IN PHOTOS: SPOILER ALERT
Burnout kings compete through smokescreen of shredded tyres to crown SA spinning champion
The fourth annual Red Bull Shay’ iMoto took place over the weekend at a venue in the south of Johannesburg with the country’s top spinners showcasing their best stunts and tricks as they battled for the 2022 title.
Known as South Africa’s premier spinning event, the gates were open to spectators who were excluded from the last two editions of the Red Bull Shay’ iMoto due to Covid regulations. The motorsport show was, however, streamed on RedBull live TV to audiences around the world. But this year saw a record-breaking 4,000 people fill the grandstands.
Kempton Park resident Simangele Mokadi, who was a part of the audience, described her emotion as she watched the spinners battle it out.
“How do I put this into words — it was spectacular. I can’t even describe it in words, that’s how amazing it was. Just seeing these guys spin, them wanting to win. It was awesome and different from the other spin shows, the adrenaline of watching was so intense. And it was completely different from watching it on TV.”
When asked who she was rooting for, she said, “Well I had hoped for my boy Yoram to win. The elimination round was intense but he was eliminated on Friday so I knew somehow that Samkeliso ‘Sam Sam’ would win again. When asked about her prediction she said, “The boy is good and very talented. He was mentored by the best, Jeff James.”
The course was challenging for even the most experienced spinners and the pressure mounted as they battled for first position while showcasing their spinning skills and signature stunts. Each contestant was given 2½ minutes to complete the course and although similar to last year, a few changes were made.
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The course consisted of a number of stages: The Target Slide, The Kitchen, The Box/Make-Out Corner, Side to Side/Bread and Butter, the Power Slide and the newly introduced Caterpillar.
In the end, it was Samkeliso ‘SamSam’ Thubane and Austin Kruger who battled it out. Both drivers displayed exceptional car control, technical skills, and flair that set up a mouth-watering finale that left the judges on the edge of their seats.
Just as Mokadi predicted, it was ‘Sam Sam’ that drove away with the 2022 title. He left the crowd and judges screaming for more as he displayed extraordinary driving skills and jaw-dropping stunts, including an exit from his car boot as well as playing his guitar while the car was spinning.
Said ‘Sam Sam’ in a press statement, “I am very happy to be the first driver to win the title back to back. Earlier in the day, I wasn’t feeling well, but I think the smell of burning tyres is my medication because once I got into the car I felt like myself. I still can’t believe I managed to win, but I kept going and did my best.”
This year Red Bull Shayi’ Moto introduced two more judges to assist spinning legends Magesh Ndaba, Jeff James, and Shahiem Bell in crowning the 2022 champion. Popular local kwaito star, Kabelo Mabalane joined the trio as a guest judge as they witnessed the thrilling night of Mzansi’s prime spinning event. The audience was also involved in an unofficial fifth judge capacity — using their LED wristbands, they could select their favourite driver in each round by switching on a red or blue light.
Bell, who has been judging the competition for the past four years, said, “This being the premier spinning event in South Africa just gets bigger and better. As much as the crowd gets excited, so do we as the judges. Having an audience this year made such a huge difference. One could literally see how the drivers engage with the audience. To put it into words, it was electrifying.”
Cape Town-based spinner, Yaseen Damon, has been participating in the Red Bull Shayi’ Moto since its inception, said, “For two years there were no crowds. If you pulled a stunt or jumped out of your car there was no one to hype you up. This year was different, there was a reaction from the crowd, people were screaming my name and I knew I had a reason to perform. This sport is based on having crowds.”
Regarding how he felt at getting knocked out in the quarter-finals, he said, “This year I came with a different mindset. I came to have fun. I enjoyed it and I had fun.” DM