Smoke and scream­ing en­gines

Whitsunday Times - - MOTORING -

THE Whit­sun­day Race­way saw some speed­sters with a pen­chant for get­ting side­ways at the week­end, host­ing the Mackay and Dis­trict Drifters’ Mat­suri 2015.

Run­ning over two days with a DJ, jump­ing castle and food stall, MADD pres­i­dent Leigh Bain said the event was a great way for drift en­thu­si­asts to get their fam­ily in­volved in their pas­sion.

“Peo­ple that are into drift­ing, this gets their fam­ily there as well,” he said.

“That’s why we had the jump­ing castle, so peo­ple who come with chil­dren can keep them in­ter­ested.”

The skid ses­sion proved very pop­u­lar, with 50 driv­ers from all across the state turn­ing out to have their time on the track.

“Any­where from the Gold Coast up to Cairns, we had a good mix of peo­ple from ev­ery­where there,” Mr Bain said.

Although unof­fi­cial com­pe­ti­tion is a nat­u­ral part of any sport, Mr Bain said there was no score keep­ing at the week­end’s Mat­suri.

“The week­end was about hav­ing fun,” he said.

“It’s not run as a com­pe­ti­tion, so depend­ing on each driver they can go around singly or they can go out as a tan­dem with other cars.”

Mr Bain ex­plained that a tan­dem meant two cars drift­ing to­gether, while a train is three or more all rais­ing smoke at the same time.

“On the week­end we got up to a 13 car train,” he said.

“It’s a pretty com­mon thing for peo­ple to join in (the train), but 13 cars is def­i­nitely up there in terms of num­bers.”

The week­end also saw drift- lovers get the chance to rub shoul­ders with one of the best in the busi­ness – Levi Clarke of Exedy Drift Team.

“He’s a pro­fes­sional drifter, he does all the main comps in Aus­tralia,” Mr Bain said.

“He’s from the Gold Coast, so he made the trip up for it.”

The MADD have be­come some­thing of a gath­er­ing point for north­ern drift fans, be­ing the north­ern­most club to regularly host drift days.

“There’s a drift­ing demon­stra­tion held in Townsville once a year, but as far as a con­sis­tent sched­ule of track days, we’re the only one,” Mr Bain said.

With the drift­ing cul­ture in Aus­tralia largely be­ing branded as some­thing done un­der the cover of dark­ness in the back streets of residential neigh­bour­hoods, Mr Bain said events such as the Mat­suri were a way of work­ing to cor­rect this im­age.

“The big­gest thing, and I think I speak for all of us (in the club), is it’s a safe en­vi­ron­ment for peo­ple to do that sort of thing and it’s keep­ing us off the streets,” he said.

“Es­pe­cially the younger guys who are get­ting into it, it’s some­where they can learn and it’s not putting any­one in dan­ger.

“You see it on A Cur­rent Af­fair and that sort of stuff, and it’s brand­ing us as a bad cul­ture.

“I don’t know if (street drift­ing) is ever go­ing to stop, but it’s a bad thing for us be­cause we’re try­ing to do the right thing and do it prop­erly.”

Mr Bain said the meets also gave drifters a chance to test their met­tle against one another safely.

“The other thing is be­ing able to go into a tan­dem or train with other driv­ers and see­ing where your skill level lines up with other peo­ple in the re­gion,” he said.

The drift club pres­i­dent said any­one want­ing to give the sport a go should con­tact them via their web­site, mack­ay­drift.com.

“The best train­ing peo­ple can get is just com­ing to the track days and hav­ing a go,” he said.

The drifters next hit the Whit­sun­day Race­way track on Satur­day, Septem­ber 19.

BURNIN' RUB­BER: Mal­colm Con­way and Jason Hein­rich flick the back out at the Whit­sun­day Race­way on Sun­day morn­ing.

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