Smoke sig­nals top drifters are back on the gas

The Northern Advocate - - Sport - Adam Pearse Gaz Whiter

North­land’s drift­ing king Gaz Whiter will be want­ing to make it three from three when he com­petes in MadMike’s Sum­mer­bash drift­ing com­pe­ti­tion at Hamp­ton Downs to­day.

Whiter won last year’s one-off na­tional event to book a place in the in­au­gu­ral Red Bull Drift Shifters in Liver­pool last year. Whiter won that event, which fea­tured the top 12 drivers from around the world.

“Def­i­nitely, peo­ple will be af­ter us but the Sum­mer­bash is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent style of event,” Whiter said.

To­day’s event will fea­ture 32 drivers who made it through qual­i­fy­ing yesterday. Drivers face each other head-to-head and who­ever is judged to have won will progress to the next round un­til a win­ner is found.

“A lot of guys will use it to get their cars ready af­ter re­build­ing them af­ter last sea­son be­fore next sea­son in Jan­uary,” he said.

“As an event, I think it’s one of the big­ger events in the cal­en­dar.”

The win­ner of this event will book a ticket to the Red Bull­spon­sored event next year. Whiter said the com­pe­ti­tion would be very cut-throat.

“It’s a fun event be­cause it has the big prize at the end of it but it only takes one mis­take,” Whiter said.

“The guy who qual­i­fied first can eas­ily lose to the guy who qual­i­fied 32nd just be­cause they can make one mis­take. It makes it very hard to win a whole sea­son if you make a cou­ple of mis­takes.”

Drift­ing had a strong his­tory in

"It’s a fun event be­cause it has the big prize at the end of it but it only takes one mis­take."

North­land, which was ev­i­dent from other ex­pe­ri­enced drivers such as Daniel (Fanga Dan) Wool­house, who will also be eyeing the prize to­day to fur­ther rep­re­sent North­land on the world stage.

Whiter said win­ning the event in Liver­pool against the best in the world was a high­light of his ca­reer.

“[Liver­pool] was a big thing for me to win be­cause it was against the guys that I look up to, which was huge.”

The Liver­pool event was dif­fer­ent to to­day’s as it was not against an­other driver but was based on solo runs around the course that were marked by sen­sors that could mea­sure how close a driver got to the wall and the length of the drift.

Whiter said this in­volved the crowd more and made it a bet­ter spec­ta­tor sport.

“The new event brings it to the gen­eral pub­lic, it makes it eas­ier to un­der­stand be­cause the scor­ing hap­pens right in front of you on the score­board straight away so it’s more of a live show than it is a com­pe­ti­tion.”

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

Whanga¯rei drifter Gaz Whiter (cen­tre) with his tro­phy for win­ing the in­au­gu­ral Red Bull Drift Shifters in Liver­pool, UK.

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