Thirty-two of the best drifters in the country will go head-to-head at MAZDA 'Mad Mike's' Summer Bash at Hampton Downs on December 9.
"At the first Summer Bash in February we had a Top 16 Shootout and the plan was to do the same again this time around," says event organiser, 'Mad Mike' Whiddett. "I was going to include just one wildcard driver from my Drift Force grassroots driver days but I've seen so much awesome talent and so many guys who deserve their crack at the pros that we decided to make it a Top 32 Shootout instead."
The draw for the Top 32 will be decided by one qualifying run, with the drivers going on to compete in head-to-head battles to decide the winner of the feature event at the Summer Bash.
"It wouldn't surprise me if some of the Drift Force guys upset a few of the pros and potentially make it all the way to the final," says Whiddett. "The great thing about the Summer Bash is if you're knocked out, you can still get out for a play on the track and entertain the fans. The whole idea behind Drift Force and the Summer Bash is to give up and coming drivers more track time and more opportunities to get sideways."
"It's not about all the guys with the big sponsors and the stickers all over their car. There are guys rocking up to Drift Force with no sponsors and they're absolutely ripping it. They've never had the opportunity to drift alongside the pros and really push themselves. The Summer Bash is a real chance for them to showcase themselves in front of some big names and sponsors who'll be at the event. It's their chance to shine."
Entry to the Top 32 Shootout is by invite only but there are plenty of other opportunities to get on the track at the Summer Bash. Hampton Downs has simplified the entry process and one entry fee per car gives drivers access to the Open Insane Entry category where drivers will be judged on the two cornered 'Double Bastard' section of the track and awarded points for their entry and commitment throughout the section and all casual drift sessions.
All entrants will also enjoy two hours of casual drifting on the International, National and Club Circuits. Your entry also gives you the opportunity to enter the Triple Threat Team Drift, provided you have two drifting mates you can team up with and you get your skates on and enter soon. Entry is limited to eight teams.
"In the Triple Threat event we're looking for those three cars syncing on the track," says Whiddett, "but we're also looking for something explosive. It might be one car drifts wide and the other two pass them on the inside. Or they might all do flying 360's across the finish line. It's a chance to get creative and put on a real spectacle for the fans."
There will be fantastic prizes and trophies up for grabs for all winners and runners-up. In addition, the Mazda Skidpan Gymkhana and International Track Cruise will be open to the public. The International Track Cruise is a rare opportunity for anyone to have a drive around Hampton Downs, in a controlled manner of course. You can cruise the 4km international circuit in your own car with family and friends at lunchtime.
Off the track, there will be the Meguiar's Hard Park Show 'n Shine for people to display their cars and 'Mad Mike' will be wandering around picking his favourite cars. There will be a Family Fun Zone, VIP Trackside Lounge, including a private lunch with 'Mad Mike' and New Zealand's top drift stars, a new viewing platform and grandstands so the fans can get up close to the action.
A star of the show will be Whiddett's RADBUL, a 1200hp, 4-rotor, twin-turbo Mazda MX5 which he will run alongside several other machines that make up Mad Mike's fleet. All pre-purchased tickets go into the draw to win a ride in Whiddett's new MADCAB drift taxi with two friends, or a seat in one of the other cars in 'Mad Mike's' garage.