Mike took on Franschhoek Pass a route with hairpin bends that have killed many. He calls this one of the drives of his life, so far.
“When we go into competition I can watch Youtube clips of guys running the actual course and learn ever corner that way. 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,” Mike says of the R45 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 game-changer 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 like massive cliff-drops and not much run-off. Not much space for error.”
You go to race tracks and competition you push beyond your boundaries and if you slide off the track you have run offs and sand traps, you have k-rail and tyre walls… here, if you slide off the road, it’s game over.
Mad Mike Whiddett on Franschhoek Pass
“But that is why we push these elements, it’s what I enjoy – the adrenaline and the challenge”
According to Mike when he’s driving, whether racing or drifring a new route, he’s completely focussed, and puts any fears or doubts out of his mind. “You can’t think about the risks,” he says. “I used to do freestyle motocross and back then I used to think about the ‘what-if’s’ a lot and I had a lot of crashes.”
Mike has worked long and hard to overcome that and now has a very specific mental and physical preparation routine in the build up to a project or race.
“I used to listen to music and was always very hyped. Now I find I’m a lot more calm, relaxed and focussed. In terms of competition I could visualise the win, but I wasn’t always visualising the way there – you have to get to the finish line first!”
“Drifting is hard because you need to be thinking about the next corner – you set the car up for the turn in the previous corner – all while you have to be thinking about exactly what you are doing at that point in time.”
“Now it’s just like natural instinct, I consider the car an extension of my body.”
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