Halfway Hangs 2016

Halfway Hangs was filled with a ridiculous amount of rain, awesome people and plenty of tandem runs at Raleigh. Definitely one of the best events I’ve driven.

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Well, unfortunately the S13 was a dead end because of the intermittent wiring issues. I was really disappointed after putting weeks of work into it, but on the other hand I was glad I still had the chance to drive.

It’s a rare occasion when I say this, but sometimes owning multiple drift cars is great.

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I packed all the tools, spare tyres and loaded the 180sx onto the trailer.

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I hadn’t driven this car for a while, things are definitely different compared to how the S13 feels. The 180sx had never failed me when it came to smooth, consistent driving which is something relatively unheard of in drift cars. It has definitely been through some mechanical failures over the years, but when it works, it works really well.

By the time I was set to go, it was almost 11pm. I grabbed a drink, some snacks and started the 1,500km(900 miles) journey.

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I had to stop in Sydney to pick up Jasmine, grab some food then keep going north to the resort.

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Fuel pit stop about 3am, only a few hours down.

Late breakfast in Goulburn, about 3 hours out of Sydney. Anybody who has been to Goulburn will know the bakery next to the big ram makes awesome food. Every time I have been past, even on the way home from Queensland Matsuri, I’ve stopped for a feed.

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Almost 700km(450miles) down, time for the final stint!

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I got into Sydney about 2pm and everything was going great. I had to get some fuel just before leaving for Valla, so I did. The next 5 minutes went a lot worse than expected.

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Leaving the servo, I tagged the gutter and destroyed a trailer tyre. Happiness turned to disappointment pretty quick, I almost made it!

Called in some help from the internet wife, 1 hour later and it was ready to go again.

Another 5 minutes down the road, more delays.

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“Is this a street car”.

“Your tow vehicle is scrubbing” (it wasn’t).

I know cops are the most hated people on earth, but these guys actually weren’t too bad. The guy who spoke to me was polite and asked the normal questions. I got pulled over because the trailer had a home made license plate (a friend borrowed the trailer a few days earlier and lost the original somewhere). We spoke for a little bit, they didn’t fine me or give me any warnings, just said when I get back home I need to get a new plate obviously.

No defects, no problems.

Back on the way.

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Stopped for some food at Jasmine’s place, I got some rest for a bit, then we left for Valla.

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Halfway from Sydney to Coffs Harbour, one last stop for fuel.

And blog photos.

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The final hours of the road trip were a nightmare. It started pouring down pretty heavily which made it extremely difficult to see the road, plus the fact there was roadworks the whole way didn’t help.

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Finally got to Valla right on midnight, 25 hours after leaving! We were greeted by drunk friends and zombie people walking around after what looked like a crazy party.

Really bummed I missed out on the Thursday hangs, but there was still another 3 days to look forward to. Parked the cars, said hello to a couple people then went to bed after what felt like an eternity.

7am Friday morning I was one of the very few people awake, probably the only person alive after the Thursday night party.

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I grabbed a bacon & egg roll from the woolshed and went to start unloading my car.

I’m glad I didn’t take a massive amount of spare tyres for this trip, didn’t even go through the pair that were on the car from the last event.

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Everything unloaded just as the rain started to clear and the sun came out. The final thing on the prep checklist was change the oil which is a fairly easy job, so I wasn’t too worried about doing it straight away.

Parked the car for a bit and went to see everybody, so many awesome cars and nice people around.

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Back in the old office for the weekend, something that hasn’t changed since early 2013. Everything in the interior works great and I love how it looks. Another thing I feel I need to put more time into with the S13.

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Friday is the hard park day where everyone can check out the cars before they get ruined at the track. The show didn’t start until late morning so I figured I should probably change the oil while I had time.

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I was speaking to a group of guys from Adelaide who drove up for the event when I was working on the car. Apparently a new track down there is being built and will have a dedicated drifting setup which is set to be finished at the start of 2017. Definitely something I’d check out if I can afford to get over and drive!

