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Story time with Matt Russell!

A long time between drinks for me (not literally of course), but this is my first piece since 2012 I believe. Some call it laziness, I also call it laziness but at least im not… wait what was I saying? Time for another drink.

Anyway, I thought I would do a bit of a cover of what’s been going on for me in the first half of this year briefly before I start covering the events that are coming up and explaining in detail the after party, trip there, the trip back and occasionally the drifting in between.

Muski & I matsuri
As usual, the year started of with a bang at the bi-annual Vic drift Winton matsuri. Much like the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics this event happens at the beginning and the end of each year, its has fireworks similar to that of the Olympics, it has drunken caravan park demolition much like the Olympics, basically the only differences are that we swap the steroids for beers and athleticism for automobiles. As usual, I attended with two cars, my AE86 and my old AE86 that I lend to an enemy each matsuri in hope that their ill fate lays within the Bride seat of that death trap car.
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Matt “Do these WreckEm guys even do anything” Russell

Well, you haven’t heard from me in a while, I can only assume you’ve been enjoying your time away from me? Good to hear. Anyway, round 3 of the Tasmanian state drifting series was on a couple of weekends ago, I know I have been slack, but as my girlfriend always says, better late or never.

The usual beginning of the story, a Thursday afternoon, not long knocked off work and I begin my endeavour to the dock’s using every available back road in my abnormally loud 1983 model corolla. Once arriving at my destination I boarded the great vessel, now lets get one thing straight, the “Spirit of Tasmania” is blatant false advertising, that boat has no spirit at all, you want to have an long, restless night out, go and jump on that boat on your own and see just how many spirits you need to drink before anything gets spiritual.
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Matt “I get around like 2pac” Russell – This time in Tassie!

I know what you’re thinking! Where the hell is this Japan update? Good news is its on its way, bad news it will be accompanied with a video! Stay tuned. Any way on the weekend Matt went and did some drifting and as usual he has a story for us without pictures!

So sleep deprived its not funny, but it was worth it.

Yes im talking about Round Two of the Win Networks Tasmanian drifting series that was held last weekend at Baskerville Raceway. As usual, I headed down with a few fellow Victorians to experience the scenery and then cloud that scenery with a haze of smoke and deafening straight pipes.

Thursday afternoon I pulled up at the boat and to my amazement I was greeted by Tom Hamilton, acquainted by his girlfriend Ash unloading Tom’s borrowed R32 four door in the middle of the road, why was I so surprised you ask? Well Tom has this knack of managing to push time limits right out to the point where he once held up the whole spirit of Tassie for nearly half an hour, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him there on time. Alongside helping him were Justin Stockley and Nathan Saunders in the Ascend Automotive JZX100 and in the distance I could hear the rumble of another 1JZ piloted by Nick Wilson through the streets of Port Melbourne.

Nathan & Myself
Nathan and Myself

The journey had begun.

The boat trip was the usual “lets see how many people actually can put up sitting near us” evening. Entrée’s of beer were served followed by a main of beer. Matt (not me, apparently im not the only one in the world) decided he was too classy for beer all night and had managed to smuggle a fine bottle of scotch on board, however his up-marketness later turned into up-throwingness in the toilets. So I figured it was my duty to help him clean up. A hose appeared at the bottom of his locked cubicle and proceeded to gush like a good Christian on his wedding night, however not a sound came from Matt so Nick and I soon retired from the bathroom and proceeded to slap sleeping people until Tom snapped and nearly went postal on Nick.

Tom Hamilton
Tom Hamilton

Nathan, Tom and Stockers managed to quickly find the token spirit of Tassie mental case for the night and took a turn for the worse when they were offered some of his candy, ironically, this guy at one point in the night had two of (what we thought were) his daughters with him, however come morning he left the boat on his lonesome. We too thought it was time to jump ship and start the drive down to Hobart, however before we did that a toilet break was needed, unfortunately a sign read the toilets were closed due to flooding, who knows what happened there?

The drive down was started with Stockers loosing most of the bolts from his exhaust after about 50km, so whilst fixing that I thought it was probably a good time to call the boss and let him know I was feeling a little under the weather, to which he was fine with, because it was the truth, I just didn’t say where or why I was feeling under the weather. Exhaust fixed, boss notified, back on the road. Now Tassie cops have always been pretty good with us, however when one started following us in two bumperless, unregistered JZX100’s an unregistered R32 and a dirty old banged up bucket of bent metal sprinter I thought we had gone too far this time, 20km’s they let us sweat for, then just went around us, seriously, when are they going to give me the reaming I so desperately deserve?

Game day dawned, off to the track we headed, at a nice and early time for once. However there still wasn’t enough time spared for my unexpected turbo oil feed line stripping out of the block for a repair… or was there? Deloraine districts finest Disco Dave Dennis and I got on the job quickly, tapped a new thread through the mangled random sized one in the block, cut the thread off a brand new rack end, drilled a hole down the center of it, then a hole across it, put it in the block and bolted the line to it with a wheel nut. Seriously, WHO THINKS OF THAT? (Martin Croall of Tasmanian mobile mechanics did, but shh). With that done it was time to hit the track.

Matt W and Stockers borrowing a bit of sheet metal

As usual, my first couple of laps I did my house chores of mowing the lawns and cleaning the ripple strips but it soon came back to me. Stockers was figuring out the track very quickly and putting down some good laps, Nick too was getting better lines and angle every lap, Matt Whitcroft was seedily taking photos of young girls in the pits, Tom did some laps before having some car trouble, Nath would have probably been sobering up from the night before and Ash would have been doing something. Yes, it was a Victorian family affair.

