Quintin van Jaarsveld
The fifth and penultimate round of the national drifting championship saw drivers use the South Loop of the world-class Oslo Beach track, where it all started seven years ago before the addition of the “Roller Coaster.”
Puren has been KwaZulu-Natal’s premier drifter for the past two years, finishing third overall last year.
A victory, however, had eluded him rather cruelly, with the Margate ace picking up three runner-up results in 2017 and another in the second round of this year’s championship in Polokwane in June.
His breakthrough win could not have been scripted any better as he ended championship leader Jason Webb’s unbeaten run before going on to edge Shane Gutzeit in an all-South Coast final.
“It’s awesome to get the top spot on the podium. I’ve been pushing hard this season and all the hard work paid off today,” he told eHowzit.
It was truly a day to savour for the Puren family as Gavin’s father Trevor secured the Pro 1 silverware and brother Brendan won the Super Mooove of the Day award.
The event started with practice on Friday, where drivers set up their cars and got a feel of the South Loop.
Saturday started with practice and qualifying, which saw Webb qualify in first place with an 88.5, followed by 2016 South African champion Gutzeit with 88 and Armand “Chucky” Bronkhorst with 83.
The Puren brothers were pitted against each other in the Top 16 stage (main photo), with Gavin eking out the win after no less than four runs.
Gavin went on to earn a major feather in his cap when he handed the dominant Webb his first loss of the year after a One More Time (OMT) in the Top Eight, and defeated Jim McFarlane in the semis to set-up a final showdown with fellow local, Guzeit.
With both drivers putting down incredible runs, the judges had them run a OMT, a crowd-pleasing decision that saw the locals go at it in four thrilling battles.
After a tense wait, with the judges deciding to only reveal the results at the very end, Puren was announced as the winner.
Puren and Gutzeit were joined on the podium by McFarlane, while Bronkhorst was named Driver of the Day.
“I’m super chuffed that it happened here at our home track. The crowds were amazing!” said Puren.
“A big shout out to all my sponsors who make it possible: Lil Rich Transport, Tyremart Shelly Beach, Vano’s Parts Centre, East Coast Scratch and Dent, Sharpline Graphics, Wild Coast Sun, Durban Used Spares, Auto Collision, No Sweat Racing, Renegade Racing and William Hunt Fourways.”
Luckily, if you could not make it to Saturday’s event – you are able to catch up on the livestream via http://www.supadrift.co.za/watch-live.html
The final round of the SupaDrift Series takes place at Carnival City on 28-29 September.
Photos by Ralph Pike