With the year’s season done and dusted, the Drift South crew decided to chuck on an event focused on good vibes, friendly faces, and as much drifting squeezed into a day as humanly possible — and thus the Battle Royale event, held at Christchurch’s Mike Pero Motorsport Park on June 5, was born.
Running a three-part format, the day was split up nicely starting off with the Battle Royale, which ditched the traditional qualifying session in favour of a three-battle system to optimize drivers on-track time and ensure that each had at least three cracks at it. From the judges’ scores a top eight was formed to run the standard elimination tree format. Mixed in with that madness were the M Scott Japanese Imports big entry and team drift competitions, as well as open sessions for the Drift South Development Series scattered in for ultimate spectator pleasure.
It wasn’t a good start to the day for two-time Drift South champion Joel Counter after a steering issue knocked him out for the remainder of the day during the practice sessions. Familiar face Michael Sloan had a good crack at taking himself out, too, testing the cushioning ability of the tyre wall surrounding the flag-marshall point with his S15 Silvia after a big entry into turn one didn’t go quite to plan.
The alternative qualifying format went down without a hitch, seeing the experienced Dan Currie and Josh McMillan joining the dominant Shannon Hall, Brogan Mooney, Simon Urquhart, and Michael Sloan — whose car was surprisingly undamaged after the earlier crash — in the top eight. Competition newcomers Jeremy Vincent and Callum Forward also secured their spots on the tree.
Hard-fought battles in top eight went to Hall, Currie, Vincent, and Mooney, followed by Hall and Mooney progressing to the final bout. The winner was decided after an unfortunate spin on Mooney's part handed the well-deserved win to Hall. Needless to say, his driving had impressed the crowds for the better part of the day, especially when taking into consideration that his 180SX only makes half the power that the rest of the field is running. Along with the title of Battle Royale champion, Hall nabbed himself a full season of free entries into Drift South rounds and practice days.
As for the Big Entry comp, the crowd appeared to be stoked by the calibre of skill that the drivers laid out, as they ran hard to clock up big speeds and even bigger angles. With the radar gun out to clock drivers coming in hot, the entries were an easy 30kph more than the standard run. Neil Walmsley claimed the fastest attempted entry with an insane 156kph down the straight at Mike Pero Motorsport Park, but couldn’t quite finish the run at such high speeds and ended up on the grass, and Shannon Hall continued his dominance of the day with a 152kph backwards entry taking home the highest score.
The Team Drift comp went to ‘You Break We Fix’ drivers Dan Currie, Brogan Mooney, and Sam Dunfoy, which awarded points for proximity to one another through the technical course and style of driving. They emerged victorious after a solid run to take away the prize from The Signlab.
Event organizers now have the challenge of fitting the immensely popular event into the regular season of Drift South after feedback from both drivers and spectators saw their decision quite easily made — round one of Drift South is set to take place later this year in October.
- First: Shannon Hall, Nissan 180SX
- Second: Brogan Mooney, Nissan Silvia S13
- Third: Dan Currie, Nissan Silvia S15
- Fourth: Jeremy Vincent, Toyota Mark II JZX100
- Big Entry Comp: Shannon Hall
- Team Drift: Team ‘You Break We Fix’ (Dan Currie, Brogan Mooney, Sam Dunfoy)