Published on July 30th, 2015 | by Jos Roder0
GH Haulage Drift Invitational 2015
I don’t think any other event epitomizes the true community of drift in Australia better than the GH Haulage Drift Invitational. After a little more digging Drift Life turned up an amazing story of big hearts, fundraising, great people and above all, commitment to drift that should be celebrated.
Across in the Southern and Eastern States we often get caught up in our own local scenes and forget about what is a thriving top end drift scene. Every year the Top End Drift Association (TEDA) hosts the GH Haulage Drift Invitational/State of Origin which is the pinnacle event on the top end’s drift calendar.
Taking place at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway on the weekend of July 31st – Aug 1st, the Drift Invitational began in 2012 as TEDA’s brainchild to pull together a first class N.T event that would not only raise awareness and standards of local drift with a large prize, but also offer an open invitation to interstate drivers to experience drifting in the top end and taste the best of what the region has to offer.
“We try to run an event everyone can be proud of, but not just that, we welcome everyone with open arms and provide a true top end experience for the interstate guys, as we know how far it is to come. To ensure everyone has a memorable trip we showcase the best of what Darwin has to offer.” Brentton Deane, TEDA member.
The inaugural Drift Invitational in 2012 was won by S.A local James Mardle, beating N.T local Zenek Radomski who was using a borrowed Cefiro. South Aussie’s have since then retained the “State of Origin” trophy, with Jack Widdas winning in 2013 and Dale Campaign winning in 2014, but in 2015 that could all change.
The South Australians are back to defend the title with the largest invasion of ‘Team SA’ drivers ever assembled with not one, but two car transporters full of angry drift machinery taking the long haul north, thanks to GH Haulage of course.
Member of Team WA, Brent Peters was a local NT drifter until recently moving to Perth. Brent suggested pulling together a group of WA drivers knowing how much they would enjoy the scene in Darwin, which is small, but arguably has the best atmosphere and facilities in Australia. With word getting around about the event, Pat Coetzer President of the D1WA club and series run out of Collie Motor Plex picked up the ball to help make the team a reality.
The logistics and numbers involved in both S.A and W.A’s epic journey’s to Darwin is staggering. Three transporters will travel a combined total of 20,000km’s with over 211 hours of driving for the return journey from their bases in Perth and Adelaide to attend the Drift Invitational in Darwin.
For the South Australian team, none of this would have been possible without the generous support of Graham Hinks at GH Haulage who has not only subsidized the S.A drivers haulage costs associated with attending the event, but has also donated the $5,000 prize on offer for the Invitational. Hicks and GH Haulage should be commended for their continued support of the Drift Invitational and drifting in South Australia over many years.
In a similar show of community support, Team WA received a donation directly from TEDA to assist in reaching their funding goal to make their trip to Perth a reality. Keith Adams who is a huge contributor to the WA and Australian drift scene also came to the party, providing the cheapest alternative for the team with a truck that would get the cars north.
For both Team SA and WA, despite the generous donations there was more work to be done and fundraising activities were conducted by both groups in the lead up to the event to make the event financially viable.
In Perth, Pat, Daniel and the D1WA team organised team BBQs with Repco and with the generous support of Deb and Mitch Larner at WA Performance and Service Centre ran a successful Dyno day with funds going towards the teams transport to Darwin.
Across in Adelaide, Drifting SA held numerous sausage sizzles at Repco, Sleek Spares and Autobarn to further subsidize the vehicle transport fees, displaying professional looking drift cars, selling driver/passenger tops and hoodies and reached their goal thanks to the generous support of the associate members, the drifters and the local community.
“It’s this sort of culture in this sport that makes us want to compete in these style of events. Its all for the love of drift and to make the event as exciting and different as possible” – Dan
For the interstate drivers who have come so far the TEDA team have booked in an action packed weekend of activities, both on and off the track to ensure everyone maximises their top end experience. The weekend will start with a practice session Friday morning, followed by the option to have a few runs at the off street drags Friday evening. The Invitational will then take place all day and into the night on Saturday. To cool off and wind down on Sunday, there is a trip to Litchfield National Park. The Darwin Cup is also taking place on the Monday, so interstaters can suit up and head down to the races as well before heading home.
The trucks are now arriving from the long haul to Hidden Valley as I write this.
Some of the stats on the Team WA transporter are that 120 tyres and 500 litres of E85 are on board to supply the team for the weekend.
