In addition to frequenting their Friday Night and Matsuri style drifting events, Keep it Reet began a unique drifting championship called Battle Royale last year. The framework for this championship is a round robin style of battles, that allows drivers who lose one battle to still continue.
Motorsport is unpredictable, and many things can not go to plan, particularly in drifting, so giving each driver an extra chance allows them to redeem themselves. Two early loses however, and you're out.
Drivers are also split into two categories. Pro; for some of the best drivers in Australia, with high horsepower tyre shredding machines, running on Zeknova semi slick tyres and Amateur; for up and coming and veteran drifters, with less horsepower cars, running on cheap drift tyres
All this and no qualifying to lock in your spot means that it is most certain for the most consistent and best drifter to take home the win in both Pro and Amateur class.
Round 1 for this unique championship was way back in April last year, so the competiton was roaring to go again for Round 2, this time, held on the 'Reverse Over The Hill' layout on Calder Park's National Circuit.
Rob Whyte, a two time ADGP Champion was also invited from Queensland to compete in the Keep it Reet R34, and looked right at home in the turbocharged sedan, on Calder Park's tricky layout.
In a drifting competition like this, drivers and equipment is often pushed beyond its limits. Many diffs and axles were broken during the Friday private practice session. Most notably, John Dreyer took his infamous Bluebird out of retirement for Jhay Hansen, when his Corolla suffered mechanical issues. During practice Mark Sneddon also received some gremlins, blowing his diff and causing him to stop at the chicane.
In the early rounds of battles, drivers began to emerge. Jesse Scott looked to be aiming for a second win in the Battle Royale championship, whilst Aaron Gorton was chipping away at each opponent in the Amateur class. Ben Venni unfortunately would have a steering failure, consequently losing to Jhay Hansen and being knocked out. Bogga O'Grady's bonnet would fly up whilst coming over the hill in his battle against Aaron Dewar, but would still drift around the course, Norwegian style, and beating Dewar in the rerun battle.
A dose of deja vu was given when Andrew Pearson and Jesse Scott, who fought for the win in last years Battle Royale, traded chase and lead runs in a close battle, this time, with Andrew Pearson prevailing.
Aaron Gorton would go undefeated to the fifth round of battles, getting a bye run, allowing him to fight for the win in the final battle.
Meanwhile in the Pro class, Mike Lake would knock out Marcus McCathie, but would suffer more mechanical dramas and would be knocked out by Shane 'Sharky' Crawford, in his street driven Commodore.
Moe Elhaouli, the last driver to win on this layout and laying down fast and smooth chase runs all day, was knocked two blows, the first by Matt Russell in the AE86, and then was dealt the same fate by Shane Crawford.
However, Shane like many others over the day would suffer a mechanical failure, giving Brendan 'Bogga' O'Grady the win and advancing to the final battle against Matt Russell.
Cam Marton would win a close battle against Rob Whyte for third in the Pro class, the Queenslander finishing fourth. A commendable result as he arrived from Queensland just the day before competing against some of the best drifters in Victoria, in an unfamiliar machine.
Andrew Pearson would continue his streak in the Amateur class by beating Nathan Beasleigh as the sun set and darkness rolled in. Now all that was left was to battle against Aaron Gorton.
In between the battles, the drivers were still giving the spectators some awesome sideways action to watch, as the tensions rose for the final battles and the sunlight faded.
The battle for the win in both Pro and Amateur would be decided by a best of three battles. Would Aaron Gorton go onto win in dominant fashion, or would Andrew Pearson spoil the party.
Would Matt Russell continue slaying the horsepower giants, or would Bogga O'Grady win in a car that had been finished moments before coming to the event.
Andrew Pearson would do one better than his second place in Round 1 by beating the charging Aaron Gorton and winning Round 2 in Amateur class. Nathan Beasleigh would wind up third, with Nathan Ranson in fourth after beating Jesse Scott in their dramatic battle.
And despite Matt Russell's best efforts, Brendan 'Bogga' O'Grady would win in the Pro class. Cam Marton would finish third after a long night fixing his car, and Rob Whyte would finish fourth, as the first guest driver for Keep it Reet's Battle Royale.
One extra presentation was that of the Thrash Kings award, in memory of drifter Chris DeJager who passed away in 2020. John Dreyer, who lent his infamous Bluebird to help out Jhay Hansen, whilst assisting many others in prepping their cars during the event, would be presented this award for displaying the best of drift community spirit.
With the past two years of pandemic limiting the number of drift events being held, and also with tracks like Pheasantwood, Wakefield Park and now Winton closing their doors to a lot of drifting action, I can honestly say we are extremely lucky to have a team like Keep it Reet, who are so invested and work so hard in organising these events and making drifting cheap and off the streets. The Victorian and extended Australian drift community is in a really good place thanks to Keep it Reet, despite the recent setbacks.