Margate driver edges ever closer to SupaDrift Series title

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Quintin van Jaarsveld

Another final appearance in the last round of the SupaDrift Series at Carnival City this past weekend saw Gavin Puren finish second in the national drifting championship.

Not only was this the final battle of the year, it was also the annual Riaz Alibhai Memorial Cup, a leg of the series that honours a late competitor, who passed away in a motor accident four years ago.

Margate driver Puren has enjoyed his best year to date, and once against faced off with Jason Webb in the final.

A minor collision with eventual championship winner Webb put paid to Puren’s hopes of a second successive win, but the runner-up result saw him improve to second overall following his third place last year.

“It was nice to take second place on the podium again and to get second overall. I was pushing hard for the top spot but unfortunately I broke a propshaft against Jason in the final,” said Puren.

His brother Brendan finished 10th in the championship, while father Trevor took the win in the Pro 1 Class and with it, the championship trophy.

Fellow South Coast driver Shane Gutzeit, the 2016 South African champion, finished sixth for the year.

Making up the SupaDrift Series Round Six Pro 1 Class podium are (from left) Adrian Bronkhorst, Trevor Puren and Melissa Nell.

Friday saw the drivers go out and get some practice runs in before Saturday’s final battle of the 2018 season and the battle for the Championship points were on the line.

Webb came into Round Six with a massive 101-point lead over Gavin Puren, Jim McFarlane, Zanil Satar and Gutzeit, but that didn’t mean he was secured for the number one spot, as anything could happen before qualifying.

With rain in the late afternoon, Friday’s practice was cut short, and a whole new mood fell over the drivers as they were not too sure what the weather would be like on race day, with phones outs and weather apps checked and rechecked, drivers were worried they would have to battle in out in the rain the next day; and with this short and flat circuit with an entry speed of between 90km/h and 110km/h washing straight into a wall ride after initiation, drivers were all looking for their brown pants.

Luckily come race day, the sun was out in full force and there was no signs of rain for the day and drivers went out for morning practice in full force putting pedal to the metal and getting in some stellar runs before official qualifying.

As usual, the action started with the Pro 1 drivers heading out, followed by the Pro drivers. With only a three drivers in the Pro 1 Class and only 14 drivers qualifying in Pro, there would be a single battle for the win in Pro 1 and a top 14 in the Pro, with Trevor Puren also wanting to do battle in the Pro Class for the last event.

Before heading into the final battles, the drivers all made their way to the track for a driver parade and a minute of silence for Alibhai as his brother Fayaaz and family members made their way to the track too in honour of the late driver.

Pro 1 saw Trevor Puren go up against Mellisa Nell, who was competing in her first ever SupaDrift event, with the win going to Puren.

With only 14 driver qualifying, this would see top qualifiers Zanil Satar and Eric van Eyssen each have a bye run; however, the latter went up against Puren from the Pro 1 series.

Mikey Skelton would go up against Armand “Chucky” Bronkhorst; as Murphy would have it, after the parade, Skelton and McFarlane put on a little smoke demo, and as Skelton reversed into his pit area, the lower control arm broke, forcing him to retire.

Adam Shefer battled Chris Landsberg, with the win going to Shefer. Webb defeated David Nell, McFarlane beat Brendan Puren and Gavin Puren beat Paul van Schalkwyk. Finally in the Top 16, Zein Hussein would battle David Rae, with the judges awarding a one more time (OMT), which meant both driver would need to face off again, with the win going to Hussein.

Brendan Puren.

The Top Eight would see Satar battle Bronkhorst, who knocked himself out in his lead run by taking out the front clipping point, handing the win to Satar.

Shefer took on Webb in what many felt was the battle of the day as both driver stuck to each other for some of the closest tandems runs of the day, with Webb taking the win.

Van Eyssen lost momentum in his battle, which saw McFarlane take the win. Gavin Puren battled Hussen, and once again the latter’s gremlins popped up, giving Gavin the win.

The Top Four would see Satar go up against Webb, with a strong start to the run Webb stuck to the side of Satar all the way till the final rear zone, where Satar just over shot the drift line and lost a little power, forcing Webb to dive into the back of his car, but that didn’t stop Webb from finishing his run.

With both drivers wounded from the run, Webb’s pit crew had to duct tape and cable tie his door to the body, while Satar tried to fix his car too. Unfortunately, the damage to Satar’s car was too much for him to do a chase run and as he went out, his motor gave way. With that, Webb advanced to the final, while Satar was unable to do battle for third place.

Puren and McFarlane put down great runs, with Puren just out drifting his opponent. With Satar out, this meant McFarlane would take the third spot for the round.

The final was a grudge match between Puren and Webb, as Webb had a score to settle after Puren ended his winning streak in Round Five.

Webb would do the lead, while Puren would give chase, and with both drivers hungry for the win, Puren initiated side by side with Webb as they went into the first corner.

Puren pushed just too hard as he made contact with Webb, causing the South Coaster’s propshaft to snap and puncher his fuel tank, forcing him to retire.

Webb took the win and with it, the championship title as well as the Riaz Alibhai Memorial Cup for the second time.

SupaDrift Pro 06 Results:
1. Jason Webb
2. Gavin Puren
3. Jim McFarlane

SupaDrift Pro 1 06 Results:
1. Trevor Puren
2. Melissa Nell
3. Adrian Bronkhorst

Driver of the Day – Zain Hussein
Smoker of the Day – Eric van Eyssen

SupaDrift Series Overall 2018 Results:

Pro:
1. Jason Webb
2. Gavin Puren
3. Jim McFarlane

Pro 1:
1. Trevor Puren
2. Tinashe Bundo
3. Sebastian Rich

Driver of the Year: Gavin Puren
Rooker (Smoker) of the Year: Zanil Satar

KZN Championship:
1. Gavin Puren
2. Shane Gutzeit
3. Eric van Eyssen

Northern Region Championship:
1. Jim McFarlane
2. Zanil Satar
3. Zain Hussein

Making up the SupaDrift Series Round Six and overall podium are (from left) Jim McFarlane, Jason Webb and Gavin Puren.

 Photos by SupaFly Design and Media

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