WHEELS OF FURY Ft. MAD MIKE
The good, the bad and the ugly. By Nishaam Ebrahim
With the last Wheels of Fury event held at Grand West being an absolute scorcher, weather wise … we all prayed for a cooler day. I think we prayed too hard though as we were met with a blustery day instead, but hey, we’ll take that over 35 degree heat any day. First off we must thank and congratulate the organizers on what was overall a good event. We have been behind the scenes long enough to know what it takes to organize an event like this, let alone get Red Bull to bring Mad Mike down here … well up here … cause he’s from New Zealand, get it, dry I know.
Anyway, it was apparently 2 years in the making but man oh man was it worth it. Mad Mikes drifting skill is insane, his 800kw RX8 is a smoke machine!! He drifted through the course effortlessly, coming ridiculously close to cones and barriers on every demo run. Something he apparently does on purpose, well he is Mad Mike after all, so it should be expected I suppose. Then there’s the man, down to earth, humble, always willing to chat to fans and fellow drivers. His machine, the RX8 is amazingly put together. His crew, completely professional, something our local guys can aim for. Well … At least this is what I was told.
You see, Us, as media, I wasn’t allowed near the Red Bull tent at all. I don’t have a single pic of his car in the pits, his mechanics working on the car, let alone a pic of the man himself or even a pic with him and some fans. NOTHING. You’d think as media we’d be granted some sort of access to the biggest draw card of the event. I mean isn’t that the point of media? There was a clear gap between what the organizers planned in terms of access and what Grand West decided was feasible access on the day. Whose fault was it? I don’t really care, but my thing is … If this is how I felt as someone with apparently unlimited access, how did those feel who had normal ticket entry? Hell even those with VIP tickets had restrictions as they weren’t V-VIP’s.
There has been lots of rumblings all over social media about what a good / bad event this was, to me overall it was a good event. But, there’s always a “But”!! This event was saved by the entertainers and competitors. Our drifters have really stepped up their game over the years. Most runs were tight, often requiring the fan favorite “one more time”. For me, Shane Green and Sean February had one of the hardest fought tandems on the day. The final was dramatic to say the least with Otto Graven taking the Top Spot at the end of the day. Most of the people we spoke to thought it was our visitor from Mozambique, Zanil Satar who should have taken the win with the initial “one more time” not really necessary, but hey, maybe the judges saw something different on the day.
Last but not least, the commentary team … Ernest Page, Wardah Hartley and Vic Pardal. You guys rock!! Had it not been for the fantastic commentating and spectacular show put on by our competitors this event would have been just been an awesome demo run by Mad Mike. And on the “Car Show” section of the event … my mother always said, if you don’t have anything good to say about something you should rather just shut your mouth!! So, let’s just go back to the heading of the article …. The Good, the Bad and the … UGLY.