Motorsport

Spinning: Everything You Need To Know About South African Sport

The longstanding and popular motorsport was born in the townships of Soweto, South Africa, as a ritual to honour fallen gangsters during the Apartheid era

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Mpumelelo Macu / Red Bull Content Pool
Boksie performs at the Red Bull Shay'moto in Cape Town, South Africa, on March 16, 2024. Photo: Mpumelelo Macu / Red Bull Content Pool
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Squealing rubber, raging engines, dizzying revs and enough smoke to choke up a freight train, the sport of Spinning is bursting out of the underground motorsports world and making a name for itself. Spinning, that rose to prominence in the late 80s in the Rainbow Nation, has spread like wild fire amongst the young and old in the country. (More Motorsport News)

The longstanding and popular motorsport was born in the townships of Soweto, South Africa, as a ritual to honour fallen gangsters during the Apartheid era. Fast forward two decades later and spinning has transformed to become Africa’s biggest motorsport.

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The motorsport of the people is a wild mix of drifting and personal expression, which involves drivers locking their car into a spin and then – amid screeching tyres and clouds of smoke – climbing out of the car to perform moves on the bodywork or even hang upside down from the window with their head just millimetres above the ground.

For Spinners, the key goal is to entertain the crowd with their high-octane theatrics, and expensive hi-tech cars aren't needed to achieve this; however, a classic BMW 325i is still the pinnacle choice car for serious contenders.

Spinning is the pride and joy of the spinning community and is deeply rooted in South African culture based on what has been happening for more than 30 years.

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Sportive Director of Red Bull Shay' iMoto Vic Pardal says: "In pure, simplistic classification terms, Spinning is the art of controlling chaos while creating entertainment, just like theatre, while drifting is a motorsport governed by a strict set of rules and formats."

Pardal explains: "It's a culture and a movement, and yet, it's the only motorsport that covers all races and faces. Traditionally, it was used as a celebration of life at people's funerals and for certain other celebrations and purposes which were beyond the law. As long as there have been rear-wheel-drive cars in South Africa, people have been spinning. Still, spinning is very different today to what someone's uncle or grandfather was doing years ago in recreation centre parking lots."

Spinners have become performers out to entertain crowds and Pardal adds, "It's pretty much a travelling circus, where we, as the paid performers, travel from town to town and entertain the masses."

The 2024 Red Bull Shay' iMoto event was held on March 16 in Cape Town and saw Chadwin ‘Boksie’ Hadjie emerge as the latest star of the unique motorsports event.

The country's top spinners battled it out in front of nearly 4,000 fans at the specially created venue in Canal Walk and it was Boksie who impressed the audience and the judges, securing victory in the final battle and defeating two-time defending champion Samkeliso ‘Sam Sam’ Thubane.

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After his victory, Boksie said: "This is the most amazing feeling. I’ve been fighting hard over the past few years and finally the win has come."

While spinning isn't traditionally a competitive motorsport, Boksie's victory in front of an ecstatic crowd in Cape Town should help grow the sport even further as global drifting stars will be desperate to compete in the hugely entertaining event.

Despite the competition, there's a strong spirit of camaraderie amongst the drivers. Because for them, it is not just a sport, it is a culture that binds them together. From the young to the more experienced, they have all had a hand in building the status of Spinning in the country and expanding the imprint beyond borders. The next step: get the sport on the world stage.

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