Drifting, Spinning, and Dragging… If you like any of these activities then watch out for this. The national finals of the Bragging Rights 2021 racing competition brought smoke, noise, and much excitement to Cape Town.

The best of the best competed for the ultimate prize of Drift, Spin, and Drag Kings at the Killarney Race Track.

Juan Stemmet makes it look easy. It becomes clear that he knows ‘a fair bit’ about driving when he drifts into a bend, almost weightless and with ease. He was crowned, once more, as the Bragging Rights Drift King.

To win this title he competed against 15 other drivers and was judged, among others, on angle, smoke, and style.

Drift King Juan Stemmet says this was his first time out with his new car.

“My car is a Nissan 200 SX, it’s size 13 and 15 front on it and yeah! In 2019, we competed in japan with the car and it was like a huge learning experience and we came back we rebuilt the whole car. And today was actually the first time out with the new car and so far it’s feeling great.”

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Drifting is one of three disciplines at the prestigious Bragging Rights Event. Competitors also show their grit in spinning and drag racing. There are no stopwatches with the boisterous drag-race cars – two competitors line up, wait for the light to change and it’s going go.

The fastest competitor wins and speeds of up to 230 km/h are clocked.

Drifting & Spinning Bragging Rights Organiser, Raziek Rajah, says this sport sometimes can be expensive.

“You know some people choose to play with a golf stick, others choose to do mad things, going sideways at a 140, others choose to go at 100 kilometers spinning their car all around. I guess, you know, we all find a vice in life. This is sometimes an expensive vice but I think it’s a vice that doesn’t stop.”

There is plenty of noise and burnt tyre smell to make any enthusiast giddy with joy. Racing, spinning, and drifting are immensely popular and this event, and the legal side of the sport, has the approval of the city of Cape Town.

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis says safety is the most important priority.

“It’s important that we provide a safe area, a facility for the sport to take place and for these various events to take place so that we can it off the public streets…We get it here into a purpose-built track and facility for them so that fans, spectators can come and enjoy it in a safe environment and we can really support the growth and popularity of the sport in cape town.”

There are trophies and prize money, yes. But the prestige comes with a white cap, which only sits on the heads of race masters or Drift Kings. And it’s worn like a crown as a signal to others of the skill and mastery of their craft.