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Fresh oil, quick wash, ready for a hard park session.

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Photos in film make my car look red, no idea why. Nigel would be proud.

Parked up next to Bowlzy, this was the first of many photos together.

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I spent most of the afternoon checking out the cars and catching up with friends. The event was packed with people from Queensland, many of whom drove Matsuri last year. There was a few guys from Sydney, one from Adelaide (solid effort making the trip Elliot!) and me from Melbourne. Halfway Hangs is growing at an awesome rate!

After all the hangs and talking with friends I went for a drive to the far end of the resort to get some photos of the car. Just in case anything happened on the next day, I wanted some clean shots of when it looked amazing.

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Got overrun by everyone pretty quickly! Stef decided to take Michael’s car for a drive and smash the front bar on another car. Good job dude.

I went to check out the other side of the resort park while Dylan and friends were fitting new aero parts.

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The resort park residents weren’t too happy with me driving around so thought I should probably load up for Saturday.

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Driving onto the concrete patch I got stuck, so had to employ help from everybody to get off.

Took heaps of us to move it. Sorry dudes.

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Now this, is what makes Halfway Hangs so good. The people.

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Seeing plenty of cool cars is great, but spending a weekend with good friends is what I look forward to at an event. I rarely see most of these guys because of how far away I live. Which admittedly is a bit unfortunate, but it makes it more enjoyable when you have heaps of things to catch up on.

About 5 minutes after this photo, everybody thought it was a great idea for a trailer burnout.

Sorry Zak.

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Got everything loaded and ready to drive the next morning and spent the rest of the night eating and partying with people. Rain was on and off just like the previous year, ended up heading to bed just after 11pm.

Woke up early, packed the camera’s and left the resort to get some breakfast.

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There is a little cafe at the exit of the resort which has amazing food! It has a pretty sweet view as well.

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Bacon, egg, turkish bread, best way to start a drift day. Wanted to get a second round but had to leave for the track. Went back the next morning for it!

Do you remember reading my recap from last years Halfway Hangs? How I spoke about this one road that lead to the track? And how it was absolutely garbage?

Welcome back to hell.

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It wasn’t as bad this year because I was driving the Stagea, but that didn’t mean it was comfortable to drive through. Potholes, cracks, uneven tar, tree branches and massive puddles, you won’t find more of a nightmare anywhere. Except maybe that road I had to take on my way to Queensland Matsuri in 2013. Ironically, both roads are in NSW.

20 minutes of 30km/h later and we were finally at the track.

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Super excited to get the car off and have some fun.

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Just under a year since I drove this car, time to see if I still had some driving skill.

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I watched a few guys do some laps before heading out, the owner of the track was checking noise levels at the start and my car is relatively loud so I didn’t want to head out first and get kicked off.

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Drift cars, parking. I do a lot of this apparently.

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Fact: I’m not actually short, Bowlzy is just really tall.

First run was me getting an idea of apex points and where to change into 3rd gear, car felt like it was running perfect.

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Second run was amazing.

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Started good.

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Got better.

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And better…

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..and finished with a solid run up the hill.

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My love for this car was at an all time high.

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And this was only the second lap, there was still a full day of driving ahead!

Not long after those first couple runs in the dry, the rain started to come back, which changed the track completely.

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I’m always confident when I have to drive in the wet, not sure why, but I feel it brings on more of a challenge. Each time I’ve driven in the wet there is always something new I’ve tried to do.

Last year I really wanted to work on using the hand brake less and the foot brake more. Early on I wanted to get a feel for the track, so I didn’t change my driving style too much.

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Towards lunch time I started working on a couple things.

First thing to experiment with was throwing the car a little harder. Raleigh has a couple of hairpins at the beginning followed by a big hill that flows into an S bend. It was difficult to get any grip going up the hill, but with as much speed as possible I wanted to throw the car from as far back as I could.

