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Matt the love muscle Russell – ADGP round 2

Still with a sour taste in my mouth from round one of ADGP due to what I considered an average effort from myself and simply not enjoying the event as much as I would usually, I very reluctantly entered round two. When Saturday morning dawned I hitched up the trailer, which was a little different as I’m usually jumping in my tow truck, however with the tow truck still out of action from its illegal drag racing 12,000rpm valve busting incident, I was lucky enough to borrow a friend’s trailer. Yet this was about the only real difference for the morning of an ADGP event as I was about to find out. The familiar sight of the sign in line stretching out the door and into the sunrise reminded me why I didn’t want to enter. Hurry up, just to wait.

From there, the weekend got better. Sun was shining, wind was howling, birds were… non-existent because it’s the West but most of all, the burnout racing had begun. After having numerous altercations between the wall and my old faithful rust rocket sprinter at last years ADGP Calder round I found my self being very careful (being a pussy) with choosing my line’s this year considering I was in a car that was somewhat straighter than last years car. By the end of practice I was happy with my entry speed, happy with where I was entering from, happy with the angle I had, it was still my line that was holding me back and continued to hold me back in qualifying.

My first qualifying run was an excellent example of a qualifying run for time attack, fast, good lines and absolutely no drifting at all, one might call it a socially acceptable run with no tyre screech to be heard. This was due to what I imagined was a snapped axle, a swift dummy grid brakie ensured my initial diagnosis was incorrect so I went out for my second qualifying run, my only chance. I felt I put in a strong run, line still lacking slightly, but otherwise it was a run that I thought would put me up in the top half of the field, obviously I didn’t listen to the judges in drivers briefing as my run put me into qualifying position number 24.

Rob Whyte was on top of his game taking the number one qualifying spot with equal points to Luke Fink who had only completed three or four practice laps due to a string of bad luck with two broken gear boxes and a broken rear knuckle. I would have put all these broken parts down to Luke being a round bloke, but he’s lost some roundness lately, all the vege-burgers must be paying off. (What? Come on, Fink and I are mates, I can say this). Last minute entrant Mohamed Elhaouli filled the top three qualifying spots with some very convincing runs including a neat wall-tag here and there for good measure.

Privateer class qualifying was no real surprise when we saw the veteran John Dreyer top the list. I think he thought we would have forgotten him by now down here in Victoria so he entered the privateer class, but who could forget such a pretty face. Stirling Wright arrested the second qualifying position in his drift patrol police car with Justin Incorvaja only 0.7 points behind him. It was also good to see Gavin Considine push the big 4AGE powered KE70 up to 7th in qualifying, a challenging track with its banked corners for the little 4AG.

Sunday’s weather looked just as good as Saturdays, yet we all know what Melbourne’s weather can be like. The morning started with the privateers hitting the track for a quick practice run, and when I say hitting the track, I really do mean hitting just like get most mornings from my girlfriend before work. It would have seemed that half the cars that went out on track were either coming back into the pits with a front looking like a shaved ring hole or a triangular-lized (it’s a word, don’t doubt me) rear quarter panel. One car I noted that returned to it’s pit home on the back of the tow truck was the Sil-eighty belonging to J-Waz of Hit and Run drift club fame. At some point on Saturday someone asked if they could borrow my oil drain pan, “not an issue” I replied to the stranger, “as long as you bring it back cleaner than me” to which I got a strange look, possibly because I’m a disgusting form of life that bathes in a sink. Either way, my oil pan was not seen for the remainder of the day, so I sent out a manhunt. Upon finding the pan, still full of oil I decided to investigate the reason behind this before stomping heads with my large stature and general heaviness. What would you know, that oil also contained most of J-Waz’s bottom end and there was the man, covered in oil, under his car, cross-member and sump off, doing a rebuild on axle stands in the pits. I awarded him dedication of the week award which won him free use of the oil drain pan for the remainder of the weekend, unfortunately that was on saturday, when his car came back on the truck it was Sunday morning, it had had a tantrum and thrown a steel leg out of the bed after its overnight rebuild.

The privateer’s top 16 comp seemed to race through from beginning to end in the blink of an eye, I’m going to be honest, I missed most of it, so I’m not going to pretend I know the full details. But basically Nic “drift-troll” Wilson came from qualifying 15th to taking out the win in a very controversial (controversy? In drifting? …No, never…) re-run against Clint Cohen in what I would have to call the most exciting run of the weekend, excitement that no doubt caused most of the controversy and arguments, but guess what, I’m about the fun in drifting, not the bullshit, so I wont write about it. Number one qualifier John Dreyer rounded out the top three in some good battles against local town drunk, Nathan Saunders.

