The final round of the Supadrift series for 2016 took place at Carnival City in Brakpan on one of the hottest weekends on record. With temperatures reaching 37 degrees at times the drivers, crews and spectators were going to be treated to some hot action whether they liked it or not.
With it being the final round we weren’t expecting a lot of drivers to make the trip from their homelands but yet we were very happy when drivers arrived in force. With a healthy field of 30 drivers the practice sessions kicked off and a lot more than tyres were melted. Sadly we lost Clare Vale to a broken engine, and then lost Fayaaz Alibhai and David Rae to mechanical glitches.
The heat began to take its toll as we entered the superpole qualifying, Joey Govendar and Vic Pardal both scored zero as their drift machines just wouldnt cooperate. George Myburgh would take top honours in qualifying, narrowly clinching the top position from Paolo Gouveia and teammate Adam Shefer.
Shane Gutzeit was sitting in the pound seat after qualifying in fifth having gained enough points to put the championship out of reach of nearest contenders Jim McFarlane and Paolo Gouveia. These two would go on to battle various opponents in the Top 16 and Top 8’s with the second place on the podium still to be decided.
JP van Der Spuy would take a win in his battle with George Myburgh after Myburgh over-rotated in their battle, gift-wrapping van der Spuy’s passage into the top 8’s where he would meet Jim McFarlane.Young Matthew Cooper would take a win against Supadrift stalwart Sean Febuary after he made contact with the youngster from Limpopo.
The weather wasn’t playing any games and by late afternoon the stresses of the day and persistent heat soak had drivers and cars all running hot. Even hotter than that were the multitude of OMT’s handed out by the judges as the drivers were putting it all on the line.
Proximity and line were the deciding factors that would see Paolo Gouveia, Jim Mcfarlane, Shane Gutzeit and Dez Gutzeit make their way into the final four.McFarlane would lose out to Shane Gutzeit who having clinched the championship was still pulling out all the stops despite a temperamental engine that was intermittently sputtering with over-boost issues.
Paolo Gouveia would narrowly lose out to Dez Gutzeit who it would seem had drawn a lucky progression through to the final with hard fought battles and driver errors by his challengers.
A Hollywood screen writer could not have penned a better ending to a hot challenging day as the two drivers battling for second place in the championship would meet in the battle for third and fourth and for the first time in drifting national history a father and son would meet in the final.
Paolo Gouveia fought hard but Jim McFarlane would maintain a slightly better proximity and snatch the win and the second place in the championship from him while the two Dunlop and Dezzi Racing machines lined up.
With fans, drivers, crews and officials on their feet to witness two giants in the sport take on each other and knowing that the two Gutzeits are fierce competitors who aren’t afraid to put family ties aside when it comes to winning, the intermittent engine problems that had been plaguing Shane all day chose this exact moment to rear up. Halfway through the final run with Shane leading his father by 2 points his SR20 powered Silvia sputtered and straight-lined handing Dez Gutzeit his first podium and first win in a Supadrift National.
I cannot think of a better way to end a season and this years Championship chase.
1st. Dez Gutzeit
2nd. Shane Gutzeit
3rd. Jim Mcfarlane
D.O.D. – JP van der Spuy
Final Championship Standings
1st. Shane Gutzeit
2nd Jim McFarlane
3rd, Paolo Gouveia
Rookie of the Year – Trevor Puren
The 2016 season might be over but, guaranteed, Supadrift will be back next season , bigger, better and with few more surprises in store as we all look forward to a well deserved holiday.
The Supadrift series is proudly sponsored by Sun International, RedBull, Jonnesway Tools, GoPro, Chevrolet, Turn 1 Wheels, Achilles Tyres, Rockford Fosgate, Greensky, Liqui Moly, Unite Securities and Setshaba Safaris.