Published on September 18th, 2013 | by Jos Roder


Drift Attack 2013: A Driver’s Story

Competition weekend’s are always intense. For most, the preparation starts later than originally planned and the last few days and nights are a blur of sourcing parts, modification and dealing with last minute problems.

My major problem in the lead up to the event was was rather large, but it was not an easy fix, nor was it a standard problem.  I was actually scheduled to work interstate for the weekend.  I was upset knowing I could not compete….unless I found a new job. I had been looking fora  new job for some time, however I pulled out all stops and I managed to snap up a new job quite quickly, which meant I could resign and also meant I would not be required to work interstate. This in turn allowed me to go drifting! Commitment to the cause!

I then shifted my focus to my car. I deliberately keep my the 180sx relatively standard so I don’t have to spend much time maintaining it. All that was required in the lead up was an oil change and a new O-ring for the fuel tank. I had planned to complete those tasks on the Thursday night before the event, however about 7pm I received a call from one of the other VicDrift board members asking me to help assembling the trophies for the event.

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I turned up at a small random trophy store and set to work building the ridiculously huge trophies that are now a custom at our event. It was an interesting learning experience and a few hours later we had succeeded! I would have to complete my car at a later stage.

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On Friday I left work at lunchtime to help my friend Waz pick up his freshly wrapped and kitted MX-5 from Viva Garage and tow it out to Calder Park.

Once we arrived, we were greeted by the other fresh Viva Garage wrapped 180sx of Catherine May. Naturally it was photo opportunity time.

Waz even briefly fitted this amazing Skyline diffuser for a few shots before removing so it can be moulded by the Viva Garage lads. It would have only lasted about twenty seconds on the rear of Waz’s car anyway!

After leaving Calder, we returned to my place to finish the O-ring and load my car on Waz’s trailer for the trip in on Saturday morning.

First thing upon arriving Saturday morning was to wire in a temperature guage. Mitchell Sanders came to the rescue, however despite his best efforts it was not to be. I would have to rely on the standard gauge once more!

Second session out, I lost my virginity with the Calder Park wall!

My first ever wall hit as a matter of fact! It was solid enough hit that the front pulled back toward the wall as well, but I knew I was going to hit so I wound off the opposite lock to avoid the front steering back into the wall. The rear bar was ripped off and despite it’s fragile condition after numerous previous repairs, still managed to survive intact!

I also got some tips from Brodie Moore from Tasmania after he bravely decided to passenger with me. It is good to get other people’s perspective on your driving, because critiquing yourself is often not very objective at all and can restrict your development as a driver.

Heading into qualifying  just before the end of the last practice session I heard a slight clunk sound as I pulled the handbrake. I thought nothing of it. Soon after, I went out for qualifying. On the warm up lap the car seemed to be losing power, it honestly felt like it had lost 50kw’s, which is 1/3rd of the cars total power! I couldn’t work out why. I pulled up after the warm up lap and the right rear brake was smoking. I put two and tow together and figured that was the culprit however I had to start my two judged laps! The car really struggled and I need to formally apologise to Mr clutch because I had to give it hell to keep the car sliding for both runs. I was amazed I qualified in ninth for club class when the results were released and ready for battles.

With the afternoon battles for the other competition (Round 3 of our Victorian Drift Championship) about to start after lunch, I had to find out why the right rear brake had cooked itself. With some help from my dad, Greg Hicks and another mate Nathan, we soon located the problem.

The right hand side GKTech handbrake extender had somehow moved in position and started it’s throw from a greater angle than the left side. As a result the extender had lodged itself up and onto the bracket for the cable, resulting in the caliper holding onto the disc and slowing everything down.  With no time for a proper fix, I had to file the extender down so it would clear the bracket. This temporary solution luckily worked.

The battles were intense and I got through in to the Top 8, only to lose to Khudar Elhouli in the difficult wet conditions. Congratulations to him.  I was now left to relax until Sunday’s Drift Attack Club Class battles.

