Darren Townsley – SupaFly Media
Round Five of the SupaDrift Series took place at Dezzi South Coast Raceway over the weekend.
As an added bonus to the launch of the Gymkhana GRiD, three-time rear-wheel GRiD champion Luke Woodham joined in on the weekend’s racing.
With a rented Nissan 200SX (with a similar set up to his current JapSpeed/Monster Energy 200sx) Woodham headed out on to the track to lay down some rubber. With a few mechanical gremlins on the Friday, he did not get in as many runs as he would have liked to.
Friday’s practise did not seem to go down well for Jason Webb in his Monstang either. He was having a pretty good run, dialling in some much-needed angle and running in the new clutch, when during his second last run of the day, while doing a tandem with Eric “The Viking” van Eyssen, tragedy struck and he had to make a call between T-boning Van Eyssen and running the wall.
Sadly, his attempt to correct an understeering and side impact with Van Eyssen saw him crash his Monstang into the tyre wall and writing his car off. Now normally in this situation, his dad, Speedy, along with Malcolm would work through the night, hammering, cutting and welding to get the car back on track; however, Speedy did not want to take the risk this time, and Webb’s shot at the championship looked like it was out the window.
But this is SupaDrift and here competitors are more than just faceless people behind a helmet, behind a wheel of a race car, and soon Webb had several offers to assist with fixing the Monstang or lending them him a spare car.
One such individual was Mikey Skelton, who during the day’s practise was looking pretty good. He stood up and said he was pretty far on the leaderboard for the championship and would not want to see Webb out and gave him the keys to his Rockford Fosgate 350Z and said get it done bud. Now I’m not sure a lot of other drivers in motorsport would actually do that, and this is what I love about the drifting – the fact that SupaDrift is a family.
On Saturday it was time for everyone to put on their game faces and get some much-needed practise in as judges had changed up a few of the clipping points for the drivers to get in the right amount of speed and angle to put on the best runs for the crowds and get those much-needed points for the semi-finals.
Before the qualifying rounds, Monster Energy held their “Drum Dash” which is a chance for SupaDrift drivers to win a Golden Ticket to compete against some of the world’s best Gymkhana drivers at the Gymkhana GRiD finals at Carnival City in November.
With tips from current four-wheel champ Riku Tahko and rear-wheel champ Woodham, drivers went out one by one against the clock to secure their spots. With Woodham setting a qualifying time, the drivers needed to bring their A-game, with the Golden Tickets going to Van Eyssen and Paolo Gouveia Senior.
With Drum Dash out of the way it was time for qualifying. Drivers pushed their cars around the circuit to get maximum points, as not only did they count for the day, but they count towards their final points for the finals at Carnival City on 29-30 September, with top qualifying points going to Webb with Woodham qualifying in seventh…not too shabby.
With only 16 drivers qualifying for the Top 16, a short Silver Cup was held with four drivers, with Armand Bronkhorst in his Mazda Rx7 taking the win.
Top 16 saw several championship runs, with close calls and several OMT’s the judges had their hands full with making the right calls all the way up to the Top Eight battles and into the Final Four.
Some of the best battles of the day had to be Paolo Gouveia Jnr versus Woodham, with the latter just clipping the front clipping point in his lead battle giving the win to Gouveia Jnr, and Riaan Stokes versus Van Eyssen, with a OMT just nudging Van Eyssen out.
The Final Four battles were top quality runs too, with Webb going up against Jim McFarlane and Gavin Puren going up against Gouveia Jnr, with the wins going to McFarlane and Puren, pitting Webb and Gouveia Jnr against each other for the battle for third.
A tough battle too close to call for the judges led them to call a One More Time, Webb’s close proximity in the final run giving him the upper hand and the win.
The final battle would see McFarlane in his Nissan 350Z versus Puren in his Toyota Soarer. With both drivers putting down some impressive runs on the day, McFarlane managed to best Puren’s runs in the finals and the judges awarding a well-deserved win to McFarlane. The Driver of the Day award went to Carl Werner.