The Rock Raceway once again resounded with the sound of high-revving engines as the first round of the Cambees Midas Drift Championship kicked off with a bang.
A field of 24 drivers took to the blistering tarmac to try and impress the judges on a short flowing track that saw more than a few drivers with smiles on their faces.
After qualifying was done and dusted, it would be the Frans boys that took first and second qualifying positions. BG Smit found himself in third, closely followed by a rejuvenated Issufo Ussuman. JP van der Spuy was back behind the wheel of the Skyline referred to as “Orange” and qualified in fifth, but it was the up and coming young Matthew Cooper that would cause many a headache during tandems, nipping at his heels in sixth place.
Fred Cooper Jnr seemed to be struggling in his newly repainted R33 Skyline while his father, Cooper Snr, just barely scraped into the Top 16.
Robert Dyke qualified in eleventh place despite badly burning both hands after his radiator cap failed during a routine check under the bonnet.
Vic Pardal also made a triumphant return in his 2JZ powered BMW and qualified in a very respectable thirteenth place.
As is the norm with the Cambees Midas series, a silver cup was run and Dennis Palm would claim the win followed by Shaun Lamprecht in second while Paul van Schalkwyk took the final step of the podium.
Drama was the order of the event with OMTs and protests making for some entertaining runs.
Hannes Frans beat out Cooper Snr in the first battle while Cooper Jnr would take a win by default as Marisca Dyke destroyed her gearbox during their match up.
JP van Der Spuy would take the win against Theo De Wet while Vic Pardal would narrowly lose out to Issufo Ussuman.
Matthew Cooper would kick off a string of OMT battles against his competitors taking a win against Robert Dyke. Teammates BG Smit and Larry Smith would go head to head, with Smit handing the win to Larry after an uncharacteristic spin.
Danie Herbst and Pieter Smit were up next and after a string of OMTs Danie Herbst was declared the winner. After a review, the judges called for an OMT due to contact being made and this time they awarded the win to Pieter Smit.
Zein Hussein and Lee-Roy Frans were up last. This run was the cause of much debate in the pits. Frans made contact with Hussein, leaving tyre marks on Hussein’s door. Hussein was awarded the win and progressed to the Top 8’s.
And then the power went out…..
After much running about in the dark, the power was restored and Top 8s commenced with Hannes Frans going up against Cooper Jnr and Frans taking the win. Issufo Ussuman battled JP Van der Spuy and a small error from JP handed the win to Ussuman. Matthew Cooper placed his stamp of authority on proceedings after holding Larry Smith to two OMTs and eventually taking the win. Pieter Smit narrowly beat out Zein Hussein in the final Top 8 battle.
Semi finals saw the drivers pushing the limits of the still scorchingly hot track.
Hannes Frans would put an end to Issufo Ussuman’s charge while The OMT kid, Matthew Cooper, held Pieter Smit to another OMT but Smit just snuck past him to take the win.
The battle for third would see Issufo Ussuman fight it out with Matthew Cooper and it would be the youngster that held his own and took his first Top 16 podium place.
After watching Matthew Cooper blitz his way to a 3rd place the final was somewhat anti-climactic as Hannes Frans held off the charge of Pieter Smit to secure his first podium of the season.
Podium for Round 1 of the Cambees Midas Drift Champs.
1st. Hannes Frans
2nd. Pieter Smit
3rd. Matthew Cooper