Whilst Mez is busy finishing off the Official video for this event, Matt Russell is back with another one of his stories!
Well this event really started a week before hand, with a trolley jack under the chassis rail of my car and three people jumping on my driver’s side strut tower and guard. Yep, just the usual pre-event preparation for you all I am sure; however it was so cold and so dark, far from the warmth and fluorescent light of my carport. Whilst my fine Friday night pit crew did there best on my chassis straightening after a minor cliff drop they could hardly be blamed for the death of my diff some hours later. So here lay my dilemma. With less than a week until drift attack was I to finish my new car off in a rush and hope that it doesn’t fall apart on it’s maiden voyage? Or would I cut my losses, pull the good diff from the new car and place it in the old one and do some minor panel beating? A choice that no one could make, except maybe my tuner who said there was no way he would be able to fit my new car in that week.
So here we are in the line for scrutineering, which is always a bit nerve racking for me, I think I get more of a rush when the “passed” sticker gets put on my car than when im actually drifting, but maybe that’s just me but sure enough, the old girl passed through again with flying colours, all I had to remove was the slab of Jack Daniels from the passenger seat, the one wrapped in the red ribbon.
Practice and qualifying was very interesting, having never seen the track before I didn’t really know what to expect, I probably should have looked at a video of it on youporn before hand but I know very little about how to use a computer (I actually type these on a type writer, mail them to Mez, he then scans them in and puts them on the blog). I felt I was struggling greatly as during the diff swap, I managed to loose basically all use of the handbrake as for some unknown reason, it would not bleed up properly. I found on average, 7 pulls of the handbrake before I actually needed it to lock would do the trick, this was fine for the first corner as I could pump it up on the run in, however making the link between corner three and four was made near impossible as even though I am a bit of a wanker, I think when people call me that they forget the real meaning of the word as im not quick enough on the pull to reach the climax of my handbrake and really extend that pleasure all the way deep down into turn four as I would have hoped.
In one of my practice runs a friend of mine asked if I would have the honour of escorting his very own mother for a couple of hot, hot, hot laps around the track, to which I quickly inclined. My friend Cam is right into his drifting, with his own 86 currently in the build, I guess he just wanted his mother to know what it was all about and why he was constantly making all that noise in the shed late at night. The first lap was great, she seemed calm and to be enjoying the ride, however I and my lawyers believe I gave my friend and his mother both adequate and clear warning of the troubles I was having with my handbrake. So when I was informed that I would be put up on sexual assault charges from all of the “missed” handbrake pumps I was bitterly disappointed, still couldn’t get that pleasure to fourth base… ah, fourth corner.
Having qualified further back in the field than I would have hoped for meant I was going to go up against a greater driver (for those who don’t know, a battle tree is initially (usually) formed with 1st VS. 32nd, 2nd VS. 31st ,etc.). This greater driver just happened to be Papa from the insane drifters. I chatted with Papa briefly in the dummy grid, we spoke about life and whatnot, but as I didn’t want a second law suit for the day I thought I should warn him of the car troubles I was having and that if he heard me yelling or on the horn mid corner he should move as I either cant stop, of something has broken off my car and is heading straight for him. Luckily, I did not need to do this as I don’t think my horn works anyway, regardless, he won the battle easily and advanced to the top 16 after a “close-to-spin-but-not-spun-but-basically-stopped-anyway” move from myself in the chase run, I think that’s the technical term for it anyway.
I weighed up my options, considering I was still on my first pair of tyres for the day, I decided to swindle my way into doing some of the passenger rides down the back of the track so I could destroy some more of Inverse tyres tyre’s. The passenger track proved to be very good fun with some help from Nathan Saunders, Matt Goodlet and Nic Wilson allowing us to all tandem with each other until my car overheated, over and over, which doesn’t really phase me, at all. Apologies to Calder park about mowing their lawns.
Expression session came around and my girlfriend Nicole murmured the words “can I come as passenger?”. Something I have never heard from her, what could this mean? Many thoughts ran through my head. Would everything go well and I live to see another day? Would I be sleeping on the floor for weeks to come? Would I be paying that lawyer double time? Thankfully, after trying to escape the car numerous times on the start line all went well and I was urged to tandem with other drivers. This was a great thing for not only Nicole to overcome but it was also a new experience for me having her in the car after nearly four years as I still didn’t make that fourth corner, but in grabbing second gear Im also pretty sure I grabbed second base, a whole base higher than I have ever been before.
It was great to see Jake Jones come out on top of pro class, something that I think has been a long time coming for Jake, and it was defiantly well deserved after many events of bad luck and car issues. Agges and Nigel taking out 2nd and 3rd respectively was no surprise, especially with Agges coming off two very strong ADGP podiums and Nigel forever being consistently smooth, fast and just generally good. It was also good to see people like Andy McNeill up as far as 7th position, for someone who drives a car once a year and spends the rest of his time seeing how many motors he can blow up, he still seems to be able to put it together on game day.
In the street class, my good friend Chris Johnson took the win over Adam Morbarek with Richard Ryan in 3rd place. Honourable mention would have to go out to Craig Thorp in the bluebird from Tassie, qualified first in probably my favourite car of the event, however due to an unusual mistake from Thorpy, he did not advance to the top 8. I think the best thing about it was that he arrived on the boat from Tassie Saturday morning, drove the bluebird straight to the track, drifted, drove back to the boat and went home again that night. That’s dedication and a tight schedule if I ever saw one. Maybe his mistake in the top 16 was all planned, just so he could make it back to the boat in time, whilst qualifying first, just so everyone knew what he was capable of?
As I was leaving, I was informed of the “official” after party in some trendy place in St. Kilda (THANKS FOR THE LATE NOTICE). I didn’t end up attending the official after party, as im all about being different and not being trendy, plus the “unofficial” after party had more naked ladies guaranteed, even if we had to pay. Regardless, the un-official after party went off, it was good to catch up with everyone in a much more relaxed environment… apparently. I can’t really tell you too much more about the after party as I may or may not have been asleep on a couch in this particular strip club for the majority of the time. However considering one of the Tasmanians that walked in at 7am and slept on my floor informed me that he gave a nice girl at the after party that was aimlessly walking around on a table and training to be a fireman $450 to take her clothes off a couple of times, I knew it must have been pretty good.
Big thanks go to Vic Drift, yet again, another great event run and won. Leigh Pidwell at Inverse tyres for hooking me up with rubbers, Karl and Luke at Unique Automotive Australia, Jake at JDI fabrications for welding up my busted bits and anyone who bought me a drink at the after party, both I and the toilets were very thankful, not so much the bouncers.
- Matt Russell