Nicky Dicks, Ferrari F430 Challenge, Phakisa

Pro Tour Series: the Red Dragon had a skin job

Avid motorsport fans would notice the metamorphoses most of the race cars and motorcycles had undergone at the start of the new season. The outer skin gets new branding, new vinyl, new designs, new colours—impressive. Numbers rarely change. Each racing competitor holds firmly to his old number for the next season (if you think about it, it is only a number), but these numbers are part of the symbiotic structure that exists between man, machine, sponsors, and—die hard fans. After this metamorphoses a new life is handed down to man and race machine. With this new life (and a lot of confidence) they bravely enter the battlefield.

The Wisteria Lane pussy cat that turns into a fire-breathing-red-dragon on the racetrack, had also undergone a metamorphoses. During the long race season the outer skin gets nicked and in some instances it fades to a state of unattractiveness. The old skin is still there but onlookers don't appreciate it any more, it has reached an unsung autumn state—its time for the Red Dragon to shed the old skin.

How do we know what the Red Dragon really needs? His only ability to articulate himself comes in the form of an eardrum-bursting loud roar, around every turn, down every straight. A roar that drives fear into any competitor; a roar that conjures up loyalty and respect, and sometimes 'mild' swearwords, unsuitable for these pages. So how do we know what the Red Dragon really needs? Unfortunately spectators, avid motorsport photographers and fans could only speculate; Nicky Dicks has the only true answer to this fiery question.

In the Phakisa Freeway pit complex the Red Dragon stands firmly and silently in his demarcated area. The tethered beast waits patiently for the start of the new season. The Red Dragon has shed the old skin and flaunts a beautiful new look—boastfully. At first I can't decide which side of the dragon I should capture 'on film' first, eventually I settled for the whole dragon. Godspeed, Red Dragon, Godspeed. •

Words & Photos: Adriaan & Martine Venter (Pro Tour Series, Phakisa Freeway, 2012/02/17, Practice Session, 62 images) Main Image: Nicky Dicks #37, Ferrari F430 Challenge, GT Challenge.

GT Challenge Starting Grid: Vernon Bricknell, Christo Lotter, Chris Wishart, Charl Arangies, Sun Moodley, Greg Parton, Andrew Culbert, Nicky Dicks, Preyen Moodley, Kris Budnik, Johan Engelbrecht, Howard Blake, Stefan Puschavez and Andrie Bester.

Shelby Can Am Starting Grid: Rui Campos, Brain Algar, Alan Eve, Andrew Strike, Ferdi van Niekerk, Doug MacDonald, Thomas Reib, Greg Walker, Sean Greve, Craig Shorter and Alister Brown.

Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, next page >