Feature

Published on April 15th, 2014 | by Jos Roder

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Appreciation for your ‘Happy Place’

Where is your Happy Place?

Having a passion and love for something  is a key ingredient to happiness. Without passionate people who love what they do, drift would not be where it is today. I analyse my happy place and the happy place of some amazing people involved in drift in Australia and how this all comes together to become the Australian drifting scene as we know it today.

Commentator – Adrian ‘Mozza’ Morrisby

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Mozza is a super passionate, quick thinking commentator extraordinaire from the Apple Isle (Tasmania for our overseas readers) and his passion for relaying what is happening to an audience in a humorous and articulate way seemingly knows no bounds. Mozza was originally brought up as a driver himself, starting with karts before moving on to rally and tarmac rally events. Mozza was as an outright winning driver and then later spent time as  navigator, forming life long friendships along the way. Mozza loved the lifestyle that motor sport provided and it soon dawned on him that he should be encouraging others to become involved and enjoy a great sport with a fantastic bunch of people.

“I wasn’t interested in being an official, organiser or flag waver so i picked up the mic and decided to try and inform the masses with what I thought they wanted to hear over the PA.”

Loving the human element, Mozza was easily able to mingle, build repoire and involve himself with the teams and drivers in the pits, and with the organisers and the officials running the event,  He uses this networking to build a wealth of inside knowledge that really help him convey not only what is happening, but the back story and other random facts that make a successful and entertaining commentator.

“I find (and enjoy) by getting in and mixing it with the guys in the pits, on the hill or even at a garage late on a race night working on a car to get it ready to thrash the shit out of the next day, as the best way to find out what its all about, and what needs to be said to educated the crowd on exactly what is going down and what “makes a drifter, and a drift car”

“I am a strong believer that drifting is the grass roots heart land of Australian (and probably world wide) motorsport and should be encouraged as much as possible because it’s where the presidents, secretaries, drivers and industry will come from in the future. I hope I am in some way helping to nurture the sport for the current and future generations of drifters.”

Mozza also supports young drivers in the local Tasmanian scene through his business and and preaches the drift gospel whenever he gets a chance.

Organiser – Yoshi Abey

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Photo courtesy of JPower Photography

Driving is only one part of the drift world and it is certainly not for everyone. Thank god this is the case, as drifting in Australia wouldn’t be where it is today. The perfect example of this is the VicDrift President Yoshi Abey. Super passionate about drift, Yoshi has no desire  to actually drift himself.

“I’m like any other guy that enjoys a spirited drive and I enjoy driving on the edge of a cars grip level. However, I have no desire to drift because its just not for me. I give it a go from time to time but I have more fun going for rides in different cars and just having a laugh with the drivers that compete at these events.”

Yoshi’s happy place is organising events, engaging with drivers and spectators and watching the ‘character’s’ that are part of the sport go out on track and provide a fantastic spectacle. Yoshi is a people person and works wonders for the Victorian and Australian drift scene.

Drift is another level as it requires amazing skill to maintain the speed and control at the upper end. I am in awe of these guys and girls out there driving but I what I love even more is the community that is within drifting.” 

Like all Organisers there is times of frustration, but when Yoshi and his crew pull off a successful event and he hears competitors and spectators raving about the fun they had, Yoshi quickly remembers why he loves what he does.  There are many others like Yoshi all around Australia who just love the challenge, the people and the sport itself.

“The stories and laughs drivers share amongst each other and the uncanny ability to describe what they did with hand gestures and motor noises is hilarious”

“To me drift is the ultimate in mates having fun together in motorsport and that is why I love it so much. Yes its fun on your own but when you’re rubbing panels out on track and having a laugh there is no greater appeal.”

Partner/Manager – Jenna Michelmore

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Being the other half of one of Australia’s most well known drifters Simon Michelmore, Jenna Michelmore is ever present with Simon not only as his partner but also his manager as he drifts at events around the country and more recently overseas.

Jenna and her husband Simon met through their love of cars in 2005  and Jenna has supported Simon’s passion for more than 8 years and was even with him for his first win in 2006!

Jenna loves being involved in the management side of Simon’s drifting and produces the media on his website www.smdrift.com.au, works on his social media pages and also prospects for sponsors while building relationships with current sponsors.  More recently Jenna organised some overseas drifting for Simon through various contacts she has nurtured.

“In June 2013 we travelled to the UK. I organised for Simon and I to meet and hang out with Rod Chong, Mad Mike & Fredric Aasbo at the Players Classic at Goodwood, be the first of three people to ever drift at Driftland (a HUGE honour, thanks Jeek & Kyle!) and also compete in the Irish Drift Championship.”

Jenna enjoys working with Simon on his passion, which has also become her passion and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Videographer – Matty Styles 

Matty Styles sml
Matty Styles is an energetic and passionate videographer who excels at capturing the moment and the vibe of an event. Matty Styles is amongst an elite group of videographers filming drift in Australia capturing and documenting the sport and its vibe through video.

