I think it’s fair to say that GarageFuckHouse Street Legal was the best drifting event I’ve attended in years. Splitting up into 2 days rather than the 1 really made the event as a whole just kinda flow better.
Doing it like this meant that practice and Qualifying were on day 1, Battles the next. Any loose time after practice and Qualifying was turned into just an open track for everyone to get back out and drift more and the same was done for Sunday after all the battles had finished.
The section being ran was the BDC 2016 section. A pretty fast and aggressive section with a small change. Instead of the first and last clip being on the wall they were pretty much in the middle of the track. This was basically to allow the low powered cars a chance to actually make the full corner. It worked out well and provided a lot of close runs even in practice.
Being a 2 day event both groups of drivers had 2 hours of practice to start of with. A ridiculous amount of time to get used to the line and find your feet. Most people did 2-3 solo runs then got straight into battle practice.
So it came the time for qualifying, as well as the time for Freddie to do what Freddie does best and stuff it up the bank. Amazingly everything was perfect and he just went back out on track and threw down 2 solid runs netting a nice 5th place, A personal best qualifying position from himself.
Among everyone were 2 BDC drivers. Callum Marshall in the 1JZ powered E36 and Mark Gemmell in the monstrous v8 350z. These two are no stranger to my write ups.
No one would be surprised with them both qualifying in the top 5.
Top 32 provided some interesting battles right from the start. Nick Warburton all the way from the Isle of Man took 11th place in qualifying was going up against Craig MaCleod in the E46 compact. Craig has been featured a few times in the past here in his S14 but never in his compact.
I think that he actually drives the compact better than the S14 to some degree, That being said he has had issue with the S14 the past few times i’ve seen him. Nick put in a strong lead run but spun on his chase run just as the rain started to lash down. Unfortunate as Nicks car is pretty damn quick in the dry and hes a solid driver!
The best battle of the top 32 was between Keenan Van Gool in the JZX100 and Sam Smith in the S14. It’s always awesome to watch 2 properly cool Japanese cars do close battle. This lasted quite a while until the rain started again and Sam had major issues getting off the line. But Keenan being the absolute gentleman he is waited as much as he possibly could in the run up to clip 1. Unfortunately in the one more time battle Sam ran too deep on his lead run and flew up the bank. Thankfully the car was all good.
With the rain coming i was down near the start line and noticed that Freddie in the black S15 was up next. I thought to myself.. “Freddie’s up next, He is going to entry at dry speeds in the wet. He’s going up the bank and i have no time to get in a position to get it..” Sure enough, Freddie enters at mad speeds and fly’s mega high up the bank, this time actually doing some damage to the car which took him out of the top 32.
Next up in the battles was Taylor vs Willy. Taylor not wanting to get out done by his hero Freddie decided to try and match Freddie’s impressive height up the bank. But his exhaust dug into the bank and stopped him getting any height. Naturally Taylor was quite disappointed by this..
After a quick check over the car, Taylor got back out and put in a fairly solid chase run but straightening up and costing him any advantage he had gained in the first half of his chase run. Willy would put in a clean chase and put Taylor out of the top 32
Ross Colquhoongan came up against Stuart Adsley. Stuart is no stranger to competition and its unfortunate that Ross came up against Stuart in the top 32. This being Ross’ first time in battle and being up against Stuart who would beat Ross and go on to take down some huge cars later in the day.
That’s not to say Ross was a pushover.. Stuart’s chase driving all day had been pretty spot on but Ross himself did have a clean chase run against Stuart.
Speaking of which, Stuart’s top 16 battle would be against none other than BDC driver Mark Gemmell in the insanely fast 350z. But unbelievably Stuart was all over Mark on his chase run. When you put into consideration how much difference in power and grip levels there are between these cars it was very impressive to see him door to door with Mark.
It was still a slightly wet track but when mark changed into the chase position and he couldn’t keep up with the little E36 of Stuart. A very impressive battle to watch and thoroughly deserved win for Stuart.
