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Matt “Mattress” Russell – ADGP Edition

What do you get when you put a SR86, twelve Hoshino’s, four Southernways Mesh, two toolboxes, a jack and a slab of beer on a tandem trailer and put it behind a 2.7 litre Hilux then add three people? A damn slow trip to Adelaide, that’s what. Don’t forget a slab of water too, as we all know Adelaide water tastes like the sole of a shoe. Still, we made the trip over to ADGP round 3 at Adelaide’s Mallala raceway in good time and with no hiccups.

Hotel Chris Johnson was the accommodation for the weekend, upon arriving we were greeted with the familiar sound of that damn KE70 that knocked me out in Tasmania the previous week in Tasmania, yes the Smith’s were also in town and still prepping the car the day before the event in a whole other country. After a long drive, no one was really up for a massive night so after a quick dinner at the local Hog’s Breath Café with an assortment of drifters from all corners of the country we retired to Chris’s house where I managed to swindle my way into Chris’s bed, unfortunately Chris opted for the couch and I ended up having to sleep next to this girl named Nicole who turned out to be my girlfriend.

Saturday morning wake up call courtesy of Mozza was rude, let it be known, if your not an alarm clock and you think you have the right to wake me from deep slumber, you better be bearing a damn coffee, and no instant stuff, im a mother flipping thoroughbred alright, I drink only the finest. After informing Mozz of this while still naked, it was time to make the seeming short drive compared to the day before, out to Mallala. I stamped my authority immediately with pit shed partner Jarrad Klingburg letting him know where his side of the shed was and where mine was, also anything he won over the weekend was to be automatically credited to me as I own the design and rights to his rear suspension.

Drivers briefing was the usual whinge fest with the occasional un-humorous joke however it had one MASSIVE twist. What some of you still might not know is that it was announced that after round 4 in W.A. the winner of the series, along with one registered driver drawn from a hat would be receiving an all expenses paid trip, including pit crew and car, to a round of D1NZ. No, no joke. D1NZ. Let’s face it, that’s a pretty huge experience for a group of people and I would like to take the time to give a shout out to ADGP registered driver Keith Adams for setting that up. Top notch.

Practice went off, a slightly revised layout of Mallala’s millennium old corners was being used and it was making for some great driving and tandems. The tyre’s posed their usual issue, after being swiftly moved by a few cars, they were then officially shifted and people really started to open up. Constant flow with only around 20 cars on the massive circuit at a time meant for fast, flat out return laps, which coupled with being in the desert, meant my car was getting hot. The problem solver for all overheating issues was put into action and the grill was removed. Back out I went.

With a new class design it meant for those of us that were in pleb class… I mean, non-registered drivers, we had to qualify in the top 10 to join the registered sex offen, ah, registered drivers in pro class. The remaining spots of the non-registered drivers formed the pro-am class. Luckily for me, I made the cut and slotted into the 27th position on the pro class list. I was hoping for a little better as I knew I had done some solid runs and I had watched some of the other guys, but I guess that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

After a traffic jam in the small town of Mallala, Chris getting booked for speeding and my pit crew (Lindsay and Nicole) with myself trying to sneak into a twilight motocross race meeting on the side of the freeway we finally made it back to the Johnson household. Long story short, I was that wrecked from all the driving in the desert that I jumped straight in the shower forgetting about Adelaide water (came out dirtier than I began), then fell on my face in the hallway and slept.

Sunday morning Subway breakfast took about 6 hours to receive. It must have been bring your boyfriend to work day as the girl serving was constantly getting distracted by a man wearing a bike helmet, smelling like he too had showered in Adelaide water about two years ago and rambling on about the free iced coffee he was meant to receive with his sub, after paying in 10 cent pieces and having an argument with a picture on the front of the local paper. Needless to say, someone may have mentioned something about a bike being stolen out the front and he was gone, breakfast was served.

My day ended as quickly as it began, my top 32 battle was one of the first battles of the day against Hayden Buckham in the blue VE ute. This car is literally about twice the size of mine and holy heck, it’s loud. It’s quite a daunting car to be pair up with, especially after the wild tandem runs he had been doing during practice the previous day with some of the other desert dwelling South Australians.

I chased first, had to pick up my entry speed to keep up with the ute into turn one however I managed to stick right with him for the remainder of the course. In my lead run, it was a similar story, the blue ute filled my mirrors with loud push-rod anger the whole time and I thought we would be going to re-run. As we approached the start line, Hayden was awarded the win and again, two weeks in a row, I had been knocked out by a damn V8, two weeks in a row I was deaf from V8 scream.

Aside from the extreme entry competition, all the weekends driving was over for me, so I had to make that count. To the judge’s, either give me the god damn trophy, or outline your ruling more clearly. There’s a video floating around of it, but I guess Stewy “madmanbackies” Bryant carried a little more speed in his entry than me, plus a scando, so he probably deserved it.

The remainder of the day was interesting to say the least. 3rd place qualifier (and potential favourite) Anthony Cece had an unusual straighten during his re-run in the top 16 against Dale Campaign allowing Dale through. Lloyd Smith, after destroying yet another box in practice on Saturday decided to follow trend and snap a tail shaft and destroy another box in his top 8 run also against Dale Campaign. Now that I think about it, it’s pretty clear that Dale is sabotaging cars to make his way through the battle tree, what else could explain it?

Stewy Bryant took on vegetarian Luke Fink in the top 16, and wow. Stewy knowing he had the underpowered car drove a very smart line to maintain proximity, unfortunately the two cars couldn’t resist temptation and they began to make love mid corner resulting in Luke receiving a broken knuckle, a common love making injury. Given the rule “if a driver makes contact that disrupts another drivers line, the hitter will be penalised” Fink was given a 10-0 advantage and time to repair his car. After which, he came back out on mis-matched knuckles and no alignment to defeat Stewy in a great battle.

The day progressed very slowly to the top four, drama’s, re-runs and tyre changes were really dragging the day out, but we were finally there. Rob Whyte was in top form again after qualifying first and defeated Nick “drift-kid” Coulson in the top four. Dale Campaign had given up his car sabotaging antics and beat four-eye’s Fink sending him to battle it out with Nick Coulson, where Luke eventually emerged the winner and claimed a hard fought 3rd place.

Rob Whyte took full advantage of the opportunity to gain himself a nice gap between him and Luke in the championship standings and drove to the win against stand out driver of the day, Dale Campaign

Big thanks to Chris Johnson and his family for the hospitality. Nicole and Lindsay for their help all weekend and the guys who keep me going: Leigh at Inverse Tyres, Jake at JDI fabrication, Chris and Brett at Shockworks, Aaron at Import Monster and Mozz at Ultimate Subaru Spares.

Credit to Luke Hobbs for the pics, obviously I don’t get much of a chance to take photos while im driving, so I just steal the shit out of them afterwards, check him out at: Photography by Luke Hobbs

September still isn’t over, drift attack is coming up in under two weeks and Mez will be filming the event for Wreck ‘em, hopefully he doesn’t have to insult the prophet and create riots worldwide to get the view count up.

XOXO, Gossip Girl.

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