The pro class top 32 battles saw me go up against Papa of the Insane Drifters, Papa pointed it out, that almost every event that I have done in the last year I have pretty much always ended up against him or Agges, maybe its fate? Either way, to battle we went and battle we did, my chase run on Papa was nothing special, with the big red S14 managing to pull a neat gap. In my lead run, I pushed wide into the main turn and had to quickly slow down, this caused Papa to have to take evasive action from a collision (my bad) which messed up his run slightly and in turn gave me the win.

During the top 16 drivers introduction I happened to hear Kelly Wong mention that she didn’t like being considered “a good driver for a girl”, instead just wanted to be considered “a good driver”. Well Kelly, your Wong, you’re a great driver and always a tough opponent as I have found in the past and ADGP was no different. Luckily for me, during my chase run Kelly made a mid corner correction that allowed me to close the gap and advance through to the top 8.

Top 8 essentially spelled the end of the road for me, Rob Whyte. The Monster energy backed 350Z sure lived up to its monster name and Rob certainly has the driving to match. As we rolled out onto the line, the rain dropped, dropped like a sack o’ taters, possibly a good thing? Who am I kidding? I’m on 195’s, it wasn’t going to matter. I chased first up, started well and had everything going perfectly whilst sitting up next to the passenger door of Rob, right until the exit of turn two, where I began to spin. I backed off as I figured that I would be better to drop off the pace and straighten, rather than risk it and almost certainly spin in hope that Rob might possibly loop out in his chase run. Unfortunately for me, this was not the case, although my second run was clean, Rob certainly had more than the skill required to tuck up neatly on my door and push through to the top four, finishing the weekend off for me.

After Leigh Pidwell’s car (yet another borrowed car, thanks to brother Shaun for this one) suffered some mechanical issues during his re-run against Nic “driftkid” Coulson in the big Holden VE ute, Coulson went through to the top 4 where he was defeated and thrown into the battle for third against Danny Williamson. A couple of tight runs from both drivers would have made the judges decision a hard one, but eventually Danny Williamson came away with the goods.

Equal number one qualifiers Luke Fink and Rob Whyte both lined up for the number one spot, now if you hadn’t have seen this combination coming from the start of the weekend then you must be blind, and if you are actually blind then that was incredibly offensive of me and I apologise, although you may not be able to read this apology, nor the insult so basically these last two lines are absolutely pointless and nothing but space fillers because I’m lazy and if I don’t type a certain amount of words for Mez, he wont feed me. But in reality, with Rob’s flawless driving all weekend, and Luke having this ability to always make good things happen despite mechanical issues or being out on the town until 4.30am the night before (yeah, I saw your facebook Fink), this battle was always going to happen.

It was obvious why these two had equal points in qualifying, both battle runs consisted of good lines, awesome proximity and big speed. The judges thought so too as they sent the boys back out for a re-run. This time “The surgeon” (that’s Fink for those of you who don’t know, honestly, who came up with that? Its terrible) gave the wall a French kiss, slightly upsetting his line and giving Rob Whyte the advantage and the win.

All in all a good weekend, skids were had, tow truck’s still dead, got my oil drain pan back without having to unleash. The event ran nice and smoothly with minimal hold ups, a big compliment to Brett Wilkinson on that one, helped of course by the beautiful Yoshi Abbey of Vic Drift. Robbie, Choonga and Jesus kept the pits and dummy grid in order while Ben Shaw and Steve Kae kept the start line running well and occasionally allowing a few 4th gear entries to happen from way back at pit entrance. Its these volunteers that keep the events happening and happening well, if you get the chance, thank these people as they should be and lend a hand every now and then, don’t just be a greedy twat like me all your life and just drive, drive, drive. That’s for me to do.

Big thanks as usual to all those who help me on a personal level at the events, Aaron at Import Monster, Leigh “The Stain” Pidwell at Inverse Tyres, Mozz of Moonah Auto Parts Recyclers, JDI Fabrications and my pit crew for the weekend, girlfriend Nicole, my slave Kumar and tyrechangingfriend Cliff.

Big gap now until the next ADGP round (Mallala, September 15 & 16) but plenty of state and local events happening in between. In the mean time grab your camera and your commodore and go and film something for us all to watch on A Current Affair. I’m out.

1 thought on “Matt the love muscle Russell – ADGP round 2

  1. Great Stuff Matt! Love your writing style.

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