Supa Drift 02 – Dezzi Raceway
The Supa Drift series rolls into KZN a few times each year, and every day promises to be a spectacle of precision driving and sideways action. For this round, I had the opportunity to get a bit closer to the action, so I grabbed a Canon 5DMKII, and headed south to Port Shepstone.
About a one and a half hour drive from my home in Durban, Dezzi Raceway is something of a haven for the local KZN racing community. The track features 2 different drift sections, and a main straight long enough to land a light aircraft on. Rumor has it that the track is soon going to be expanded even more, which will certainly make this a race facility to be reckoned with. Scattered around in the various hangers are a collection of Japanese imports that are sure to have any petrolhead picking their jaw off the floor (it seems that the car of choice here is the Nissan R34 Skyline GTR, since there are about 5 stashed away). But enough about the facilities. Those will no doubt be mentioned more in follow up visits.
Arriving at the track around 11am, the smell of burning rubber and race fuel was already engulfing the air, overpowering the sea breeze that usually sweeps up over these hills. The first stop was the pit area, where it seemed that there was no cut off for public access, as many people were wandering around snapping photos of the cars on their smartphones. Undeterred by the foot traffic, I set about getting some close up shots of the drift monsters on display. And what an assortment of cars there were – ranging from the various Nissan Skyline and 200SX models, down to a more rare Nissan Silvia S15, and even a Toyota Supra in the mix.
After dodging the people and cars in the pits, it was time to head around the track and try get some photos of the cars in action. Shooting drifting is always a challenge, but the results are worth it. It’s all too easy to get a picture of a car on a racetrack, but to get one that shows the motion of drifting? That’s a whole new story. Out of 10 photos in a sequence, you might only get one or two that are slightly usable, and one that’s clear and crisp.
Luckily, the terrain around Dezzi Raceway offers many different perspectives to shoot from. The main section of the drift circuit that the competitors were sliding on is meant to emulate a Japanese mountain pass. Earning the nickname of “The Rollercoaster”, this stretch of the track twists and turns through over 220ft of elevation changes, and consist of three blind entries. It was clear to see the effect this had on the driving during the first few practice rounds, with newer drivers gingerly creeping over the first verge, barely lighting their tires up.
As the day progressed, the action started picking up. Veterans of the track were already flinging their machines wildly around the tight corners, and the not-so-experienced had started to get the knack of the layout. While there were no severe accidents during qualifying, a bank on the top side of the track did claim waste to a modified BMW 3-Series, and there were many cases of drivers abandoning their runs.
As the smoke was clearing for the day, and the results were in, it was time to start the slog back up the coast to the city lights of Durban. It’s always a bit sad leaving this racing mecca on the south coast, but there’s always the next event around the corner to look forward to.