Jerking around in Taupo

Posted in Lifestyle, Opinion

Most New Zealand car clubs get together for annual track days, a chance to battle some mates, cut some laps, and have some fun as a club. But few seem to do it as big as Circle Jerk Crew (CJC), who, in the process, draw out some of the finest cars this country has lurking in its sheds. I thought it was about time I went along to see if all the fuss about CJC's Jerkfest was warranted. 

I was perhaps not quite ready for what I found. 

Spilt into drift, grip, and drag sessions, the track day is open to members only, and a select few with invites (if the spots aren't full). But year on year the event sells out instantly, which I suspect is not hard to do with such a large and active club.

Being so large means there is a lot of diversity; a Howln Honda, ’57 Chevy, or S1 RX-7 — take your pick. In fact there was so much to see that I damn near missed the chance to check everything out in detail. 

Simple yet effective, this Cefiro was probably my favourite car I had never seen before. It had all the right bits in all the right places. Sadly, a collision later in the afternoon meant the owner's warning that I should get photos before he loses half the panels was a wise one.

That's the price you pay when pushing hard in the middle of the drift train, it's going to happen from time to time. I'm sure both cars will be back out in no time.

With such a diverse line-up of cars, I spent more time in the pits  than watching the action out on the track. But who could blame me? 

Locally Known–member Fritz ‘The Giant’ Leaning built this FD up in only two weeks for a summer cruiser — not bad for two weeks' work. 

Remember that dude wearing the bra eariler? Here is his ‘Slamry’ rocking a set of metal-flaked Work Equips. 

Parked only a few cars down was Jono's BMW 3.0 CS sitting on a set of 18-inch BBS RS, and running the appropriate stance. 

It's cars like this where the number plate does all the talking.

But it was time to get back out on track — this time riding shotgun in Sean Jones's 13BPP-powered KE30. 

Sean is part of Team Cream, and out on track we soon found ourselves in the mist of a drift train, pulling 10,00rpm and banging through the available four gears. It was one of the best passenger rides I had ever been in. 

Turn your speakers up loud and jump on in! 

These guys were pushing hard all day.

Luke's turbo'd 1800cc MX-5 simply rips whenever we see it out on the Taupo track. 

The grip sessions were dominated by Hondas, a cornerstone marque of the CJC crew. My favourite wheels of the event would have to have been Neel's Mugen M7s shown here, the weheels of which have been re-barrelled with step lips.

Rounding out the day was a chance to get down to some serious grudge-match drag racing. 

Street-race style, using that damn bra again.  

Some serious contenders amongst the group included Sam Longley's Series 3 Mazda RX-2 — a genuine 10-second street car. If there was an award for best-sounding car it would have to have gone to this RX. 

Thanks to the Willie Green–built 20B PP lurking under the bonnet, Tremec TKO dogbox, and Ford nine-inch diff, on the Dynopower dyno the three-rotor churned out 380hp. 

Not to be outdone, there were some seriously fast Hondas and ...

One seriously rapid WRX, owned by the one and only Falgoon. Able to put all of its 278kW to use, it was the car to beat.

After all grudges were settled, it was off to the pub for the ‘AGM’, which turned into an event all of its own as it stretched long into the night. All I can say is bring on Jerkfest 2016. 

Marcus Gibson

Marcus Gibson has spent his life getting a little grease under his fingernails growing up with a fascination for all things loud, fast, and low. Growing up during the boom of the import scene, the last ten years have seen him work for a few publications, as well as running his own website before taking up a role at NZ Performance Car in 2011. Marcus is as at home with a keyboard or camera in-hand as he is getting dirty in his workshop or at the track, championing that Kiwi DIY attitude.