Matty sums up his feelings  ”there is absolutely nothing more exhilarating than standing 2 meters away from a car that is going as fast and as sideways as it can, as it covers you in chunks of rubber and fills your lungs with burnt cane sugar. Then you review your clip on the camera with wide eyes, get your wing man to come over while you both watch it and giggle like little school girls and scream ‘that was INSANE!’ at the same time and hi five each other!

Matty is so passionate he even admitted he had goosebumps as he explained his feelings to Drift Life.

2012 was the year Matty really stepped up his presence in the scene and became special to him as he followed the dream. He visited three states, attended twenty events, made 72 videos, met 100’s of people, formed friendships and confirmed his calling in life!

2013 was another huge year for Matty and some of the hard work has paid off with customers approaching him with requests for video production. Matty has recently worked with Motive DVD and has been working on his long term project, which is a feature documentary on the sport of Drifting named Drift Is Life.

Fabricator – Nigel Petrie 

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Nigel Petrie is a driver and a damn good one at that, but he is probably more famous for his exploits as a vehicle builder and fabricator.  To be honest I think Nigel’s happy place is in the garage.

Nigel has a full time job but still spends hours almost every night in his garage working on any one of his many toys, from drift cars, to motorbikes and trailers as well as anything else he can get his hands on.

“It all started as a way to save money so I could head to the race track more often, but now working on cars has progressed to building them from the ground up. I get immense satisfaction knowing I have built the car to work how I like it.”

What is amazing is that Nigel’s passion and skills have translated into the huge following that he now is recognised for, which is ‘Engineered To Slide‘.

“I spend 90% of my time thinking about cars, bikes and anything built from steel and rolling on wheels”

Drift setup is another area that interests Nigel and being a unique motorsport, every driver prefers different setups. “I really understand everything about the cars I drive because I built and understand every piece on them”

Official – Michael Neilson

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Michael Neilson loves motorsport and is happy volunteering his time to keep drifters safe and minimise event downtime.

“I was already a flaggie with the Victorian Flagmarshalling Team (they’re the ones you see doing the V8 rounds in Victoria) but headed to Winton to see what all this drifting fuss was about. During the day I got a ride in an AE86 and that certainly helped me identify with why these guys go out and get sideways!”

As Michael progressed through marshalling roles at Winton, he found himself in the seat of one of the Safety trucks, and hasn’t missed many drift days since 2007.

“I love drift because of the community aspect of the sport, and its age demographic, and of course the excitement from going sideways.”

“I enjoy volunteering my time, watching from the sidelines in the Safety ute, making sure that everyone out there is having fun and if it does all hit the fan, they will be looked after and the track cleared with minimal downtime so that the fun can continue.”

Yours Truly – Driving

Line of Fire
Like perhaps many of you reading, my ‘happy place’ is behind the wheel. I would rather nothing more than to drive, drift, race or rally with the above office view every day. Unfortunately  jobs relating to ‘Drift Driver’ aren’t so common on seek, nevertheless I immensely enjoy getting behind the wheel and controlling a speeding vehicle in a sideways state. There is something about balancing the car  against its basic intent of motion that creates a great level of adrenaline. It consumes your thoughts. It is such a pure focused task where you are only ‘in the moment’ and it produces a real feeling of joy.

Apart from the obvious physical and mental feelings drivers absorb into their brain while drifting, the other reasons I saviour every moment, every smell, every feeling driving gives me so acutely on track is two fold and I think others will identify with this;

2012-05-09 16.38.06
The first part of the equation is because of the trials and tribulations I go through before an event. The few weeks before the event is always taxing and it makes it even sweeter to finally let go of my preparation mindset . Until the moment I engage first gear out of the dummy grid I am devoting myself entirely to ensuring the car is ready to go. As I hit the track, I usually allow myself a smile, take a deep breath  and acknowledge the pain, challenges and hard work myself, my friends and family have put in to getting me on the track and finally shrug off any of the bad memories. It is time to enjoy the moment that has been hard earned!

Vic Drift Rnd 2-5746
The second element that heightens my appreciation for driving is my time as a competition drift judge, videographer and event organiser. I spent a few years  judging, filming and helping to run the Victorian Drift Club with Yoshi Abey and the great team of guys and girls on the board, who I count as my friends. Judging and organising events is rewarding and enjoyable in its own way, but not an event goes by in these roles where I don’t wish I was out there driving, being judged or just practicing with friends. Reminding myself of where I regularly sit with a pen and a clipboard or walkie talkie come drift day certainly gives me an added appreciation for the driving moments I get.  My judging mindset is usually still with me whenever I qualify or compete, ensuring a self critique is inevitable.

No matter what your happy place is within the sport, we are all part of the glue that makes the sport such an exciting and dynamic sport, still growing and evolving and with a bright future ahead no doubt. The final photo shows it all coming together with drivers, commentators, organisers, photographers, supporters and officials.

2011-10-29 17.18.30

 

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About the Author

Jos Roder

is the owner of Drift Life and wants to delve 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.



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