck since this year we had supplied grand stand seating
after numerous requests after the inaugural 2016 event. It really was a jam packed day. The driftkhana was the main attraction but the event had so much more to
offer. More tyre slaying was available at Drift City with Cape Town’s Drift Squad, who were giving hardcore fans suicide rides in their drift arena. There was a mini
go-kart track for the kids and a custom car show handled by Cape Stance which formed part of Drift City’s clean culture initiative.
Drift City officially kicked off at 1pm. Drivers had been briefed early morning and were given a chance to walk and familiarize themselves with the ‘driftkhana’
course before opening the track for a few practice runs. Drift City has a unique rule set which we implemented to accommodate two driving disciplines, drifting and
gymkhana. Two drivers go head to head on a mirrored obstacle course. The driver with the quickest time and the least infringements after two laps is the winner.
Drivers had a challenging start to the day while trying to negotiate the technical course. After a few wayward runs and cone killing they soon got the hang of it and
quickly started laying down some solid times.
Starting with a bracket of 32 the drivers started battle chasing the clock to get to top 16. This is where the pressure started showing with some of the drivers and
their cars. Drivers here were going for gold, and more especially, the golden ticket prizes which would give them automatic entry into the Gymkhana Grid final.
Through the top 16 bracket drivers were getting more consistent and slowly started shaving valuable split seconds off their times. As the surface temp started to
drop drivers had to adjust their driving style to combat the reduced traction on the track. Drivers started taking tighter lines and getting closer to the nose clips
clawing after every split second.
The fight really got heated in the top 8 under the cover of darkness.
The cars and drivers had been in all out war whole day. They were physically drained and their machines had taken a beating. All the drivers were giving it all they
had and after a few hard fought battles the top 4 drivers of the day emerged. They were Izak van Zyl, Jason Gorman, Christopher long and Otto Graven.
First up in top 4 was Christoper Long vs Izak Van Zyl. Both drivers had near flawless runs but Van Zyl managed to get into the box first in his 1uz powered Toyota
Next up was Otto Graven vs Jason Gorman. This was a real David and Goliath with Otto 7L V8 Powered Nissan Sylvia s15 against Gorman in his daily driven, 4cyl Sr20
powered Nissan 200sk. Gorman drove like a champ with clean tight lines but it just was not enough to keep up with the monstrous s15 giving Otto the win.
It was now Gorman and Long to face off and claim 3rd spot. Gorman was now defending his title since he stood on the 3rd step at Drift City 2016. He was unfortunately
not able to hold onto it as Long poured out every ounce of skill and gracefully muscled his 200sx into the finishing box ahead of Gorman and taking 3rd spot.
THE FINAL BATTLE
It was time for the big one. Crowds were no longer on the edge of their seats but standing with mobile phones in hand ready to capture what was about to be the most
epic motorsport battle Cape Town had ever seen.
Van Zyl and Graven were about to go head to head for the coveted ‘KING OF DRIFT CITY’ title. This was going to be a battle against the clock, the Drift City Course
and each other. The flag dropped and pandemonium ensued. The crowd were on their feet as Izak and Otto gripped off the line and through the box and ripped into into
the big sweeper. It was neck and neck all the way through the fast switch and into the 360. From there it was into the figure 8 and the drivers were not
letting up. With both drivers in the final box it was time to reset and switch courses.
After the switch it was more of the same. Fast, tight and clean all the way through the technical course Otto and Izak proved why they deserved to be in the final
battle together. Neck and neck all the way through the course Izak was determined to level up to the top step from his 2 place podium in 2016. With Otto’s fire
breathing v8 drowning out the roar of the crowds and Izak’s fluid technical driving style the runs were an assault on the senses. The drivers entered their finishing
boxes just a few split seconds apart. It was now up to the judges, Francesco Stemmet and Luke Woodham to call a winner. After calculating the scores the judges
awarded the win to Otto Graven after it was determined that Izak Van Zyl had toppled a cone giving him a penalty which would cost him dearly. It was dejavu since
this is exactly how the top step on the podium eluded Izak in 2016.
In the end it was Otto Graven from Graven Motorsport who drove his heart out to become the ‘KING OF DRIFT CITY’ 2017.
Images by Ashwin Whitten
Podium image by Skippy Photography
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