For the last couple of years I had heard of an event by the sea where drifters come together and burn tyres by the beach. When I received an invite to get out to South Australia and check out the Shockworks Bayside Matsuri over the October long weekend I did not hesitate.
This invite included a road trip with Mike Lake a relatively new driver to the drift scene in Victoria and Matthew Choong the local drift club president. How could i say no? Last minute repairs were still being done to the car just before it was to go on the trailer for the long trip to the event.
Everything was going according to plan except the fact that the starter motor, which was only held in with one bolt, decided to free itself when the car was restarted just as the car was being loaded onto the trailer. This then caused a difficult 3 hour fix that none of us were expecting. Once fixed we were on the road and within no time we had arrived in the sleepy town of Mount Gambier.
The first thing that shocked me was exactly how close the event was to the beach!
Held at Surfers Way, Port MacDonnell in South Australia this small beach access road had been turned into a makeshift drift track!
So how did Bayside Drift start?
Bayside Drift started when a local rally club ran a hillclimb on the same bit of road. In April 2015
Ben Collins arrived in his freshly tuned S13 and burnt tyres all day along the winding street course by the bay.
The same event rolled around in 2016 and he did the same thing! Unfortunately this time it didn’t go down so well.. He was asked to leave by one of the stewards for not driving in the spirit of the event.
Fast forward to 2017; when it came time to SEAC running their Twin Peaks Hillclimb for the third time, Ben’s drift club (South East Motorsport Alliance) were offered the opportunity to piggy back alongside their event. Sharing infrastructure, Ben ran on Saturday and they ran on Sunday.
The first event attracted roughly 25 entries from SA and Victoria and was held on one day. Same again early in 2018 Ben piggybacked off SEACs event again but was shunted to a Friday and had trouble filling a field due to the long drive between Adelaide and Melbourne. Hard to justify 10 hours of travel for only a days driving.
This was the first event solely run at Surfers Way, Port MacDonnel by South East Motorsport Alliance as a stand alone event. With only 50 spots available the event sold out very quickly. The field was a mix of drivers from Victoria and South Australia.
Among the list of drivers attending included some very well know and unknown drivers. Names like Simon Michelmore and Luke Broadbent. Both of these drivers have had years of experience and seat time in many high level drift competitions.
The mix of drivers made for some interesting driving, the less confident drivers soon became much better with experienced drivers chasing them down the track and pushing their limits. Mike Lakes BMW was on song all weekend, it didn’t miss a beat. Standing from the sidelines I watched his driving steadily improve as he tandemed with the large variety of drivers.
A surprise attendee was the amazingly unique rx7 from Cliff Clayson sporting a head turning body kit from BN-sports. Its is the very car that is being lent to Takahiro Immamura or otherwise known as the ‘Drift Samurai’ to compete in the World Time Attack International Drift Cup.
With WTAC only a week away is was a great chance for Cliff to give the car a final shakedown before the big event. Recently Cliff had the TTi GTO 6 speed sequential gearbox out of the car, and it was given a thorough going over by NEAT Gearboxes in Adelaide where It had some special treatment ready for WTAC. Along with that Cliff recently added some new MEGAN Racing Australia rear adjustable control and toe arms.
This new design allows for a lot more adjustment over the previous set up, and is far superior in strength with the gusseted bolt thru toe arm connection to the control arm.
We asked Cliff if he was excited to see his car driven by the ‘Drift Samurai’ – “I am so excited, this is a dream come true for myself and the whole team. Personally it’s such an honour to hand the Crazydog Rotorsports Rx7 leash to ‘Drift Samurai’. He has been a long time drift hero of mine, since I started watching the Japanese drift tengoku DVDs back in 2002.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate to meet Samurai on many occasions such as Tokyo Autosalon and D1GP events. I admire his aggressive driving style and individuality. I never would have dreamt anything this cool could possibly happen. A big thank you to Michael Ginn (Dorijunkie Imports) & BN Sports for making this vision a reality”.
Cliff told me that “testing it was insane! Everything is working perfectly”. The team at Garage 7 and Cliff spent the Friday doing the final checks and Saturday morning was spent with the Garage 7 tuner – Declan Walsh.
He went over the computer and shift cut parameters in time for Bayside event. Cliff did however damage the centre bearing cage on the right rear axle part way thru the day. They suspect this was due to damage which had occurred prior to the event. So upon his return to Adelaide, a spare axle will be installed ready for WTAC.
I then asked Cliff “Did you always have this BN kit in mind for the car?”
Cliff: “When I originally set out building this Rx7 back in 2008, I had an idea in my mind to make it as aggressive as possible, both mechanically and in its appearance. Over the past 10 years it has slowly evolved. The first form was completed back in 2015 which we campaigned thru till the end of 2016. It was around this time that I wanted to change the look. With the unveiling of the BN SPORTS BLS FD3S Rx7 at the 2017 Tokyo Autosalon, I knew that this kit would complete it.
With help from Michael Ginn (Dorijunkie) we were able to make this final transformation a reality. I never dreamed it could be this CRAZY but with the help of many amazing people the end result has far exceeded my expectations and I couldn’t be happier”.
I was shocked that Cliff was about to attempt this track considering how technical it is. One mistake and he could be going for a swim. Lucky Cliff was not running the car ‘balls to the wall’ rather just lightly testing the car under load to weed out any weak points before it was about to compete.
Another special guest on the day was Stewy Byrant a rather special driver who has been invited to drift all over the world because of his unique style. If you like sparks and crazy driving check out his promo reel, you will not regret it! ( https://youtu.be/4Qgk16h3uVI )
Stewy is that well respected in the drift scene that he was selected to design the brand new drift track at Taliem Bend!
With his years of experience and depth of knowledge he has even built specialised steering systems, suspension components and other wizardry to help drifters achieve more lock with greater adjustability than anything else on the market. Acostal Ms Dev is some serious gear.
Although Stewy was not driving on the day he did grab a few passenger rides with his mates. One particular ride ended in a serious hit to Simon Michelmore’s car that basically caved in his left rear wheel! Thankfully no one was hurt and the safety crew was there within seconds to render assistance.
(video of crash>facebook.com/inertiams)
The most impressive thing about this track layout is that the drivers get to experience two tracks in one. What do I mean by that? The drivers have to approach each corner differently depending on the direction of the track. The drivers all line up at a dummy grid on top of the hill and once that light goes green they drift their way to the bottom and line up again for the return run to the top.
Over the two days the drifters got more acquainted with the track and were able to form some nice drift trains in front of the small crowd that traveled a fair distance to see the special event. This new style of drift street event is a great mix between illegal streeting and a general drift event at a track.
Yet this one is completely legal with no flashing lights in sight. This could potentially breed a new type of touge competition in the future on public roads around Australia! Maybe I’m dreaming.. but at least it’s a new step in the right direction for the drift community with the limited amount of tracks that allow drifting in Australia.
Thanks for reading