Without further ado, let’s introduce each states representatives at the 2015 GH Haulage Drift Invitational
Adam Monck – Adam is taking the famous ‘Tyre BBQ’ S14, which is so named due to the twin turbo LS powered engine under the hood and is possibly one of the highest powered drift cars in the country. Describing the power, Adam says it ‘packs more punch than a middle eastern war lord’. The S14 is fitted with a full Wisefab steering setup, and an Origin Labo kit. Adam is supported by SRM, Gas 78 industries, The Exhaust Centre Midvale, and Scott’s Performance Engines. Adam has been drifting since 2011 at D1WA, WA Drift and ADGP events locally and nationally.
Brendon Greaves – Brendon owns a Green S15, Packing a Whipple supercharged LS3 and like Adam, Wizefab suspension and is beautifully prepped. Brendon is supported by WA Performance and Hi Performance Electrical and has experience drifting in the G1GP event’s in Japan, D1WA, WA Drift and ADGP events locally and nationally.
John Grupillo is representing Ford with his Falcon Ute, fresh off a mechanical rebuild and now with enough power to be a real threat to the boosted V8s. John’s ute also features custom arms and knuckles for big lock and wild entries. John is supported by JE Civil and BPT Motorsport and has been a regular at both D1WA and WA Drift events throughout the 2014/15 season with his strong off-road background giving him great car control.
Brent Peters – After a recent big crash at the D1WA Battle X event Brent has re-shelled into a R32 Sedan. With a cop motor, cop shocks, cop tyres and oh wait….. it has a TD06 Neo RB25 on E85 with JDI knuckles and custom arms all-round making for a competitive and easy to drive car. Brent is supported by Penrite Oils and DC Auto Repairs at Gull Yokine. Brent has been drifting for a few years now making several comps in Darwin as well as D1WA and WA Drift along with a bit of practice in his homeland NZ.
Brendan Cullen – Brendan is using a rare SR20 powered S13, featuring the tried and proven T2871R responsive turbo and usual supporting modifications. the unusual supporting mod is potentially the largest drift wing in Australia that Brendan whipped up on short notice. It may be a struggle to keep the car sideways with such a sail! Brendan is supported by Southwest Trailers and Driftmonkey clothing and has been drifting since 2011 in G1GP picking up experience working at Power Vehicles before moving back to Australia and competing in the ADGP Driftkhana series.
Michael Verhulst Griffith – Michael is a new addition to the team and is bringing up his massive Stroked 7.4L LS7 R33 Skyline with a custom 9 ¼ inch diff along and the usual spread of adjustable suspension. Michael will be sure to put on a show and is supported by Redline Mechanical. Michael has Drifted in both D1WA and WA Drift series as well as D1 Comp in NZ gaining experience from his family member at D1NZ driver Jodie Verhulst.
Ben Gargett runs a JZX110 MKII that he calls ‘Nana’. It is no slouch and manages a huge 380rwkw’s of force fed tyre frying mumbo.
Danny Probert is a seasoned TEDA competitor and in 2014 took out the Top End Drift Association Championship in his old school Ford XD Falcon that has been modernised with something still in the Ford family, thanks to the awesome XR6T engine. Danny has certainly shown the XD is still competitive among the newer Japanese and Aussie machinery.
For something a little different, Tommy Campbell owns and drifts this amazing Nissan Stagea Ute with a R34 front and built rb25, just to confuse you a little more. Tommy is sponsored by A1 Access hire.
Team SA are setting out again to defend their GH Haulage Drift Invitational/State of Origin title and are sending a crack team of drift assassins across the red centre to do battle again.
Chris Solito drives the GH Haulage R33 Skyline and is considered the man credited for forging the strong bonds between NT and SA. Chris, a seasoned drifter, introduced his mate Graham Hinks to drift and the rest is history. Chris competes nationally in the ADGP championship and at state level with increasing success with his aggressive style of driving.
Peter Ricci has entered his S13 running a forged SR20 with 250rwkw’s thanks to a HKS GTRS turbo. Co-owner of Jaustech, Peter grew to love drift through supporting his mate Cece but found it was a challenge to just watch, so started driving and hasn’t looked backed. Peter finished 3rd place in the 211 Drift Super Cup and more recently came third in a 2014 Drifkhana event.
Jake Lowick drives this S13 and is another of the Jaustec boys who has been quietly building his skill to a surprisingly high level in a short amount of time. He has completed in the World Time Attack and features in the top 10 of each of the states series in SA.
Powered by an RB25DET that is fed by a Garrett 3076 Turbo, Jake qualified first in the 2013/2014 state class ADGP round 1. Everyone is looking forward to seeing what he can do with this new build!
