Dezzi Raceway night riders, speed racers ‘highlight of the year’

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By Quintin van Jaarsveld

The much-anticipated double header event at Dezzi Raceway at the weekend lived up to the hype, offering petrolheads a potent mix of tyre-screeching drifting and adrenaline-pumping racing.

The country’s 30 top drifters, some of the fastest cars in South Africa, a large, appreciative crowd, spotlights and a hovering helicopter made for what many described as one of the most memorable motorsports events of the year.

The spotlight was literally on South Africa’s leading drifters in the first ever nocturnal Auto Trader SupaDrift Series event at the Oslo Beach track on Saturday, while a select group of top drivers pushed their vehicles to the limit in pursuit of the fastest time in the Dezzi Invitational time attack on Saturday and Saturday.

Track owner and experienced drifter Des Gutzeit described the event as the “highlight of the year.”

“The event was a huge success and went like a dream,” Des told eHowz!t.

“The crowd on Saturday evening was out of this world. We will definitely look at hosting another night event, and the time attack was just as well received.

“This combined event was undoubtedly the highlight of the year for Dezzi Raceway and will lead to bigger and better things next year.

“We are proud to play our part in boosting tourism and motorsport on the South Coast and it will be ongoing.

“Next year we plan to have a bigger circuit and more participants. I can’t say more at this stage, but we have big plans for next year.”

Drifting in the dark

The world-class drifting action on display in the fifth round of the national championship drew a Mexican wave from the excited evening crowd.

“The atmosphere was electric. It was by far the most responsive crowd we’ve had at our events this year” said George Mienie, AutoTrader.co.za CEO and title sponsor.

The drivers kept the action in top gear all night and stacked up a long list of One More Times.

Shane Gutzeit, Van Zummerun thrill in ‘biggest battle of the day’

Leading the charge, local favourite Shane Gutzeit and Wade van Zummerun came face-to-face at the Top Eight stage.

Each drifter was determined to prove his worth and put on a show for the crowd, which was later described by Red Bull spokesperson and series sponsor Tristan Werner as “the biggest battle of the day.”

Van Zummerun was the highest qualifier and led first, with Gutzeit matching him every step of the way.

The second run saw Van Zummerun keep inside Gutzeit’s door across the track, leaving the crowd and the judges to call for a One More Time.

Van Zummerun eventually took the lead and progressed to the semi-finals.

“It’s always good to test yourself against a top quality opponent like Wade,” Shane told eHowz!t.

“Whether you get him early on as was the case here or in the semi-final or final, you’re always in for a tough challenge.

“Unfortunately it didn’t go my way but I’m still up there on the championship standings.

“The crowd was just incredible – they were just as much part of the action as we were and motivated me even further.”

Rudman steps on to podium

Amanzimtoti’s David Nell and Jonathan Rudman battled it out for third and fourth position.

Rudman led first, followed by an aggressive Nell, who stuck to his tail like a man possessed. On Nell’s turn to lead, his boot sprung open mid-race, leaving Rudman momentarily distracted.

He quickly recovered and drew up close behind Nell to secure a hard-earned third place.

Fantastic final

The final saw Jason Webb and Van Zummerun go head-to-head in a race that was too close to call, leaving the judges with no choice but to call for a One More Time.

It was Van Zummerun’s shallow line that put Webb in the lead and his gloves firmly wrapped around first position.

Standings

Shane Gutzeit’s sixth place saw him remain third in the national championship on 352 points.

Despite his defeat in the decider, Van Zummeren retained his place at the top of the standings on 494 points, with Webb in second place on 418 points.

Des Gutzeit, likely distracted by the logistics of staging a duel event, dropped one position to 13th place after finishing 23rd and picking up 45 points.

Southport drifter Nick Frey also added 45 points to his championship tally and his 19th place on Saturday sees him lying 29th in the series on 135 points.

The results of the Dezzi Invitational are yet to be confirmed.

Photos by Dave Nisbet (www.davenisbet.co.za)

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