I GOT TO BE A SPINNER FOR A DAY
There are many types of humans in this world with a vast array of interests. Some we can understand, some we can’t. I, for one, cannot understand how people are interested in watching someone hit a tiny white ball around until it sinks into a hole in the ground.
But, I’m sure those same people cannot understand my interest in MMA and boxing. I mean, I can elaborate for days on the strategic thinking, the mind games, and the physical attributes needed to compete, but some just won’t see it and be interested in the way I am. They’ll just think it’s a bunch of uneducated meatheads aimlessly throwing punches at each other.
There’s another sport, or should I say subculture, that I’ve also never really understood but has caught my attention here in Johannesburg; and that is the world of ‘spinning’, NOT drifting as I was informed by my inside guy, Victor Pardal, who was going to introduce me to this unknown world. He is a motorsport expert, MC, a professional drifter, and television personality known for hosting motoring-themed shows like Mzanzi Ridez and So You Think You Can Spin. Basically, he is a legend in the sport and has helped to grow it immensely.
I contacted him and he was more than willing to wys this Kaapstad whitey the way of the spin.
I arrived at Mayhem Raceway in Pretoria west with my entire personal production and film crew, which consisted of a good friend and myself. At the entrance, we were met with hoards of people pulling in with cooler boxes filled with dop. You can pay 50 of the finest rands and they’ll allow you in with a cooler box with all your ice-cold stash. I was already starting to like this place. Once we passed security, after they had searched my bag (as I joked it was filled with dagga), we made our way to the centre of the stadium where we could film and be spiritually one with the smell of burnt rubber and cheering.
It was quite tame in the beginning; we saw some rubber burning, some cars doing 360’s, etc., and we were just taking it all in, but our minds weren’t blown, just yet. We took a break and headed to the bar for some frosty, ice-cold Zamalek (Black Label beer). I chatted to some of the spinner enthusiasts and checked out the cars. You could see these guys lived for this; the enthusiasm, the banter, and the proud look they had standing next to their smoke machines on four wheels. It was just an all-around mooi vibe, especially when you’ve got some dop fermenting in your system.
Just in time, we made our way back to the centre of the track, as kak was about to kick off!
A parade took place where all the drivers got onto the track and started driving and parading around while revving their engines. It was like the start of the Olympics, but for spinning. And then the hard-core spinning commenced. The track cleared and two cars were coming out simultaneously and spun like there was no tomorrow. Clearly, everything they had practised for was now coming into play. Tyres were popping, smoke was flaring, and people were literally going bafuck! Some of the drivers not only pushed the limits with their driving but also went the extra mile with their appearance, by sporting some sadistically cool masks.
While all this madness was going on, I was informed that I would be getting in one of the cars to fully experience the spinner rush. When asked, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I was told that I would be riding shotgun with female SouthSide Crew driver, Kayla, a 17-year-old hailing from Kimberly. She was first introduced to the sport after attending events in her hometown where she realised that this was what she wanted to do. After convincing her parents that she could totally make the other drivers weep with her skills, she got her first car at fourteen and just three years later, she’s become a noticeable spinner in the country. I got in the car and quickly realised there was no seatbelt, and that they don’t wear helmets. I’ll be fine, I mean, what could go wrong? I’ll gladly put my life on the line for my loyal readers.
We were then signalled to enter the track and as we approached the crowd, my heart rate started to climb and what I experienced next, you can watch in the video below:
If I told you I didn’t kak my pants a tiny bit, I would be lying. When I got out the car, my whole body was rushing like a crack head who’d been on a binge the whole night, and my nerves were shot to pieces. I think the lack of safety might have been a big contributor to my excessive stress levels, but, I was in the good hands of Kayla, who seemed to be completely in control the entire time and didn’t seem to break concentration, only when to give a smile and wave to the camera. And her little brother who was the stuntman hanging out the sunroof, had balls so big, I could basically feel them resting on my head.
After spending a good few hours with these spinners, I could now see why people were addicted to this subculture; it’s that pure rush of adrenaline while cruising down the strip at top speeds, and suddenly swerving the car into a 180-degree turn and hitting the accelerator, as the tire rubber burns a wafty cloud of smoke encircles, while inhaling the fumes, and a heart racing, and fans cheering you on… one can’t help but feel high on life.
With some of the stunts these guys performed, the majority of people would probably think that these guys had to have a little bit of a death wish, and I probably wouldn’t argue with that. But, from what I could definitely see, they loved every moment, especially when they got a loud applause of approval from the crowd. From a sport, I previously had no knowledge of until now, I can understand why this sport has amassed the following it has. If you’re attracted to the wild side of life, like myself, and don’t mind inhaling the debris from tires and hearing the sounds of engines redlining all day, I would highly suggest a day with these daredevils.