What makes a great drift layout? Sweeping bends and sharp hairpins. It should include lengths of track that allow for massive sends yet also force drivers to feather all three pedals with slower sections of asphalt. Clipping points should allow for smooth transitions whilst letting the chase car get as close to the lead car as possible. Both driver skill and mechanical components should be pushed to their maximum exertion, and both should be rewarded for being able to balance on that fine line.
The third round of Keep it Reet's inaugural Battle Royale championship saw the introduction of a brand new layout. Dubbed the 'DT Layout', it had an exciting collection of transitions and allowed the drivers to truly push the limits and go full send.
The events action would begin in typical fashion with 'Friday Night Drifts', allowing both competitors and amateur drifters to get a taste of the thrilling brand new layout.
Drivers would gather speed down the National Circuit main straight in the reverse direction, before flicking the rear towards the long wall at impressive speeds.
Within the blink of an eye, the machines would be off the wall and through the first left hander. With a sudden change in direction, the car's momentum would be directed through the short right hand sweeper before the final section of the track.
Getting the cars slowed down enough to still aim the rear as close to the clipping points as possible made the sharp final hairpin most tricky.
Keep it Reet would bring along D1NZ competitor Ben Jenkins as Round 3's guest driver to come tackle the new layout, and would drive their pink R32 Sedan. A few interstate drivers would also flock to Calder Park including Ben Toyer, Jason Heydon and finally Matty Hill in his fresh 900hp S15 Silvia that he debuted at WTAC.
Early on, it became obvious that drivers would not only have to battle the new challenges of getting used to a new layout, but also reliability gremlins too. Round 1 winner and Amatuer championship contender Jesse Scott would destroy a gearbox during the Friday Night action, taking him out of contention for Saturday's battles. Shane Crowther would also suffer mechanical issues early in the competition.
Aaron Gorton looked to continue his strong form from Round 2, but unfortunately would be knocked out thanks to a blown differential despite a consistent first two battles. Mike Lake would also make a costly error when he broke an axle during his arm up lap. Without enough time to fix it, he was out too.
Whilst some faltered and were delt bad luck, the cream of the competition rose to the top. Aleks Kantarovski drove solid all day and night in the 2JZ powered Speedtek S15, as Jay Hansen showed he only needed 195 sized tyres to be able to run with the high horsepower competition.
In the amateur class, Daniel Ridley would win four straight battles, landing him with a ticket straight to the final battle. After a third place finish in the previous round, Nathan Beasleigh would continue on his fine form, defeating championship leader Andrew Pearson. And after loosing his first battle, Matt McCrudden would knock out rookie Anthony Carrio. Carrio Would finish fifth in his turbocharged and LS swapped 180sx, a satisfying result for his first drift competition.
Nathan Beasleigh would have to settle for third again, as Matt McCrudden progressed to the final battle in his Toyota Cressida. However, after two hotly contested battles against Daniel Ridley, it would end in a broken tie-rod for McCrudden.
However, the judges would deem Daniel Ridley to be at fault, giving Matt McCrudden his maiden victory.
In the Pro category, it would be Matt Russell that would win four battles in a row to advance straight to the final. Aleks Kantarovski would defeat Cam Marton, who was nursing a cracked block in his Skyline to advance into the top three. Third however would be as far as he would go, as Brendan 'Bogga' O'Grady stuck on his door, grabing the chance to face Matt Russell in the finals.
It would be a dose of deja vu, as just like the previous round, Matt Russell in his SR20 powered AE86 and 'Bogga' in the Zoo Performance 180SX would battle it out for supremacy.
After another three close back-to-back battles against these two, Goliath would prevail. Brendan O'Grady would nab his second win in a row and the championship lead, with Russell coming up just short yet again. Cam Marton would finish fourth as New Zealander Ben Jenkins finished fifth.
With the winnings given out and the champagne sprayed, it was time to burn any excess rubber with a celebratory smoke show.
With three rounds down and two to go in the first Battle Royale championship, the standings are as close as ever. Drivers will be looking to grab as many points as possible to have a chance in November in claiming the title. And if what we've seen so far is anything to go by, it will be down to the wire till the final battle.