This is how the Queen of Smoke, Stacey-Lee May, passes time during lockdown

Stacey-Lee May. Image: Distributed by Truth Collective
Stacey-Lee May. Image: Distributed by Truth Collective

Like everything else, motorsport in South Africa has come to a standstill. While there's no track racing, there's no huge crowds at weekend spinning events. And no, we're not talking about the kind in gym. 

Spinning has always been around locally, but only in recent years has it been recognised as an actual motorsport. And to be honest, it will be a very long time until car-spinners and fans will once again be reunited in clouds of burning rubber. 

From Eldorado Park in Johannesburg, Stacey-Lee May has become one of SA's motoring sweethearts. She has been spinning since a young age and has been hailed as the 'Queen of Smoke'. Much like rugby is to Siya Kolisi, so is spinning to May.

Her crazy car tricks and spinning performances have seen her recognised as one of South Africa's most well-known and popular car-spinners, and she has made appearances on shows like 'So You Think You Can Spin', 'Top Gear SA', and 'The Grand Tour'.

She also received the Gauteng's Woman of Honour award and starred alongside South African actress, Charlize Theron on Netflix's Motorsport show, 'Hyperdrive'.

For now, however, her engines are cooling. 

A family person

If you follow May on social media, it's evident that she comes from a tight-knit family, and they know how to have fun.

Stacey-Lee said of her family's lockdown approach: "We planned fairly well. Knowing that the shops were going to shut, we went out and bought some important parts for the vehicles we wanted to work on so that we would have enough to do during the lockdown.

"We are building up and working on a V8 that we hope to have ready for when lockdown ends."

Stacey-Lee May

Stacey-Lee May. Image: Distributed by Truth Collective

Adapting to lockdown

Now that we are deep in lockdown however, May's daily life has changed dramatically. 

She says: "Nowadays I wake up whenever, watch some TV or do some baking, which I have learned during lockdown, and it's great. On top of that, we have to look at different ways to hold events. Spinning and drifting events attract huge crowds, so we are going to have to adapt much like soccer has adapted with no spectators and with online streaming."

WATCH: Holy smokes! This V8-powered, drift-ready Auris is no man's joke

May has another trick up her sleeve for when the lockdown eases and when all gets going again. She says: "I'm playing Playstation all the time to work on my skills. I've been playing Need For Speed since the start."

When it comes to inspiration to keep her going during this time of relative inactivity, May doesn't have to look far. "I look up to my mom for inspiration, because she has been looking after us and pushing forward during lockdown," she says. "I also look up to the other athletes, because no matter what, they are all staying positive."

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