IT was the last hoorah – at least for now – for the South East Motorsport Alliance club’s drifting program, with a big day of fun held at the Mount Gambier saleyards on the weekend.
The event did not include the normal competitive runs, but was more about giving back to those who help out regular drivers and the club.
“It was designed to create a welcoming environment,” club secretary Ben Collins said.
“So if you had a partner or friend who helps you out and comes along all the time, you could stick them in the car and try to show them a thing or two, try to teach them something.
“Or you could just give them the experience, share it with them.”
Collins said the overall experience was interesting, with some regular competitors ensuring their partners enjoyed the day.
“We had a couple of people build cars for their partners,” he said.
“There was a pink Skyline there a mate built for his partner and quite a few drivers were sharing cars.
“We only had four girls, but there were a lot of people who threw the keys to their mates and let them share a car.
“It was a way to say thanks for the help they might give with drifting.”
Those trying the sport for the first time were made to feel safe at the saleyards complex.
“The element of danger is pretty slim,” Collins said.
“We did set up some barriers from a safety point of view, but there is not much to hit.
“It is pretty open.
“You can do anything, from practising a few beginner skills, right down to some more advanced stuff once you get a bit more comfortable with the car and happier with what is going on.”
Collins said the event was a big success, with more than 60 drivers entering.
“That is the most we have at any of our events,” he said.
“There were a lot of old faces, but a lot of new ones as well.
“People came from Warrnambool and Horsham, plus locals from Mount Gambier, Millicent and Adelaide.
“Given everything that has been going on, it was unreal to see so many people coming out and having crack.”
Collins said the sport is gaining a foothold in the region.
However, this event was more about providing opportunities at the grass-roots level.
The expense of the sport can be reigned in, which was evident in a club car built to cater for those who do not have a vehicle to drive.
“We bought a simple manual Falcon we did some basic mods to, which was available for use for anyone who wanted a crack but did not have their own car,” Collins said.
“Basically it was a manual, with a locked diff and hydraulic hand brake.
“That car cost us less than two grand to buy and build, so it is a good example of how you can get into it cheaply.”
As with most other sports in the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled any events in the immediate future.
Collins said he was unsure when the next event would take place.
“We are probably putting everything on hold for now,” he said.
“This came pretty close to being canned – there was some pretty serious discussion leading up to it about whether we go ahead or not.
“But it was good to have one last run before everything locks down.”