Friday Night Drifts: Running The Wall
Think of the best drift circuits in the world and their iconic corners. Meihan Sportsland and its backwards entry tempting first sweeper, the Irwindale Speedway banking and the late Ebisu Drift Stadium chicane jump towards the pit wall. These three examples have one thing in common, encouraging drifters to get the rear of their car as sideways as possible, and as close, if not, rubbing onto a concrete wall. Calder Park's 'Run The Wall' layout at the north end of the national circuit shares this same trait.
One long half circle shaped wall, with the slightest of angled banking where the asphalt meets the concrete. Drifters not only have to consistently slide with their foot to the floor because of the corner's sweeper-like characteristics, but also be as accurate as possible to get as close to the concrete as possible. A tricky thing to multitask no doubt.
I've wanted to photograph this layout since shooting my first drift event back in 2019. Unfortunately, due to track works on the drag strip (where this layout is located), it hasn't been used since late 2019. Now though, with the drag strip up and running again, it was time to let rip on a lot of people's favourite section of Calder Park.
Before drivers run the infamous wall though, they must navigate this awkward left and right couple of corners. Many drivers I noticed tiptoed through this section early in the day, the right hander being deceivingly tighter than a simple ninety-degree corner.
The team at Keep it Reet had also brought along a very special guest all the way from the USA. FC RX7 connosuir and self-confessed Unproffesional, Hert from Hoonigan would join the action, taking the Reet R32 for a spin throughout the night.
Being such a popular figure in the international car community, he took time throughout the night also for autograph sessions to meet Aussie fans of the grassroots drift master. I guess the return of a very popular layout and the chance to meet Hert is the reason almost 3500 people came through the Calder Park gate, breaking the attendance record for a Keep it Reet event.
From drifting, car culture merchandise stalls, a very special guest, RC drift cars and a very colourful show and shine, there really was no reason not to be there on Friday night.
The activity on track however was what grabbed most people's attention. Lots of close tandem action and big sends, all able to be viewed from the grandstands and now even from the infield of the circuit. The only better seats in the house were the driver's seats themselves. I also have to mention the AU Drift society, who were out all night in their numbers, side by side throwing it down along the wall, led often by Anthony Romano and Jamie Stevkovski.
Two of my favourite cars from that first time shooting drifting were back too. Alex Voigt's now LS swapped Mazda Bravo ute was making lots of smoke as Jamie Mackie's notorious LS swapped XY Falcon was entertaining the spectators in a new camo livery.
Speaking of big old Fords, this XP Falcon was being thrown around within an inch of its life. Breaking traction and then suddenly gripping up, it looked like a handful to control, but the driver was always able to keep the angry Falcon in check.
Like any drift event, cars will break and get worn out, and this Friday night was no different. Most of the big damage would come later in the night due to the cooler track temperatures catching people out.
At 9:15, the pits would attempt to become as loud as the track itself, with the Antilag competition. The loudest cars attempting to turn as much air and fuel into an abundant amount of noise and flames. I'm not sure which of these monsters was the loudest, all I know is that this FG Falcon and S13 Silvia where particularly bone rattling.
Keep it Reet's last event of the year would finish like any other. A classic game of scissors, paper, rock to win some free stickers, and the handing out of awards to those who really set the track alight. And of course, there needed to be time to pick up any bumpers left by the side of the track after an awesome jam-packed night of enthusiastic drifting and an overall celebration of car culture.
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