With Christmas around the corner, it was time to see out the last DriftSouth meet of 2016, with round two taking place on November 26 at Christchurch’s Mike Pero Motorsport Park. With the much-anticipated Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship opening round looming, it was a chance for a number of our local lads to shake out the cobwebs, or any mid-season gremlins that may have moved in, before heading down to appear on the big stage.
With a new season comes a new format. In place of qualifying, organizers have come up with a random-draw three-battle format, seeing judges split focus on a lead and chase performance for each driver to get maximum seeding points. This brings with it its own bonus and pitfalls to drivers under pressure. Ranking positions then lead to a standard tree-style elimination to decide overall placings.
Mitch Gibbs was seen with a tidy wide-body S15 dressed to impress, using the round to diagnose a few issues with a surge tank not playing ball. Such issues led to an off at the last corner during the top-eight battle, after a split rerun with Sheldon Kneale, and bail out during the second pass.
Former DriftSouth champion Joel Counter is stepping down this season to chase bigger fish in the pond, while other newcomers make the jump to the ProDrift seat from Development. We can now claim our own female face in the series with Anna Kempt competing a number of Drift Schools, tweaking that knowledge and impressing judges with her first appearance at round one. Unfortunately this was not to be the case for her second appearance, with steering issues bringing an early end to her day before a battle was run.
Round one winner Callum Gooding (AE86) was thrown into the shark tank with Josh 'Snoop' McMillan, and like a little car that could, he peddled his heart out. Josh, with the advantage, held Callum off from creating a huge power gap.
Josh also took out Best Chase award, all over the tail of Shannon Hall, with power advantage and the infamous B-Track rise switch thrusting him forward to a near miss and off, with need to avoid incident. Still stoked with it all, Josh drove off, later securing third place with a large lead on Sheldon Kneale.
Top spot for the round (and top seeding) went to the West Coast’s man of few words, Dan Currie. The now finely tuned 2JZ-powered Silvia made its way through the tree with the need to often lift off during his chases, beating newcomer Scott Welsh, Sheldon Kneale, and Shannon Hall to secure his placing. Shannon, battling with grip, or lack of, slid out on the last corner to slot into second.
Results for the round were a pleasing mirror of the seeding results, paying tribute to the new format’s hoped outcome.
Goodbye 2016! That leads us into January 28, 2017 for the third round. We again thank everyone for their continued support, and wish everyone an awesome holiday season — DriftSouth team.