Drifting. We all know it’s about style right? But what if you have no style? Are you just a bogan in your mums Commodore doing burnouts at the end of your street? What if you have the skills and the style? Well then you might just fit in with the boys from Road Riot. Recently I had the chance to attend the second Road Riot Invitational event at JDMX park here in rural South Australia.
The boys from Road Riot have started running events and publishing their own work in hopes of showing SA, and the rest of Australia that drifting is not only about driving fast cars sideways, but also the skills and style you need to look cool when doing it.
Before we go any further though, lets talk about the faces behind the scenes. The team is made up of Elliot Robinson, Ben Measday, Mason Hatzi, and Aleks Brajic, with the help of various other close friends. All of the guys not only capture the essence of drift in their work, but also drift themselves, so they know what’s cool and what’s not. Of the group Elliot sure knows how to make a car look good, with his Nissan 180SX being one of the nicer 180s I have seen in quite some time.
The event went for two days and was the second round they have held, with everyone camping at the track over night. The first day Was more of a competition type of event where everyone competed in the team drift. This involved drivers pairing up with another driver to drive as close, and as smooth as possible with each other. Unlike a battle in most comps, drivers were to work together. This was the first time I had seen team Robinson drive together in a very long time, Elliot’s brother Dale was also there with his S14 Silvia finished and painted in matching silver to Elliot’s 180SX.
The event was judged by 3 drivers which included locals Anthony Cece from Jaustech Automotive, and Road Riot member Ben Measday, as well as a special interstate guest, Sam Meredith from Wreck ’em up in Queensland. With plenty of guys driving on point all day, the pair walking away with smiles, and the Road Riot prize were Adam Maiello and George Paxton from Team Red Shed DE. Both were given custom event embroidered “Bride” seat pads. Pretty cool prize if you ask me.
After the comp, guys just hit the open track for the rest of the day. Some of the more aggressive drivers out were Adam Jervis in his Nissan Cefiro, with driving on point he was one of my favourites to watch. Also joining in on the fun was James Mardle, who is owner of JDMX park.
At the end of the day everyone hung out and had a camp fire enjoying some (by some I mean many) drinks with each other. For the guys at Road Riot, this was an important part of the event as it was a way of bringing everyone together and enjoying the sport of drifting with friends. This is a large problem in the SA scene right now so it was a positive at an event for a change.
When I arrived at the track the next day, it was clear that most had a hard night sleeping (and drinking) out in the cold. Most drivers were awake and getting cars prepared for the day but a few were missing. After walking around the pits a few were seen sleeping in the back of their cars. But within a couple of hours of tyre screeching on the track, they appeared from the warmth of their back seats and came to cheer on their friends.
The second day was again just an open track day, with anyone with tyres and fuel left out on track for some more fun. One of the cool things about JDMX park is the banked corner that’s about one meter high with spectators sitting on the dirt mound above the track. It gives a cool perspective that not many places have.
One of the many drivers enjoying the banked corner was Ben in his JZX100 which was really impressive to watch. Why you ask? Well Ben was thrashing pretty hard in an auto Chaser. That’s right, Ben’s a 2 foot villain! When talking to Mason he said “Ben drives with 2 pedals to the metal and lost his left foot in a smelting accident” hahahaha.
Another cool feature of the track is that its very compact. It probably only takes about 15-20 seconds to do a lap but it has multiple connecting roads which leaves it open for hundreds of layouts. You can literally go out and drive every part of the track in a different order, both directions, and not do the same layout for 10 minutes. Very unique for a track dedicated to drifting. Part of this is a very fast right hand corner into a straight that dropped off the back side of the track. This caused a lot of cars to dirt drop and kick the front of the car in the air three wheeling for a second or two. Very cool in the world of drift. Can we hear that word style coming back to mind?
Here you can see Road Riot member Mason enjoying the day. This Guy is someone to watch both on and off the track. When behind the wheel you can sense he means business but off the track is the life of the party. Always a laugh when you have a chat to him.
Two of the drivers I was looking forward to seeing were Phil Branson in his freshly built S13 Silvia, and Scott “Style King” Miller in his 1JZ S14 Silvia. Phil damaged his car early on the first day and frantically got it sorted before the Twin Drift session started. During warm up laps Phil practically pushed Scott around the track with his close proximity, but on the first lap on competition, he threw a power steering belt and put it into the tyres. Scott on the other hand was starting bush fires when ever he was on track. His S14 was pumping out so much smoke it wouldn’t clear by the time he was back around the track again.
The second day ended mid afternoon and it was time to leave for the three-hour drive back to Adelaide. I’m going to finish off this article just talking about the track at JDMX Park for a bit. I had read and heard mixed reviews of the place before I made the drive up there. Not expecting much I arrived to a pretty cool little complex that was built on an old petrol station. I will admit I was mistaken to judge this place with all the internet talk of it “not being that good” or “too far to drive”. In fact most of the reviews I read were far from the truth. JDMX Park is awesome in the sense that you can rock up almost any day of the week and drive with your friends in a relaxed, and fun environment. Not many tracks Australia wide, if in the world were as welcoming as James and his team. If you love drift and live in SA, I highly recommend everyone get to JDMX Park as soon as possible and experience it for yourself.
Thanks goes out to the team at Road Riot and James at JDMX Park for putting on such a rad event. I’m definitely looking forward to the next round and I think everyone should make that long drive to see it. It’s worth it. Trust me!