THE 2018 D1NZ SEASON OPENER
esidents of the Te Marua valley didn’t know what hit them when the Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship and the rest of the NZ-Xtreme Motorsport Series rolled into the capital over January 12 and 13 to kick off its season at the Max Motors Wellington Family Speedway Arena. The week leading up saw near-round-the-clock work carried out to transform the speedway into a venue suitable for not only drifting but also rallycross, utility task vehicles (UTVs), and Super Moto. Fifty truckloads of concrete would end up being pumped into the venue, but not before 55 truckloads of road millings were laid, 700 sheets of ply installed, a bridge got made from three 40-foot containers, and fences and speedway walls got removed.
It was no easy feat to pull off, but, ask any of the drift drivers, and they rave about the figure-eight layout, with two long bank rides to start and complete the run, with a tighter and technical midsection.
Being the season opener, the pits were filled with new cars,
new liveries, and even some old faces making a return to the fray, including four-time champion Gaz Whiter, back in the ‘SmartCookie8’ S14, although the champ would suffer a few gremlins during the event, including a broken gearbox, hampering his return.
Plenty of new faces lined up against him in the Pro class, including Pro-Sport class of 2017 graduates Cody Pullen Burry, Ben Jenkins, and Jase Brown. All three rookies were clearly eager to stamp their mark on the field, although Cody was forced (like many) to deal with mechanical issues. Jase made the biggest impression — if his blown 1UZ-FE S13 hadn’t done that already — qualifying sixth, with Ben closely behind in seventh. Taking out the top spot was Ben’s stablemate and the sole Aussie competing, Matty Hill, in the 4mance Automotive S15. Matty laid down a pair of killer runs, the best an 87-point run, narrowly nudging out the likes of Dave Steedman and Daynom Templeman, in what was a
The track layout proved a favourite with the drivers and produced some quality door-to-door driving, with the tight technical midsection a real lever