The South Australian humidity, tumbleweeds & twirling dirt tornadoes made for a Texas like theme at Mallala Raceway; despite an expected 40 degree heat wave, trailer loads of eager entrants lined up to kick off the drift season at the G1 drift series round 1.
Being the first event of the year, a few new builds were out to be tested after the 2011 off season; it was bound to be a day filled with ups, downs, trials & triumphs! With a wide range of cars being hauled through the gates, it wasn’t going to be long before the cars were out carving up the track; bedding in freshly tuned engines & blowing out the cobwebs! The atmosphere was like that of a family reunion as people rekindled after the two month season break; with smiles from friends, a race track background & that toasty summers day feel, nothing comes close.
As sweat began to form, the adrenaline & anticipation lurked throughout the pits; the newest edition to the G1 schedule was the open practice session, this allowed all drivers to get out on track in the morning before the competition began. While most G1 entrants took this opportunity to refine their set ups, many beginners/amateurs had the chance to get some track time including myself; going out for the first time in my S13 Silvia, I had butterflies in my tummy that were fluttering harder than an RB dose pipe! Finally, after putting on my game face, I shook off those pre-game nerves; it was time to just have fun among drivers of all levels.
Jack Widdas in his aggressive looking RB25 powered R31 Skyline; after qualifying 11th Jack was taken out by Eddie Modra in the top 16 battles, however Widdas won Team Drift with fellow Ink in Skin Tattoo members Tom & Andy.
Davey Clarke putting on a baking parade in his KE70; although, due to a recent rebuild, Davey had some teething issues & couldn’t enter in the KE70! Powering on Davey used my S13 to enter the competition; qualifying 29th but taken out by Fabio in the wildcard session.
Once the open track session came to a close, it was time to get the competition started; while the drivers were doing the last minute checks, the spectators set up camp under tents, gazebo’s and umbrella’s in an attempt to escape the unbearable rays from the sun before qualifying. If it wasn’t for the essence of burning rubber & that unbeatable sound of engines hitting limiter sideways around a corner, majority would have been at the beach with a Pina Colada in hand; I know where I’d rather be!
As the sun started to set in the horizon, the track took on a much cooler feel; unfortunately too late for some, with cars becoming victims to the unforgivable heat, forcing many to retire from the competition early. Despite the mishaps, many drivers powered on delivering sensational battles with precise clipping points, large smoke presentations & an ever growing show of talent offered by the Australian drift scene. Once the wildcard competition revealed the two extra drivers added into the top 16, the final intense battles began to eliminate competitors one by one to reveal the top final 4!
Adding a bit of spice into the event, the team drift was up next; with two groups battling it out for the win, an impressive show of team work & emulation was displayed by both teams! Tom Powell, Andrew Whitehead & Jack Widdas made up the Ink in Skin Tattoo team who took the win. Great work guys!
Having the top 4 performing the last battles of the night; with close proximity, precision & tight lines, it was an edge of your seat experience watching their talents and cars being pushed to the limits! G1 champ Christian Pickering came out on top claiming first place; coming in second was Jarrad Klingberg followed by Dale Campaign! Well done boys; the bar has certainly been raised & it’s anyone’s game!
Sun-burnt, dehydrated & in need of an ice bath, the day sadly came to an end; once again The South Australian G1 Drift series put on a fast paced, action packed event; the support continues to grow each year, drivers travel from far & wide to participate alongside the SA drivers who refuse to give up the title without a fight.
G1 Round 1 Results
1st Christian Pickering
2nd Jarrad Klingberg
3rd Dale Campaign
4th Hayden Buckham
Best Rookie: Skye Saudauskas
Most improved: Jarrad Klingberg
Wildcard Winners: Benny Neal & Elliott Wylie
Team Drift Winners: Tom Powell, Andrew Whitehead & Jack Widdas (Team Ink in Skin Tattoo’s)
Overall each driver put on an entertaining day of skill, dedication and of course a sh!t load of smoke; with an exceptional 54 entries, G1 is soon becoming South Australia’s biggest drift series.
Next G1: Round 2, Mallala Raceway – 1st July 2012.
Next Event: Drift Supercup, Mallala Raceway – May 12th 2012
For more information on upcoming events, visit www.mallala.com.
A big thanks to Brendan from Doriphoto for supplying this article with his amazing photography; check him out at https://www.facebook.com/DoriPhoto
While covering G1 round 1, I missed out on the Vicdrift Summer Matsuri at Winton which was on the same weekend; however Gwyn from Gripshiftslide had it covered – www.gripshiftslide.com/2012/02/27/drift-matsuri-hot-as-hell/
The JDM car culture; through the eyes of a woman!
Words – Riki-lee Kazumi
Photos – Doriphoto