The top 32 professional and amateur drifters in the country go head-to-head at Mazda Mad Mike’s Summer Bash at Hampton Downs this Saturday in the biggest drift event of the year. Among them will be George Myburgh, who grew up drifting in car parks in South Africa.
Myburgh met ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett, the organiser of the Summer Bash, in South Africa last year where the New Zealand drift star was shooting Conquer the Cape, a video for Red Bull.
Myburgh had already decided to move his young family to New Zealand for a better lifestyle but talking to Whiddett got him excited about the opportunities to pursue his drifting career over here.
“I wasn’t planning on drifting competitively in my first year but the facilities in New Zealand are just amazing,” says Myburgh. “I live in Hamilton so Hampton Downs is my home track and it’s just beautiful. It’s special to be able to drift on an open, fast track where you can really get the best out of your car. A lot of our drifting in South African happened in car parks. Circuit racers and drifters don’t see eye to eye over there.”
“Drifters have always had a bit of a bad rap. They’re associated with boy racers and hooligans on the street. I think Mike is changing people’s perceptions. He’s so professional about everything he does. I’ve been following him for a long time on social media and he’s done amazing things for drifting culture, not just in New Zealand but globally.”
Myburgh has progressed through Whiddett’s Drift Force events at Hampton Downs which give amateur drifters an opportunity to get some track time.
“George was at our first Drift Force event and his progress in the few months he’s been in New Zealand has been unbelievable,” says Whiddett. “He was used to carpark style drifting in South Africa in the SupaDrift series so it took him a while get used to the speed of drifting on a racetrack but he was one of my first wildcard picks from the Drift Force events to compete in the Top 32 Shootout. He was one of the standouts.”
Myburgh will drive a Nissan S14 with a 6.8 litre V8 engine at Summer Bash and he’s also entered in next seasons D1 NZ series.
“This will be my first competition in New Zealand and I’ll figure out pretty quickly what I need to work on,” he says. “I’m not expecting fireworks but I hope I can mix it with the top half of the field at least. It would be pretty special to go head to head with Mad Mike and knock him out in the first round. That would a pretty cool way to make a statement!”
Whiddett will be one of the favourites for the Top 32 Shootout at Summer Bash which will also feature Gaz Whiter, ‘Fanga Dan’ Woolhouse and a mix of New Zealand’s top professional and amateur drivers.
“It’s a busy weekend for me but I love it,” says Whiddett. “I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces and the enjoyment they get from watching the cars in action on the track. We’ve got Jarrod de Anda back on the microphone. He’s huge in the US where he’s known as the Voice of Drift and he really brings the sport to life for people who don’t know much about it. Summer Bash is all about celebrating drifting and we’ve got an action-packed day planned.”
The Top 32 Shootout is the feature event at Summer Bash and some of the other highlights include the Nitto Tire Triple Threat Team Drift, featuring three drift cars going sideways in tandem, and the ilabb Insane Entry Competition.
The public will also get a chance to take to the track at Summer Bash. The International Track Cruise is a rare opportunity for anyone to have a drive around Hampton Downs, in a controlled manner of course. You can cruise the 4km international circuit in your own car with family and friends at lunchtime.
Off the track there will be the Meguiar’s Hard Park Show ‘n Shine for people to display their cars and ‘Mad Mike’ will be wandering around picking his favourite cars. There will be a Family Fun Zone, VIP Trackside Lounge, including a private lunch with ‘Mad Mike’ and New Zealand’s top drift stars, a new viewing platform and grandstands so the fans can get up close to the action.
A star of the show will be Whiddett’s RADBUL, a 1200hp, 4 rotor, twin-turbo Mazda MX5 which he will run alongside several other machines that make up Mad Mike’s fleet. All pre-purchased tickets go in the draw to win a ride in Whiddett’s new MADCAB drift taxi with two friends, or a seat in one of the other cars in ‘Mad Mike’s’ garage.
There are new viewing platforms and trackside grandstands at Hampton Downs especially for Summer Bash, so the fans can get up close to the action. Entry is free for U15s accompanied by a paying adult.