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I was relying on a bit of hand brake, but mostly just a good flick.

A lot of the morning runs were spent working on the entries and doing tandem runs with friends, which were awesome.

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Like I said before, plenty of photos with Bowlzy.

Lunch was peanut butter on rolls, which melted in the Stagea over the course of the morning.

Wasn’t impressed.

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Parked with Smert and Kodi and took some blog photos.

Then went out driving again.

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I continued working on the morning experiment and started to rely on the hand brake a lot less which was good.

Somehow at some point, my skirt mounting points had broken and the driver side was hanging off. Not sure how because I hadn’t hit anything!

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Did some runs with Tom which were awesome fun!

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The rain stopped for a couple runs and the track started to dry. We had a really good run going up the hill, but hit a super wet patch at the entry to the S bend and our grip levels went from 100 to 0 real quick.

My bad.

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Everything was good, back to driving.

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Did some fun runs with the entrepreneur himself, Mr. Peck.

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Skirt was dragging, the car was covered in mud, I was soaking wet, but wasn’t even mad, this was the most fun I’d had in ages.

Went for a few final runs with Tim.

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This car is gone now, new 2JZ S13 coming up in 2016!

Everybody finished the day with burnouts into the pits and smiles all round.

Halfway Hangs 2016 was done.

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I was over the moon with how my car went. No problems, no leaks, no weird noises and most importantly, it drove onto the trailer at the end of the day.

Couldn’t have asked for a better performance from this thing.

Saturday night everybody loaded up and headed back to the resort for one more night of parties and hangs.

Fast forward to Sunday morning, the drive home.

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I had about 16 hours worth of road trip ahead.

Said goodbye to all the mangs, checked out all the cars for one last time and headed out. It’s a bit sad to think I won’t see many of these guys for another 6 months or so.

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Something that doesn’t get mentioned much is the Stagea. This car has been neglected the most out of everything I own and yet it has done the most work! I have told myself this year that I am going to spend more time working on it and keeping it clean. There is a bunch of things I need to fix which I’ve been putting off for way too long and so many little things that I want to experiment with to improve it’s look.

Believe it or not, this car has towed my cars more than 40,000km(25,000miles) in the time that I’ve owned it and has only let me down once or twice. I’d say that’s a pretty solid record for a car that so many people say isn’t suitable for towing.

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Almost in Sydney, started getting pretty keen for dinner. I took Jasmine home, got a bit of sleep for a few hours, then started the final stint back to Melbourne.

Remember when I wrote about the drive to Queensland Matsuri? And how it was pretty average doing a road trip alone? I was right. Road trips with friends will always be more fun than doing it alone.

The final trip home was pretty average. It was hot, felt a lot longer than the drive up and I hit Melbourne right in the middle of peak hour.

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But, after a lot of driving, heaps of mud, heaps of rain, noisy cars, plenty of drifting, 5 tanks of fuel and non stop good tunes, I had made it back home.

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I was so tired I basically passed out on the sofa. The next morning was my usual day off so I unpacked all the crap and washed the car, getting it ready to go away again.

Raleigh mud is about as bad as Winton Dirt, once you get it, you have it for life.

For the most part though, the car was clean and ready for a rest.

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So, the car that started everything for me had survived it’s 25th event.

It has been through a heap of mechanical changes and different looks but I love where it’s at right now. If I could transfer some of the love from this car to the S13, I would, because I don’t feel the same way about that thing. I enjoy the S13 a lot and I am proud of what I achieved with it, but the car never really got the same love that this car has had over the years.

There are still some small things I want to touch up with the 180sx, but nothing is groundbreaking. A few minor mechanical add ons and some bits to maintain it’s power plant is all it needs. For now it lives under a car cover in the shed and gets started every second weekend.

Despite what people think, I will never forget this car. To me, it’s more like a trophy that I stare at every now and then and admire it’s achievements.

CA Powered is back in retirement until I need it again.

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