After taming the Magic Roundabout in the UK earlier this year, New Zealand drift ace Mad Mike Whiddett and his trusty Mazda RX-8 BADBUL headed to South Africa to take on one of the country’s most famous stretches of road – the Franschhoek Pass.
“There is only so much you can do before you arrive,” explains Mad Mike. “Google Earth, some photos, maps – you know, that sort of thing. But with something like the Franschhoek Pass, you only really get a feel for it once you’re on the ground.”
Mad Mike believed that drifting the Franschhoek Pass, where he managed speeds of up to 155mph, was one of the drives of his life.
“When we go into competition, I can watch YouTube clips of guys running the actual course and learn every corner that way,” he says. “Doing something like this, where no one has done it before, the fun part is working it all out on the go.
“The drive itself was just crazy,” adds Mad Mike of the route between Franschhoek and Villiersdorp.
“I can compare it a bit to Conquer the Crown – a very successful project we did back home that was a gamechanger for drifting because of the credibility the sport got for the precision driving. The scenery is very similar, but this road was far more raw, with massive cliff-drops and not much run-off. Not much space for error.”
You go to racetracks and competition and you push beyond your boundaries, and if you slide off the track you have run-offs and sand traps, K-rail and tire walls… here, if you slide off the road, it’s game over. But that is why we push these elements, it’s what I enjoy – the adrenaline and the challenge”