TRACK BREAK­DOWN

THE LOW-DOWN ON THE LONG-AWAITED EV­ER­GREEN DRIFT PARK

NZ Performance Car - - CONTENTS - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: JADEN MARTIN

or decades, drift­ing has been preva­lent on New Zealand shores, but, in all that time, we’ve never had a venue solely ded­i­cated to its pur­suit. We’ve had to make do, us­ing ex­ist­ing cir­cuits as makeshift sport­s­lands with cones and tyre mark­ers to re­sem­ble those that we ad­mire over­seas, fight­ing man­age­ment and rac­ers from other dis­ci­plines for recog­ni­tion as a le­git­i­mate sport. It’s been a hard slog, and it’s about time drifters had a proper place to call home.

And, thanks to a ded­i­cated bunch of lo­cal drifters, now we do. Headed by ex–D1NZ Pro driver Sky Zhao, the Ev­er­green Drift Park, lo­cated within the Mere­mere mo­tor­sport com­plex, is a 1km long, six-cor­ner hit­ter that takes its de­sign cues from the most fa­mous tracks in Ja­pan and caters pre­dom­i­nantly for the grass-roots com­mu­nity. This is where power isn’t a must and the DE-bangers can reign supreme — al­though, if you do have a few ponies, things will get even more in­ter­est­ing as you hone your tech­ni­cal skills.

The tight, tech­ni­cal switches through the shorter cor­ners favour the un­der­pow­ered, forc­ing you to ma­noeu­vre through a chi­cane and a se­ries of banked dips and rises, with a fi­nal test to see if you have enough go to power through the fi­nal dou­ble-apex sweeper, only to manji the front straight with epic wall rides back into cor­ner one and do it all over again.

This is the kind of in­jec­tion that drift­ing in New Zealand needs to en­cour­age new­com­ers into the sport. With events run al­most every week­end and pri­vate-hire dates avail­able, there will be no short­age of op­por­tu­ni­ties to get amongst it.

It’s all about the se­cond-gear heroes here, and most will only at­tempt a third-gear slap through the fi­nal sweeper

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