One week after Whitsunday Matsuri, and I’m still feeling the excitement that I took home from it. 36 hours at the track, over 20 hours of track time, 20 seconds between each car. Lap after lap of non-stop driving on recently laid asphalt. Tyre life has gone up with the new grippier, smoother surface, meaning that cars are able to stay out on track longer and the bigger contact patch means that the whole tyre is providing grip, speed and more importantly, smoke! It made the entire event better viewing for all spectators at the track!
The location bonus of the Whitsunday Raceway meant that noise restrictions weren’t an issue, and most drivers used this to their full advantage. Straight pipes and screamers being common place, making sure you can not only hear, but feel the cars as they go screaming past at full noise.
We were stoked to see girl power over the weekend, with Bonnie throwing that big JZ powered soarer around the track with the best of them. Even being comfortable enough to even give a cheeky look and thumbs up for the camera.
The Proximity Motorsport Hire Car was on track for most of the day, with Leon giving some pointers and sitting in the passenger seat until the driver felt comfortable enough to run it by themselves. The driver pictured above was trying his best to lay the hurt on those tyres, and the little skyline was carrying some serious speed around the track, proving that you really don’t need a huge amount of power to go drifting.
Day 1 of Matsuri (click here!) went smoothly, with Proximity taking care of everything from organising catering, to changing tyres and even ensuring everyone had a good spot to set up camp. But as night fell, the heavens opened and visibility hit an all time low. The temporary lighting plant were well set, but you just can’t see everything that you need to with glare reflecting off every surface that could hold some water.
Though I didn’t have a waterproof case for my camera, I managed to get on track for a short while in between the scattered showers and take a few quick pics. Those who were still out driving managed to get some solid runs in, with virtually zero tyre wear thanks to the slick surface.
As the night went on, the drivers continued taking advantage of the weather. The wet surface coupled with the lower temperatures meant it wasn’t often that you needed to stop for cooling or maintenance on the vehicles. Although it looked like a long wait in line, the relatively good wheel work by those in the drivers seat ensured that delays from spins weren’t often, or long. Tandems and trains were still going strong too and the vehicles cleared the queue in no time at all.
As the night grew long – and Lyndon was finally kicked off track – it was time for some much needed RnR. So I did what any other sane person would do, put down the camera and joined in for a few stubbies and a marshmallow over the campfire.
After about 2 beers, it was lights out for me. I was wrecked, and I can only imagine how the other guys attending were feeling after 2 solid days and nights of wrenching, driving, camping and drinking.
As the sun rose on Day 2, it became obvious which guys had ‘been there, done that’. The boys from No Ragrets Gentlemans Club were at the top of this list, cooking up their own feed surrounded by each others tents, swags and camp chairs.
Damage done to some of the cars was showing a little more than others. Fortunately, this one in particular is a practice/battle c33 and no one minded the panel damage. Unfortunately it had experienced a gearbox failure the day before and wouldn’t be seeing any more track time for the weekend.
The same could be said for Royce’s ‘Mang-suri’ ute. Loosing all of the wheel studs on the rear late on Day 1 and had to be pushed onto the trailer by several lads who were waiting to go out for more track time (thanks for the help boys!). Won’t lie, I was a little disappointed when I didn’t get to push it on with the Patrol, but I guess Royce likes his tailgate…
Many of the drivers were keen to get back into it right away, and the track went hot again early on Sunday morning. So after another quick run through scrutineering, it was time to hit the track again, and some drivers wasted no time getting out there to give it another shot.
After another open track session, it was time for a small competition. Rules were fairly simple, and the comp began with qualifying for those who had yet to master their car and/or the track.
Qualifying consisted of 2 runs back-to-back and drivers were graded based on Line, Speed and Angle. There weren’t many who hadn’t already qualified by this stage of the weekend, so there were only a few runs to get through before we could move on to the tandem battles!
The tandem battles featured some of the closes driving I’ve seen, with several pairs requiring re-runs to decide who came out on top!
The best driving was definitely saved for last, with Townsville represented by Hunger Pains driver Lyndon Russell in his Naturally Aspirated R31 Skyline Sedan up against Cairns local, No Ragrets driver Tim Cromie, in his 1JZ-GTE Toyota Cresta. The proximity in the final battle was awesome, and on the re-run it ended up being a little too close with Lyndon tagging the Cresta’s door, leaving a serious mark and handing the win to Cromie.
Full competition results and current point standings will be posted here soon!
After the competition finished it was time for reverse track!
The reverse layout is hugely different to the main track direction, starting at the opposite end of the main straight, drivers turn left, dropping down a slight incline before gaining speed through an uphill right hander that normally designates the finish line. This section of track is much faster and a much bigger challenge than the usual clockwise flow.
A face only a mother could love.
The reverse track session lasted for the final few hours on Sunday before it was time to pack up and hit the road, ending what was one of the biggest and best drift weekends I’ve spent in Australia.
I know I said this before, but Proximity Motorsport managed to pull off an awesome event. Everyone was stoked with how the weekend turned out, and I’m personally looking forward to seeing the next one from the best seat in the house.
I’d like to thank Proximity for inviting me to attend this Whitsunday Matsuri as the official photographer. I had a blast, mad catch ups with many people that I haven’t seen in too long, and met a bunch of new people along the way.
The full event photo gallery will be made available on Ziptie MS in the coming weeks! If you’d like to support my continued attendance at future events in and around the NQ region, visit the website and purchase a photo or two! Thanks for reading!