‘Drifting Meets Dance Battle’ – The Wildest Motorsport You’ve Never Heard Of

Jackson Wheeler
5 Min Read

Combine tire smoke, engines on the edge of exploding and drivers who actually get out of the car while its drifting to dance. That’s a description of the sport of Spinning that has emerged from the underground in South Africa into the mainstream.

Born in the townships of Soweto, South Africa, as a ritual to honor fallen gangsters during the Apartheid era, the sport is now among the biggest in Africa. Called the “Motorsport of the People” it’s a mix of drifting and personal expression.

Spinning involves drivers who lock their car into a spin then climb from the car while it’s moving to perform moves on the bodywork or even hang upside down from the window with their head just inches above the ground. In 2012, Motorsport South Africa recognized an event in Soweto in which the spinners received “Official Motorsport Licenses for Spinning.” It’s now become an organized sport called “iMoto.”

This is not a high-tech sport with newer cars. In fact, although all makes and models can be used, competitors prefer classic BMW 325is.

“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,” says Sporting Director of Red Bull Shay’ iMoto Vic Pardal.

“It’s pretty much a traveling circus,” Pardal added. “Where we, as the paid performers, travel from town to town and entertain the masses.”

The “Super Bowl” of spinning, the 2024 Red Bull Shay’ iMoto was held Saturday in Cape Town, South Africa. The event brought together the top spinners in the country for a show in front of 4,000 fans. Qualifying was held among 16 drivers on Friday and culminated in the finals on Saturday which saw Chadwin ‘Boksie’ Hadjie emerge with the victory defeating two-time defending champion Samkeliso ‘Sam Sam’ Thubane.

“This is the most amazing feeling,” Hadjie, who finished runner-up in 2021, said after the win. “I’ve been fighting hard over the past few years and finally the win has come.”

Not all was smooth sailing for the winner.

boksie wins at the red bull shay'moto in cape town, south africa, on march 16, 2024 mpumelelo macu red bull content pool si202403170178 usage for editorial use only

Red Bull

Boksie celebrates his win at the Red bull Shay’ iMoto in Cape Town, South Africa, on March 16, 2024.

“On the first day out, we broke a steering rack,” Hadjie said. “The team fixed that but we didn’t have any test runs, so I was happy to qualify for the top eight. Then on Saturday, we broke our wheel studs, fortunately, my pit crew fixed that, along with a few other issues, and we could push through!”

Spinning isn’t just about the competition. There is a strong camaraderie among the drivers. For them it’s not just a sport, it’s a culture with deep roots in their country.

“It’s a culture and a movement,” Pardal said. “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 center parking lots.”


I have been around and written about the sport of NASCAR for over three decades and previously worked fulltime for the Sporting News and  Scripps-Howard News Service.  I am also a contributor to two Chicken Soup  for the Soul books including the NASCAR edition, published in 2010 and  the author of “The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers’  Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing.” I am a multiple National  Motorsports Press Association award winner. Early in life I spent 23  years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that  in and around the Special Operations community serving in support of  Operation Just Cause, Desert Shield/Storm and ended my military career  in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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