Smoke and screaming engines
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.