Oliver’s Birthday Bash 2016

Sorry for the lack of updates, I have had a serious lack of motivation to write lately. But aside from that, last month I had a pretty awesome birthday party! A weekend surrounded by good friends, drift cars and plenty of fun.

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Since I was about 18 or 19, I’ve never really done anything special for my birthday. The past few years it has just felt like another day. Maybe it’s because I’m not the partying type or just because I don’t see the amazing idea of getting older.

2016 was going to be a little different though.

Towards the end of February a friend asked me what I was doing for my birthday this year and as usual I said I had no plans, because I honestly didn’t have anything on my mind! Like I said, I’ve never been the party type. But maybe I should think about what I could do to celebrate. Maybe take a weekend away somewhere? Wouldn’t help with money saving but it would be pretty fun. What else was awesome fun and didn’t take too much out of the finances? How about organising a private drift day and inviting a bunch of close friends?

That was basically it.

Now, if you are in Victoria (Australia) you will know how limited we are to hire out race tracks. The main ones that are available are either way too expensive or aren’t very nice to drive. This is where the fun part came in. I heard about a track a few hours away that had run a few drift tests but hadn’t run a full day before. I organised a bunch of things and spoke to the owners about the possibility of setting something up and long story short, I had scored the track for a full day!

Plans went from doing nothing to hosting a drift day with 20 friends! There wasn’t much notice before the event so I threw it all together hoping things would work out. After preparing the last few details for the event and accommodation for everyone, I finally got some time to go over my toy for the event.

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It was an easy decision on which car to take. The S13 had no driveline, no ecu and no wiring, while the 180sx was clean and ready to go. I had to touch up the engine bay a little, throw on some new cooler clamps, refit the battery and give it some fresh oil.

A couple of weeks before the event I headed up to the track with a few friends to check it out and meet the owners.

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Wilby Park is just south of the NSW-VIC border and in the middle of nowhere. Apparently it’s been around for a number of years, but they had always kept it to local racing and not openly advertised.

The setup looked pretty impressive and likely to be good fun to drive. After confirming everything with the owners the day was set for April 23rd, the weekend after my birthday. I had organised a solid handful of drivers with some really cool cars.

Fast forward to friday the 22nd. I had work until 3pm then had to head home and load up everything. I booked out accommodation at a lake side resort for friday and saturday night. Unlucky for me I was going to be the last one to arrive.

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I packed my tools, wheels and jerry cans into the boot and prepared to load it onto the trailer.

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Each time I look at this car, wether it be in photos or in person, I feel like I enjoy it a little bit more. Everything is just so good.

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Also thinking it may need a few minor touch ups this year (I said this last year too). Nothing major, a few things just need some TLC. Maybe a new cooler and definitely a new sticker on the windscreen, it’s a bit beaten up.

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By 6pm I was 100% loaded and ready to go. I grabbed my bags for the weekend, took some photos even though it was super dark, checked over everything then headed off.

Quick stop for fuel before meeting up with the convoy.

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I met up with a few friends at Wallan BP before we hit the road for the last 2 hour stint. Most of the guys were already at the park having a good time while the last of us were still on the way up. We were on this one road heading towards the border for a good 30km’s(18miles) and it was completely dead. There was 5 of us and we might have seen 1 other car the whole time. It felt like we were driving along an abandoned road heading to nowhere, which by the way was actually pretty cool.

After heading through the local town, which was like a ghost town, we finally made it to the resort at 11pm. There was a bunch of people! Wasn’t expecting that many dudes to come up for the weekend. I said hi to everybody, checked to see who was here and spoke to a bunch of good dudes! Couldn’t wait for the drift day to start. Eventually everybody got to bed even though it was pretty late, I think I was up until 2am.

Saturday morning, time to head to the track.

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Stopped for a feed at the bakery in town, which had a population this time around.

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Got to the track nice and early, started setting things up and unloading the cars with everyone. Things were looking pretty rad so far.

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Once everyone had unloaded cars and signed in, we all lined up to check out the track for the first time. But first, Matty Russell had to do some standard Matty Russell things.

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Ladies and gentleman, your AE86 champion.

Back to the lineup..

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Everything was prepped and ready to go and the track looked like a bunch of fun. Prepare for a heap of GoPro screenshots!

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I think some guys were in 4th gear heading down the straight and into the first corner, I only tried it a few times but couldn’t hold the sweeper so had to run it in 3rd.

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The Primal MC guys came out to help me run the day in their freshly resprayed S13, still running some CA machinery!

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Unfortunately the oil pump decided to bail early on, which really sucks considering they worked flat out the week leading up to the event to get it all ready. Really hope these dudes can get the CA back and running well, I don’t want to be the only one running a solid CA in the future.

The second section after the sweeper was a heap of fun!

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I followed Paris in his black JZX100 a few laps and he was doing pretty sweet but this one didn’t turn out that great…

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Nope..

