If you've been following me you know I've had some set backs over the years and had to stop drifting due to work and money, choosing business over pleasure. The last skid pan I went to was the 8th of February 2014.
Now 2 years 9 months later I had decided it was finally time to get back into the swing of things and focus on what truly makes me happy and that is driving cars, not just putting around the streets but really unleashing behind the wheel of a car, I can't explain it but pushing a car to it's limits as well as finding my own is deeply satisfying. I came home after work one afternoon and renewed my cams licence promising myself that I will take part in next month's skid pan. Well turns out that was actually going to be the first weekend of November meaning it was a week away! Definitely not really having the funds due to fortnightly pay and needing to buy paint for my front bar I was fairly disappointed to say the least. I was actually expecting my paint to be a couple hundred dollars and had saved just that but luckily for me I got a litre of matched paint for $92 which left me enough to go home and book a drift night with Driving Sports for the following week! No turning back now!
I WAS FINALLY GOING DRIFTING!!!
The week of work leading up to Saturday was by far the longest week of my life.
Saturday morning came with a 5am wake up and an exhausting 9hr shift finishing at 4pm. This left me no time to really get excited or nervous, until it hit 3pm, one more hour of work to go, I got butterflies, my belly was doing crazy things to me, I even had to do a nervous wee before leaving work haha
Arriving home I raced inside got changed, found my helmet and GoPro and we made our way out to Sydney Motorsport Park. Pulling up to the gate I excitedly gave them my name and was directed to line up and wait to be scrutineered. Everything checked off I got my sticker of approval, I love their stickers by the way it's always something new and funny, I used to collect them across my windscreen but had removed them a while ago due to feeling down every time I seen them as they reminded me of the fun I used to have.
Chilling in the car waiting for driver's briefing I was now too tired to be nervous, I just wanted get out there and have fun already, not even Red Bull was keeping me awake... I needed adrenalin!
Briefing was just how I remembered it, funny and a good laugh, I mean serious with lots of precautions and rules, nah the guys at Driving Sports are a good bunch of blokes who get the serious stuff across with a good laugh. So with all the rules layed down it was time to slide! Unfortunately day to day living left me quite broke, needing to borrow money off Ash for petrol meaning he couldn't come as passenger anymore...
I was second group out. Pulling up to the waiting bay alone in my car the nerves kicked in. I was relatively calm but the butterflies inside my belly were going ape. Ash was trackside with the camera and wasn't there to calm me down. I started putting pressure on myself to not wreck the car we just painted and to not spin out wrecking everyone else's run. This mindset hindered me more then I thought.
My first session I went out and it was understeer city. I didn't know what was happening, it didn't matter how many resteps I did it just wouldn't slide, and kept pushing straight (THE WORST FEELING!). I felt like a dick, but kept going, I didn't want to hold up the rest by slowing down and kept coming in at speed, I'd turn in and restep it but did nothing but understeer. The four minute session was over and I came in quite deflated, way too many expectations on myself.
Next session came I went out and understeered AGAIN, my timing was all wrong I was trying to man handle the car rather then feel the car, I wasn't "in the zone" eventually getting the shits I restepped the bitch hard, broke traction and she slid, ooooo, the feels came back! But the session was over.
My third session came up, this time feeling a bit more confident I went out and held my first slide, she's coming back! A few more understeer moments pissed me off but I had even more moments sideways to balance it out. During this run two cars broke down, the session was put on hold while they got them off the pan allowing me time to regain my composure. I had 2 minutes out there with just one other car which allowed me to slow it up a fraction, take a wider line and throw it in. I came in from the 3rd session on a high, it was coming back to me!
The hardest part about it all was not having Ash by my side, we got home looked at the footage and straight away he noticed that in every understeer moment I was not on boost and although I was restepping I was not giving it enough revs to actually spin the tyres and step the rear out, something he would have noticed right away if he was able to go passenger.
Of course the GoPro ran out of battery but it was ok as the fourth session was a bit how ya going again (I think I was over excited by the 3rd session still) but the 5th session I killed it holding a decent slide and switch back on multiple occasions. Ash actually filmed that run from the outside so I could see which was good, just wish I had it on GoPro though!
Coming in from my last session my car smelt weird so we pulled up and checked it out, Ash noticed something in my alternator was glowing red, practically on fire so we put it out, called it a night and made our way home. Having to get up at 6am for a car show the next day we sorted that issue out Monday, looks like I may need a new alternator or fingers crossed I just picked up some shit off the pan and nothing is wrong whatsoever... who knows, knowing my luck it has fried itself and may have well and truly shorted out something else, only time will tell...but that's drifting, break it, fix it, drift it, repeat!
So all in all I had a blast! I've already started saving for the next one!
I think I was too excited, too tired, too frustrated and not in the zone but hey I can only get better and that's the fun part, learning... watching the footage back I'm already heaps faster then I was last time, I used to slide well, holding many laps together but was always lacking speed, now I have speed I need angle and control!
Watch this space! I'll be booking many drift days, hill climbs, tarmac events and track days over the next few months!
I will slide like this again! I'm really hoping for a full day session very soon, night time was hard to keep an eye on cones, cars, and flaggies especially after nearly 3 yrs off...