Arni Stenning came up against Willy Armstrong in the top 16 but, These guys hadn’t really had a proper battle yet.. Arni went up against Freddie in the top 32 who stuffed it up the bank in the practice run and knocked himself out. So Arni hadn’t had a proper battle yet. Willy then went up against Taylor who copied Freddie but managed to at least continue the battle. Willy had a bit more battle time with a few runs with Taylor but Arni had only done a solo run so far in the battle stages. Arni is a very strong driver though so it wouldn’t make much difference for him. Willy had been driving strong himself qualifying right in the middle of the top 32 in 16th, Arni despite putting in some awesome to watch faint entry’s in qualifying only managed to get himself into 28th.
Yet another one of these close battles, not much between the drivers from lead to chase. But Arni manage to clinch the victory and move onto the top 8.
I feel like a deciding factor from my view point was the area as you came off the first 2 clips which are for most cars, foot to the mat flat out. Right after clip 2 you then came into the “Infield section” where you had to slow down a fair bit to make the corner. There was some battles where people were loosing ground in the chase position at this point but could gain it back transitioning back through the last 2-3 clips. It seemed like an area where people would be getting marked down lower for loosing that proximity in that small section of track. But i am not a judge! However such a significant gap being pulled in such a small section of track must have been a deciding factor in a few battles at least.
the 2nd BDC driver in the competition, Callum Marshall went up against Keenan Van Gool in the top 8. Keenan Had been driving the Chaser really well all day and the whole waiting up a bit for people so they could have close battles was awesome. I’m not so sure if that was intentionally on Keenan’s part but it didn’t seem like he was scared to chuck the car in hard and would rather wait a little to have a nice fair battle. Proper sportsmanship if that was the case!
Callum would put Keenan out of the top 16 but i reckon Keenan would have just been stoked to have had 2 really close battles. As his battle against Sam in the top 32 went one more time and so did his battle against Callum in the top 16
First battle of the top 4 would see Martin Bruce face of against Kev Kay. Martin used to drive an E36 touring the same colour as this Coupe but he wrote it off at SDC Round 2. However i feel like martin has a bit more pace in this car compared to the touring. Judging by the last few competitions I’ve seen him enter.
Kev is the aggressive driver he always is and it wasn’t going to be easy for Martin to win this. But with a strong chase run against Kev it came down to his lead run. Unbelievably Kev over rotated on transition from clip 4. I think in the 3 or so years I’ve seen Kev drive I’ve seen him spin maybe 4-5 times if that.
With that uncharacteristic move from Kev, Martin would move to the final and Kev would wait to see who he would face for 3rd place.
It was the time for Stuart to take on the 2nd and final BDC driver left in the competition. Hats off to Stuart, He put in some insane runs in every battle to this point and was against yet another big powerhouse of a car.
But like all of his battles so far he sat the car right on the door of everyone he came up against.
Switch around and just like his battle against Mark Gemmell, Yet again he pulled away in his lead run and went through to the finals.
Kev and Callum battled out for 3rd place and what a close battle it was.. Both drivers mirrored each others runs from what i could see but the judges had seen something that created an advantage and so a decision had been made.
Stuart battled Martin in the finals and yet again like every battle Stuart had led so far, he was pulling gap on his opponents. Martin is by no means a slow driver. The gap in the first run was more or less the same as the gaps Stuart was pulling on the 2 BDC drivers he had previously beaten.
Going into the second run and Stuart was just all over Martin. Sitting on his door the entire way through the run it really wasn’t hard to figure out who had won this battle..
In the battle for 3rd place Callum Marshall had managed to beat of Kev by as little as a 2 point scoring difference. He picked up a nice trophy made by Taylor Bloomfield.
Martin Bruce took 2nd place in the blue E36. Picking up the trophy made by the guys at Everly Garage.
Stuart nailed every single battle run on the day and took the more than deserved 1st place. It’s not so often you get people taking down 2 BDC drivers in a grassroots competition but when your driving as well as he was it’s no surprise that in the end he took the top spot. He also got a bad ass trophy made by Garage SR.
Not only did the guys at GarageFuckHouse put on the best event I’ve attend in terms of driving level and just general atmosphere, But the prizes on offer for these top 3 guys are just awesome. Custom making trophy’s from various car parts is a lot more interesting than your typical trophy’s.
Photos and words by Connor Mathieson