Published on September 1st, 2017 | by Jos Roder


Prior Wins TEDA State of Origin

Daniel Prior has taken out the Top End Drift Association Drift Invitational – State of Origin at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway last Saturday.

Prior emerged victorious after fellow finalist and Darwin’s last great hope, Grant Frenchman struck car trouble, a broken half-shaft ending his chance at bringing the title home to Darwin for the first time.

Using the back section of the track for the judged section between turns 9 -13, Prior showed consistent driving all weekend, all but clean sweeping the weekend by topping entry speed into the start of the judged section, qualifying first and finishing first in the battles.

For his success, Daniel took home $2,000 and making him the first multiple winner of the event, having finished 1st back in 2015.

Drivers came from as far away as South Australia and Western Australia to join the local contingent of entrants, making for a full field of 32 cars heading into the 6th annual State of Origin.

Friday’s sessions gave the chance for drivers to practice the somewhat complex layout which consisted of the back section of the track between turns 9-13 and by evening a number of drivers were or had been dealing with car troubles in the heat and were working on them late into the evening.

2016 State of Origin winner Anthony Cece had returned to defend his crown, although last minute car troubles with a blown oil pump on the dyno meant friend Daniel Prior lent Cece his back-up car, a 1JZ Toyota Corolla so he was still in the game.

A number of local drivers were in new cars, including the recently completed competition spec S14 build from the Abode homes team driven by Jacob Martin and TEDA President Shane Davidson getting the hang of a LS1 powered 180sx.

Saturday morning saw the traditional ‘Big Entry’ competition take place, where competitors accelerated as fast as possible until throwing their car sideways and hoping to pull off a huge angle entry that stays in between the corner lines.

At close to 200km’h it is a tough gig to nail and despite W.A local Brendon Greaves being judged to have had the best successful entry, he was disqualified due to his other two runs sending him off track, which excluded him from taking the trophy. Adam Monck had the highest speeds and would have taken the win with his aggressive flick entries were in not for running a little shallow or deep as he finished his runs toward the apex.

The consequences are real if things go wrong on the entry and unfortunately for Tristan Lack in the Territory Door Services Toyota Chaser a misjudgment saw him contact the wall heavily on the main straight. Fortunately Toyota builds them tough and the damage was repaired ahead of the start of battles.

It was local Grant Frenchman who ended up victorious in the Big Entry competition however, taking it out with a flamboyant style and solid entry that hit the mark for the judges.

As the sun set, battles got under way, it was business time, with the Top 32 drivers all beginning their attempt at winning 4 battles for a shot at glory. Some great driving, close calls and difficult decisions had to be made along the way, but well into the evening the final four were locked  in place and for the first time ever, 3 of those were Darwin drivers.

Prior would take on Frenchman in the battle for 1st with Mitch Doyle and Jacob Martin battling for the final place on the podium.

Motorsport is cruel sometimes and Frenchman’s half-shaft failure meant the crowd didn’t get to see the big final the evening had been building up for and that the locals had been cheering for loudly. Prior completed a lonely solo pass to officially collect his prize.

Mitch Doyle drove strongly all weekend, taking out Jacob Martin for 3rd. Martin did not go home empty handed, taking home the ‘Judges Pick’ for his remarkable improvement throughout the weekend driving the newly built car for the first time.

Prior was elated to take his second TEDA State of Origin.

“This was my fourth time drifting at an Invitational and I wasn’t disappointed, it was an amazing weekend of drifting.”

To send off the event and the weekend in style, celebratory burnouts gave those still watching a final spectacle and a nice alternative to the fireworks across the valley at the Speedway.

Congratulations to all of the entrants, winners and TEDA team who put on another fantastic State of Origin event.

To learn more about the Top End Drift Association, head to the Public Facebook Group HERE

Drift Life will be putting together some video clips on the weekend, so please subscribe to the Drift Life YouTube channel HERE

Thanks to Nathan Sixsmith Photography and J Marafioti Photography for the additional shots. Click the links to see their work.


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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.

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