Relax is not the word I would use to describe my friend Waz’s first day with his new look car. On his second practice session he blew fourth gear. Here Evan from Rpower Motorsports (one of Waz’s sponsors) assists in finding out if the box was salvageable to clean and continue with the other remaining gears on Sunday.

Waz put on a brave face, but it is always a painful exercise to go through a major breakage and attempt to get back out the next day. Thankfully Evan took the gearbox back to his workshop and they had it all completed for another day of drift.

I love the RC drift cars and WOT hobbies had a great little event setup all weekend. I have recently purchased a car myself. I wrote an article on my new car here.

Sunday it was business time for me in the Club Class battles of Drift Attack!

Sunday morning in practice I had another whoopsy! This time I ran wide and actually brushed the tyre barrier quite hard with the rear which was beautifully caught at the exact moment of contact by Fast Aperture Photography. I was sure the front would be sucked in and I would come to a stop in a hurry but somehow I survived again!

Damage on display in the pits.

The rear quarter panel had not survived the ordeal very well and was pushed in a long way! The Mr Sparkle paint job was slowly but surely disappearing. I might need to give the car a new name at this rate!

Heading into the battles, my first opponent in the Top 32 was against  Luke Pollard who was in the pit bay next to me. Luke  was having some problems with his car so unfortunately he could not perform as he hoped and I made it through to the Top 16.

Next up I had to take on John Capuano in his monster S14 200sx powered by an LS1 turbo engine.
John was all over me like a rash despite my foot being buried to the floor and he pulled a gap while I was chasing him. On my lead run I gave him room as asked by the judges into the bowl so he could get inside as the photo shows. Pulling in to the dummy grid we were told to re-run. The description I just gave was repeated nearly identically and into the dummy grid we went. We were then told to re-run again! This was intense. Again, I pushed as hard as I could and for a third time repeating my previous performances. Unfortunately I was told on this run I had lost and my day was over. John and I congratulated each other though on a great fight because it was a real fun group of battles. I was still happy with my performance despite the loss. John continued to stay calm and drove well, finishing second in club class for the day. I was now able to relax for a while and watch the remaining battles until the expression session.

Walking around the pits, sometimes thing just catch your eye and this was one of those moments. You know you have used all of the tyres when the belts are lodged in the door handle. Any guesses who owns this car?

The expression session at the end of the day is always fun where you can relax and just enjoy pushing the limits.
Luckily Life of Drifting managed to snap this moment where I was on the lock stop with the rear bumper nearly totally flush to the wall!

As the weekend came to a close, I decided to add an extra letter to my damaged rear quarter for a laugh! Don’t panic though, I still love drifting as much as ever!

Yoshi, Cat and the VicDrift crew worked so hard in the lead up to this weekend which is the biggest weekend event of the year for our club. They worked while I drove, so I appreciate that!  Thanks also to the volunteers and judges who all worked so hard over the weekend, particularly the CRO’s, the guys in dummy grid and start line. Safety also operated well to keep things running smoothly all weekend. Wheeltech was great with tyre changing for me. Scott Frost was also a life saver, providing me with a spare sat belt for passenger rides.

Mitchell Sanders, Nathan Edwards, Warwick Fitzgerald and my dad Bill were all invaluable  with their assistance to me over the weekend with the car and my wife Mayumi even added an extra leg to her trip out to Calder on Saturday to get some more trophies we had forgotten to collect for Saturday’s Championship presentation!

This concludes the competition season for VicDrift and I am looking forward to 2014 already!


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About the Author

Jos Roder

is the owner of Drift Life and delves deeper into drifting culture. Jos started drifting more than 10 years ago after discovering a sport existed that captured his favourite motoring endeavour, going sideways! Jos works full-time in the automotive/motorsport field as a PR Manager and Advanced Driving Instructor and currently owns a JDM S15 Nissan Silvia for drift/track/hillclimb duties.

One Response to Drift Attack 2013: A Driver’s Story

  1. Wazman says:

    That last pic of you scraping the wall at 90 deg ! Epic stuff man. you know if you put in the knuckles you wouldn’t have munched your rear into the tyres. You could have put in more angle earlier and push away.

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