DRIFTCity 2023 – In Conversation with the 2018 DRIFTCity Winner, Jim McFarlane

DRIFTCity 2023 – In Conversation with the 2018 DRIFTCity Winner, Jim McFarlane

Sunday, 24 September, will see the return of DRIFTCity to the Grand Parade in Cape Town. After a few years of hiatus, the event is back on and promises to be bigger and more adrenalin-filled than ever. DRIFTCity is also the host of one of the most incredible Custom Car Shows, presented by Meguiars. There is a lifestyle exhibition area, go-karts, a food village, a fun zone for the kids and spectator ride-alongs.

We got chatting with the 2018 DRIFTCity winner, Jozi drifter Jim McFarlane. He told us about his favourite engine, his pre-event training program, and more.

 You’ve won enough events in your time. What would you reckon is your most memorable win?

Winning the 2017 National Championships was one of my best achievements. We had 7 or 8 events that year in the series, and I came out on top.

You have competed internationally as well. How do you rate locals vs. international riders? Are we as good as the rest?

Our local fraternity of drifters is phenomenal. I have been lucky enough to compete internationally, and honestly, our boys are some of the best in the world. My international competing experience has always been in a rented vehicle, and I personally have always managed a top-ten finish against the international crew. Our drivers are experienced in drifting and gymkhana, so they will always give the internationals a good run for their money in skill and expertise. 

Jim McFarlane in action © Eric Palmer
You always speak very highly of your support team. Tell us more about the team, the duties and how you guys work together. 
So obviously, we have a big team, and we travel in a truck and do all that stuff, but the team is so important. Whether it is the mechanic, the tire changers, or my wife, she is part of the team and helps with the focus and the mindset. We all work together. When the mechanics are getting the car in top performance mode, and my wife is getting my mindset focused, then it’s always great. It’s a complete support structure, and so much about competing is the mind game.

You’ve obviously driven many vehicles in your time. What is your favourite engine for drifting?

I prefer naturally aspirated power over turbo-charged or boosted engines. Let’s also remember the fact that steering and suspension are of utmost importance as well. I have trust in my mechanics to be doing all of this work for me to have the optimum performance. 

Do you have a fitness program before an event such as this? 

Yes, I train before any event. I’m a big guy, and I need to keep the weight down, and I also need to work on my core. So it’s gym work and weights and generally all-around hard training. You must understand that I am throwing a car from side to side, and you need quite a solid core to do that. 

Good luck for Sunday.

Thank you very much. See you there.

Catch DRIFTCity at the Grand Parade, Cape Town, this Sunday, 24 September.

DRIFTCity Quick Facts

DRIFTCity 2023 – Sunday, 24 September 2023. 

Gates open @ 11h00! 

Get your tickets at Computicket. 

General Access Standing @ R150 (Computicket) / R170 (At the gate).

Grandstand Seating – unreserved @ R280

Get tickets for DRIFTCity 2023 




Surfing: JBay Open Has Closed

Surfing: JBay Open Has Closed

JBay Lineup © WSL/Ryder

While there is no official release yet from the World Surf League, the surfing world’s worst-kept secret is that the Corona Open JBay has been cancelled for 2024. This cancellation is catastrophic news for the JBay community and the surrounding areas, as the contest brings in a much-needed cash injection during the winter months for the otherwise quiet town.

There have been many theories about the reasons behind the cancellation, but the bottom line is most likely financial reasons. 


A Championship Tour event on the World Surf League is said to cost north of US$ 2 million to run. That’s a lot of Rands. Around R 4o Million or thereabouts to get started. In other countries, the lion’s share of that spending comes from the government, keen to attract surf tourism and utilise the dream of surfing in their country’s tourism marketing campaigns.

The argument against this cost is that we work in Rands, so the price should be considerably lower for such an event. Although the WSL does employ many local people to help with their events, the truth is that a large portion of WSL staff who work at events, get paid in USA$, and thus, the figures will always be high. This cost is the same for JBay, Indonesia or India (yep, they have pro events in India), where the exchange rates are abrupt. 

Three-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina  (Photo by Beatriz Ryder/World Surf League)


The value that a Championship Tour event, and any event with a live feed, actually has for WSL has much to do with their live feed. The number of viewers watching live is regularly touted as part of the value of sponsoring or co-sponsoring an event, even to the effect that they now have a Bailey Ladders ladder company as a sub-sponsor and Wallex, an international money transfer company as a major sponsor.

The problem is that when the JBay event is on and running, The USA, primarily where the big live numbers come from, is mostly asleep. Australia is dossing as well. The live viewership numbers for JBay are apparently the weakest on tour, and at one stage a few years ago, a WSL official said it was the only event with more playback views than live views. Apparently, the playback views have a lesser perceived value than the live views. 

Surfing: JBay Open Has Closed

Jordy Smith (Photo by Beatriz Ryder/World Surf League)

Big Bucks

But, to call a spade what it is, no government body here will be prepared, nor allowed, to hand over that many millions into a two-week contest that delivers a relatively short economic boost to the region. 

Or, as erudite surf journalist Longtom succinctly put it, “Without a functioning business model to wean itself off State Tourism bodies, the WSL is locked in a prison of its own making.”

 It is a sad day for surfing in South Africa. There are very few pro events in the country. The loss of the JBay Open will reverberate across the local JBay and Kouga community and the surf industry.