Myself entering Turn 1

Tom cutting loose

Nick doing biz

Helped by a few big Tasmanian names being missing, the Vic boys all qualified quite well, still no one was able to match the usual big guns Lloyd Smith and Michael Truscott. Unfortunately however Tom was forced out of the battles due to his borrowed car having some mechanical issues. Nick Wilson was knocked out in the top 16 by Andrew Goss, Nick said he let Gossy (who doubles as our accommodation, yep that’s right, we sleep in him) win as otherwise he would have to sleep outside in the surprisingly not-so-cold Tasmanian weather. Stockers went through to the top eight after having a tough battle with Nick Wedd in his shiny new ride and I managed to knock out Martin Croall in his brand new LS powered S13, I think Martin should source sponsorship from hearing aid companies, because that car of his will send some people seriously deaf.

Stockers vs Truscott
Stockers vs Truscott

Top eight saw Stockers put up a massive fight against a Tactical Truscott, but unfortunately in the end Stockers clearly hadn’t threatened him with a big old “COME AT ME BRO” and got shut down. While I went up against Brad Smith who seemed to have really stepped it up as our battle went through to a re-run, after which I just managed to advance, only to have to battle his younger brother Lloyd in the 1UZ mutant KE70. My lead run I surprisingly manage to pull a small gap from Lloyd and felt very confident. I then put my ear plugs in for the chase run, they were not needed as by the end of the front straight a gap had formed and ultimately ended the day for me, I managed to catch him quite a bit but I suppose it was too little too late.

The battle for third came down to Gossy and I. I pondered my decision, was I to win, and bask in the glory, laugh in the face of Goss? Or was I to loose? And retain my bed inside his house and not have to sleep in the wilderness of Hobart? The former was decided and I “let” the big man claim the third place honours. Full credit to him, he has certainly stepped it up lately, I felt in my chase run that I was really pushing hard to stay up on his door.

Overall the standings saw Lloyd Smith back on top, followed by Truscott, Goss in third and myself in fourth.

But wait, there’s more.

The thing with drifting in Tasmania, the community is very tight knit (NO, not what your thinking, get your mind out of the gutter you pig, just because its Tassie and I said “tight knit” doesn’t mean…) so there is always after event celebrations which usually lead on well into the night. This weekend was no exception. Considering Nath pretty much hadn’t stopped drinking since Thursday, or maybe Wednesday, last week, we got straight onto phoning a taxi, not just a regular taxi, a MAXI TAXI. Now this taxi driver was a little wild, we couldn’t hear over A-kon blasting from the blown speakers, we couldn’t sit up straight from the amounts of understeer we were experiencing through the round-a-bouts but my god, I still managed to plank the shit out of three rows of seats. Arriving at sublime we were greeted by a nice Melbourne styled knife fight out the front, nothing out of the usual, pretty sure as Mr. Knife Man was prompted to again “come at me bro” the knife was dropped and he ran. Time for dinner.

Myself planking in A MAXI TAXI

Now we decided to walk to a new venue, not much to do while walking through Hobart, EXCEPT PLANK EVERYTHING. Matt Whitcroft lead the charge with a nice shop roof plank, however Nath quickly backed it up with a plank across two phone boxes. Nick failed miserably with a pathetic excuse for a plank on a taxi, but Tom bought the standard back up with a nice boat bow plank on the waterfront, which must have made Nath a bit upset that he was being outdone, so a boat may have been untied and pushed away, I can’t confirm or deny this. Some lovely young ladies in the park were told to get off a bench because it was for planking purposes only, to which they replied to just plank them, a good idea until we noticed it wasn’t three girls, just one with three heads. However there were some other girls who had come up with a new fad called “oh-yeah” (basically vertical dry humping) who were much more aesthetically pleasing, until one had a stumble and cut her toe to which Gossy used his first aid knowledge to bandage it up with some leaves. Nice one Gossy (he still went home alone).


I have no idea where the night headed after this, I remember Nath introducing a club to a thing called shuffling, it was quite amusing watching the whole dance floor at a club try and imitate one person’s moves, that look somewhat like someone having a fit standing up. However as 5am struck it was time to go home, with who else but the same taxi driver who drove us there in the first place (stalking creep). As tired as we all were, the driver still insisted on finding us some company, and proceeded to ask all the passed out gutter girls if they wanted to come with us, surprisingly none did, so we went home.

Sunday was a very slow day, I fixed up the car a little and in the late afternoon headed to the airport to fly home, only to be delayed by two hours (thanks tiger). The others stayed another night and got the old familiar boat home with their road vessels.

A big thanks again goes out to Karl and the guys at Unique automotive, Nath at Ascend automotive and JDI fabrications. Also, Gossy for the always welcoming accommodation and the Drifting Tasmania committee for again putting on another great event.

Unfortunately as much fun as we had the weekend ended on a sad note with the passing of Nath’s pop on Monday morning, for those of you who know Nathan Saunders and his pop Kevin you would know how close they were as family, friends, even housemates. I only met Kevin a handful of times however the close bond between he and Nathan, always helping at the track, giving Nath lifts here and there and the other things behind the scenes show how much of a nice, genuine person he was My deepest sympathies go out to Nath, his brother and the rest of their family. R.I.P. Kevin Saunders.