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Not going to end well.. (note far right of pic, destroyed front lip)

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“Hey dude your lip shattered into a million pieces.”

*Hangs head in shame*

The end of a pretty expensive WALD front lip.

But we kept driving and having a good time!

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Nigel (this guy) is one of the very few people I’ve followed since before I started. Everything he is about and the style he builds to is what makes grassroots drift cars great. I spoke to him prior to the event to see if he wanted to bring up the 180sx and maybe spark some love in the old car. Busy schedule aside, he loaded up and came for a drive. And brought up a few friends, Dean and Lee, who got some sweet photos and videos of everyone over the day.

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And finally after about 6 years, I had completed a personal goal, drive with THE original blog dude!

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Solid fanboy achievement right here.

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I felt like a kid getting a photo with his childhood hero. I’m probably embarrassing myself but I was seriously happy with this.

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After another 15 or 20 hard laps I was getting to the end of my first pair of tyres and I should have stopped but I was having way too much fun.

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I had two final laps with Denis before the tyres decided to let go, one belt exploded and missed his bonnet by a few inches..

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Shit.. My bad!

Kind of ended in tragedy for my rear quarter and side skirt, but I wasn’t mad, this was the best birthday I’d ever had!

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Everyone had a break for the BBQ lunch, cooked by the best dude around. If you need a hug or some love, see Choonga.

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Fresh pair of tyres and back to the track for some more runs with Jake, Ryan and Matty Russell.

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So, Jake’s car has an N/A SR20 and maybe 100kw? Ryan has probably 200kw and both were pulling away from me real quick. I drive my car on 245kw and I’m on 215/40 tyres but couldn’t seem to keep up with these guys! Ryan’s car makes a ridiculous amount of smoke for how much power it’s on and Jake’s car drives like a GTR powered go kart.

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Matt Russell just drives with his foot to the floor like a champ. David bet me $20 I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him.

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David you owe me $20.

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A few more hours of solid driving and plenty of good times with good people and the day was done. By 3pm everyone had either run out of tyres or run out of fuel to keep going. The track was open all day and there was so much time to go out driving it felt like the day would never end, pretty much exactly how I wanted it. Open track, good cars, good people, good hangs and plenty of driving.

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Everybody packed up, loaded up cars and chatted for a bit. A few guys were heading home that night because of work the next morning but most of us headed back to the resort park to get changed and head out for dinner.

I booked out the balcony at one of the big restaurants in town and everyone headed down for a feed and plenty of laughs. The best end to an already amazing weekend.

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Sunday morning. Most of the guys were either hungover from the night before or too tired to move from all the driving the day before. I walked around and saw everybody, said thanks for making the trip and bringing a good vibe to the weekend. If I ever do anything for my birthday again, this is going to be #1 on the list.

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Everybody headed off one by one and for once I had a short drive home. I’m used to the 12+ hour drives to Sydney or the 17+ hours to Coffs Harbour for Halfway Hangs and can’t forget the 25 hour drive to Brisbane for QLD Matsuri. This time it was only a 3 hour trek home, so I enjoyed every bit of it.

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I stopped for lunch with Bry, Jen and Andy who were part of the convoy up to the resort on friday night. They drove the cars up, went drifting all saturday and drove home sunday. I can’t imagine doing that in my car, I love the comfort of the Stagea too much.

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Early into the afternoon and I was home. Everything was unloaded and the car had survived another amazing event. It needs a new wheel bearing on the passenger rear and the engine bay needed a degrease after breathing a bit of oil, but overall it ran amazing. And for once I didn’t run over the lip!

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It has a few more scars to add to the list, but nothing life threatening. Ever since I built it in 2012, I can’t seem to permanently fault this car.

It’s been through it’s problems but things are just as good now as they were in 2012. I gave it a wash and put it back in its spot in the shed. Like I said before, I love this car more and more each time I drive it and every opportunity I get to drive it, I will take it.

This event was exactly how I wanted it to be. For me, it’s not about the hours of driving, it’s more about the people. The people are what make an event memorable for years and I loved every single person that made the trip to have a good time. Thanks everybody who came out, even if you just went to hang with friends, you all made the event amazing.

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As for the blog, I want to put more effort into consistent updates over the next few months because I haven’t updated at all since March. I will admit I have lost a lot of motivation for the other car since the problems with the wiring and ECU, but I am working 7 days a week and saving as much as I can to afford the rewire and get things happening again. The 180sx won’t ever need as much work as the S13 because it’s nowhere near as overkill. Unfortunately the S13 is in another league in terms of build direction, which means certain things are very expensive to fix and maintain.

I want to put some real thought into everything I do with the S13 rather than just throwing money at it, because those same thoughts are what has made the 180sx so good to own. If I can spend even half as much time with the S13 as I have with the 180sx, I’m sure I can get it working how I want it. I will do my best to get another post up in a few days with some updates on the S13 and what the plan is for the next few months.

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