Every year there is at least one crazy last minute feat of mechanical heroics to ensure someone gets to an event. For the Drift Invitational, the award has to go to Chris Meadows who owns this clean 180SX. Chris was shattered to find out his engine had given up the ghost only a few days ago and that he was not going to make the trip. Dave and Kelly from Sleeka Spares had other ideas though and with incredible kindness came to the rescue despite the last minute timing and have not only lent Chris a motor of their own, but allowed him to use their workshop to get the new engine in and along with Mark Goodliffe, the impossible happened. Chris’s car is now on the truck and heading north.
Darren Gunn is a regular TEDA Drift Invitational competitor in his Ford Ute. The Beverley Collision Repairs machine is no ordinary ute though with the 4 litre 6 cylinder pumping out a truly massive 489rwkw’s at the rear wheels thanks to a Gtx3582r turbo and supporting mods. Good luck to those following Darren in the battles! ……Use the ‘force’.
Kelly Wong should no introduction to drift fans. Kelly’s custom pink painted Nissan Cefiro is powered by an RB25 and GTX3071R turbo. A regular competitor in both G1 and also VicDrift state series, Kelly is also a registered ADGP driver and looking forward to the challenge of competing in the top end.
Daniel Prior’s weapon of choice is this black S13. Sponsored by ISC Coilovers it runs a Toyota 1.5J engine making around 340kw. Daniel has two second placing at the last two G1 SA state rounds and also a second at the last Stadium drift event.
“I was in Darwin for the invitational in 2013 and had a great time. All the people up there are so laid back and welcoming. I qualified 2nd and finished 3rd last time for the Invitational so I’m hoping to be on the podium again” said Prior.
Dale Campaign is last years winner of the Drift Invitational and is returning to defend his title. Dale’s Sileighty sports a RB25/30 that puts down a massive 400kw’s at the treads. Dale is supported by GH Haulage.
“I’m stoked to be back again to try and bring the trophy back to SA. The GH Haulage Drift Invitational/State of Origin is one of the best events of the year and always a lot of fun,” said Solito.
Anthony Cece has tuned many of the SA machines heading north on this trip and this year has decided to check out the action up in Darwin in his clean, heavily modified S14 for the first time. The S14 runs a RB25det with 325rwkw’s.
The mod list reads like a high end drift shopping list of quality brand names. No cheap Chinese copies here! Greddy intake manifold, 6boost exhaust manifold, Garrett GT30/76 .63, ID1000cc injectors tuned on E85, custom V mount intercooler, Koyo radiator + custom header tank set up, RB25 PPG dog box with 1st to 5th billet selectors and input shaft, OS Giken competition triple plate clutch, DG5 coilovers, Drift works knuckles front and rear, Cusco arms, GTR 4.11 diff shafts and hubs, full weld in cage, Velo seats, Autronic SM4 ECU, Motec Dash, Motec PDM, R33 GTR Brembo’s, full Origin body kit and carbon parts, Enkei RPF01 wheels oh and NOS!!
The GH Haulage Drift Invitational and the interstate teams in attendance would not be there without the support of so many people and companies that have put time, effort and money into making this event happen.
The naming rights sponsor, prize money supplier and SA transport provider GH Haulage. Drift Invitational supporting sponsors, Kennards Hire, Nightcliff Electrical and A.W.T. Also on board is Obsessed Motorsports who are sponsoring the Big Entry competition with D1 Spec Project Mu brake pads and a Hydro Hand Brake up for grabs. As further incentive, NT Energy Electrical are offering $500 cash to the pair who smash out the best battle during the event. Savanna Motorsport are also donating money, with $200 given to the best presented car at the event.
The Top End Drift Association committee have worked tirelessly in their own time to put this event together and ensure it lives up to the expectations of the huge interstate contingent of drivers.
From a S.A perspective, Shirl Clarke and the entire team at Drifting SA donated so much of their time in pulling together this year’s logistics and funds for the event and of course Graham Hinks from GH Haulage.
Over in W.A, Pat Coetzer and Daniel Davey from D1WA worked wonders in pulling together Team WA. Daniel works for Repco, so was able to use the Repco store fronts as fundraising opportunities for the team. Deb and Mitch Larner from WA Performance and Service Centre were extremely accommodating to the team and their dyno day proved to be great assistance to the team. Keith Adams was able to supply the team with the truck required on short notice at a great rate.
Drift Life wants to thanks Shirl Clarke(SA), Brent Peters(WA) and Brentton Deane(NT) for their contributions to this article, plus the drivers who have provided information and those photographers who captured the shots of the entrants, trucks and events Drift Life has used.
For more information and updates regarding the event, head to the TEDA Information page here.