Motorsport: Drifting races big success

By Cameron Leslie

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Dargaville's Gaz Whiter was the best finishing Northlander over the weekend, finishing second after crashing his car in the final.Photo/Michael Cunningham
Dargaville's Gaz Whiter was the best finishing Northlander over the weekend, finishing second after crashing his car in the final.Photo/Michael Cunningham

Northland drifter Dan Woolhouse hopes drifting continues to make its way north, saying that locals get behind the sport up here.

Woolhouse, who is also known as "Fanga Dan", said that while the weekend wasn't the greatest result wise for him he thought it was a success, helped by Dargaville's Gaz Whiter finishing second.

"It was pretty mean," Woolhouse commented of the weekend's event. "Having it come back to our home town every year is good and if we can keep it going it'll get even better.

"If the weather is good and an event like that you're going to pull good crowds."

Woolhouse was eliminated in his top-16 battle with Tauranga's Drew Donovan in what he felt was a rough call by the judges.

"It's bloody hard being a judge in sport and it is what it is and sometimes you've just got to take it on the chin and move. [I'm] pretty gutted."

Whiter ended his weekend by crashing his car in the final, handing the win to Auckland-based international "Mad Mike" Whiddett.

Heading into the first of the 2013/14 season's "stadium" rounds on a temporary course marked out in transport operator Toll's marshalling yard at the southern end of the city, first-round winner Whiter held the advantage. And despite a scare when he blew a diff on his first run the three-time former D1NZ series champion was able to battle his way through the brackets until be met a wounded Whiddett in the final.

With only one useable gear, Whiddett struggled to complete the scrub lap. But, just when it looked like Whiter would make it two round wins from two starts his Tectaloy Nissan was in the wall. "I just had no room," Whiter explained as crew members examined his - fortunately only lightly damaged - car.

"Mike was slow away, I couldn't really see where he was, then I was in the wall, it was as simple as that."

"No-one likes winning like that," admitted Whiddett, "but a win is a win. Unfortunately in practice this morning I wrecked our good gearbox and we didn't have time to change it before qualifying then the battles so we had to lock it in third [gear] and hope for the best."

Finishing fourth was another local drifter, teenager Robee Nelson. His fourth was one of the stand-out performances of the weekend, with the 18-year-old engineering apprentice from Maungakaramea qualifying seventh before battling his way past Garry Tenana and Japanese driver Tux Teruya then giving Whiddett a run for his money in the top four.

"I just love these tight, twisty concrete-lined courses," Nelson said by way of explanation. "I love when the judges ask you to do something which is quite technical at a place like this compared with somewhere like Taupo which is pretty much all full throttle."

The Whangarei round was the second of six this season which make up the Cody's D1NZ National Drifting Championship with the next at Tauranga over the January 17/18 weekend.

For more information go to www.d1nz.co.nz.

- Northern Advocate

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