PIONEERS OF SLIDE AND A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
21 May 2013 by RaceMasteR J
First off, this is by no means a ‘Top 10’, but rather
a personal recall of the emerging drift scene in the Cape some
ten, maybe more, years ago. Ok, with the disclaimer stuff out
the way…let’s move on! The topic actually came about
after having a chat with my buddy Nabeel who mentioned that
Herman Mahnke, as far as he could recall, was the pioneer of
drifting in Cape Town. To some degree, that may be true, but
I beg to differ based on my personal experience at Killarney
raceway from the multitude of events I have covered there over
the years. This got me thinking of a few other names from the
past, which immediately got me digging through the Raceweb archives
from days gone by. This brought a flood of memories streaming
back and based on that, join me on this trip down memory racing
lane as we visit the tyre shredding days of yesteryear.
Here are some of the guys and their cars from way back then
who in my opinion were the pioneers of slide, I say slide, because
it wasn’t actually drifting, even though everyone called
it that. This was a time before drifting actually blew up into
the monster of a sport that it is today. Some are still around,
some are not, others have changed their priorities and some
have just disappeared. None the less this is my little thank
you tribute to all of them. Oh and there’s a few funny
Mynhardt De Jongh from Knysna was a regular
at Killarney events and was well known for his awesome sliding
skills. He first appeared on the scene in his brown Garden Route
Racing Nissan Skyline. He later progressed to the red E36 M3
and then the last I saw he had a red Chevy Lumina. Always a
pleasure to watch and a crowd favourite by far! It was from
him that I learnt the phrase, “Smoke tyres not drugs”.
Anton Slabbert will always be one of my heroes.
It was with him in the then known HKS Silvia (now Ready D’s)
that I sat shotgun and went drifting around Killarney’s
oval. I’ll say drifting because it was proper drifting.
Anton was not just power sliding, but actually flicking and
switching directions too. This man had crazy car control skills
and was absolutely fearless. He piloted that very same Silvia,
albeit with a complete makeover, sideways up Gydo pass at the
King of the Mountain Ceres hill climb event.
Herman Mahnke and Ken Addison were one of the
first guys to take it sideways. Most notably in this yellow
E36 M3. This was at a time when Killarney used to have drag
racing on the strip, gymkhana’s on the oval and then end
the day off with spinning and drifting. It’s what everyone
used to wait for. The oval used to be so packed with everyone
waiting to see this yellow M3 being pushed to its limits and
beyond. Those were the glory days!
Allen Irwen also used to pilot a Dakar yellow
M3 at times, but was most popular for driving the living daylights
out of his white Hi-Q wide body 325is. Also from a similar time
period that Herman used to perform. I recently saw Allen and
his BMW at a regional race meeting taking part in the Clubmans
race. It was good to see a legend again, even if it wasn’t
Steve Wyndham and his big V8 Ford Falcon. Aaah…
good times! Even though I don’t consider it proper drifting,
Steve used to take part in the duel gymkhanas at the oval and
the car was almost permanently sideways. Couple that sight to
the glorious V8 soundtrack made for unforgettable viewing.
Dave Kopke was the David in the “Steve
Wyndham Goliath” story. As mentioned earlier, Steve was
famous for the duel gymkhana’s, and it was Dave Kopke
who was his nemesis in his little Mazda R100. Dave was also
almost permanently sideways for most of the time and it was
extremely difficult to decide who to watch when Dave and Steve
were up against each other. I’ll never forget that gymkhana,
Dave Kopke always used to just nip Steve at the end. Fun times.
Brian Canterbury is still around. Hell you
can see and hear him coming from a mile away with his bright
orange Ford Capri. I’d say Brian was one of the first
guys to go sideways with crazy angle and hold the slide. And
with more track time and experience Brian managed to master
the art of drifting too. Hats off to him because in my head,
a Ford Capri is not the ideal drift machine.
Faheem Salie is an old dog who keeps on learning
new tricks. I first met him when his S13 200SX was fairly stock
looking and still white! Since then it’s had quite a few
colour changes and eventually Faheem decided to retire it. Good
news is that he has come out of retirement with an all new crazy
powerful E36 BMW. If you follow the drift scene now, you should
see Mr Salie in his Mike’s Place Beemer.
Ernest Page was a natural from the beginning.
Ernest is a guy that went from amateur gamer to pro drifter
in a matter of a few years. Starting off by winning the WPMC
Driver Development program, he went on to racing GTi Challenge
and single seaters. But drifting was always number one to Ernest.
Prior to racing regionally he won what I think was Cape Town’s
first ever formal drift competition, the Urban RacR Drift Off.
He also went on to becoming a sponsored driver for Monster Mob
and participated in national drifting events. Ernest is currently
a judge for the popular SupaDrift Series.
Achmat Achmat or Mr. A as I call him never
actually got the whole drift thing 100% right. But I put his
name here because he gave young petrol heads like myself at
the time the chance to see turbo charged BMW’s shred their
rubber like there was no tomorrow. The sound of the turbo spooling
up in a time when turbo’s were still very rare was heaven.
Knowing that there was a turbo charged M3 motor sitting in an
E30 chassis and seeing it go sideways smoking its rears is yet
another image I will never forget. Mr. A has since moved on
to becoming the regional clubmans champion and a legendary driver
So those are some names that came to mind when thinking about
this topic, I might have missed a few (Koosie Swanepoel, Werner
Koekemoer...) and I do apologise for that. Remember these are
all from my personal experience. But while I was thinking of
those guys there were a few other names that came to mind and
that are worth a mention, even though they were not drifters.
Ghatiem Abrahams, Ebraheem de Long
and Ashraf Allie aka Patches. These are the
guys who used to be the other highlights at the shows. Sort
of like the opening acts at a huge concert when drifting was
the main show. They would put on epic performances by spinning
the crap out of their cars till the tyres popped! BOOM! And
the crowd goes WILD!!!!
Mike Nathan, I just had to give him a mention
here. Who remembers him sliding his front wheel drive Bantam
bakkie???? Mike has moved on to become a rally god in his evil
An M5 going sideways… ok, what’s so special about
that? Look closer and you will see it’s in fact Kosie
Wyers… when he was about 16! The boy had talent
back then, and it hasn’t run out. Kosie still drifts occasionally
but is better known for being an Engen Polo cup star and a menace
at stock car racing events.
Who’s that in the Beemer?
Nope, not Ready D, it’s Sean February!
Also when he was about 16 years old or there about. What a drift
god he has gone onto become now! Well done son!
I hope this article has taken you on the same trip down memory
lane it took me… Even though it’s sad to see some
of the guys off the scene, but like in Sean and Kosie’s
case, great to see where they’ve gone. I’m always
on the lookout to try and spot new and upcoming talent, so we’ll
just have to wait and see who’s going to be the next superstars
of tomorrow. Until then… Peace out!