Behind the Sport - Jimmy Russo
"Drift is Life" pretty much sums up Jimmy Russo
For someone that spends a lot of time at drifting events, he's someone that doesn't spend a lot of time competing at them. In fact, he's only ever really competed once which is a fact that would astonish some people who don't know Jimmy well. Heck, I even thought he was a seasoned competitor when I first met him.
What originally started out as a "Inside the Helmet" turned into a very different "Behind the Sport". In true style of talking with Jimmy, the standard style was thrown out the window and instead a much different version of the Behind the Sport series is presented.
When speaking with Jimmy, I asked the usual questions about competing in motorsport and he said he really isn't keen to compete. "I'm enjoying developing my skills and just having fun with the boys to worry about that!"
Jimmy Russo at Powercruise 78, Barbagallo Raceway | PHOTO: BeardySnaps
"I'm just happy to drive wherever I can. I do however really enjoy volunteering at the track." He tells me in between taking out some passengers at a recent Drift School WA event, "I'm an official for D1WA, demo driver for Drift School WA and I'm just about to start training new drivers on the infield at Barbagallo Raceway for DriftWest. Man I'm happy as long as everyone is smiling and having fun!"
Watching passenger after passenger get out of his car you'd think that he had some sort of happy gas in the car, they enter nervous and exit with the biggest grins on their faces you can imagine. It seems wrong to interrupt any of his passengers and ask them about their rides but the faces say it all.
When asked about who is an inspiration to him in motorsport, his face turns almost serious for a minute and he says "Everyone in drifting and that is what makes this sport great. Everyone is always willing to land a hand or give some advice. I love the family that comes with drifting and honestly its this family that keeps me wanting to get better. As for the pro level guys, Mad Mike stands out for me he's always pushing the sport and creating unique events and lets be honest, who doesn't like a quad rotor on song?" he chuckles.
Jimmy Russo at Powercruise 78 giving some passenger rides sideways around Barbagallo Raceway / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
Its a quiet lull in the days activities and I turn my questions towards the support team, the people behind Jimmy and his plans for the future. "My #1 sponsor and crew person is my wife Jackie. She's amazing! Without her I couldn't do what I do. DIY Garage in Malaga supply me some cheap tyres, Higher Service Transport for getting me to the track and back, Ken Leong and all the crew at Drift School WA for getting myself and other new people into the sport!"
Switching to the future, Jimmy again reiterates his love of keeping things fun "I may do some comps in 2020 for a laugh, but I really want to keep it fun. I'm becoming more and more involved in the clubs so I'm just happy to help with progressing the sport and bringing in some new faces."
Jimmy Russo officiating at a D1WA event in 2019 / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
So as for his best and worst moments?
His best moment "Progressing from complete newbie at Drift School WA to being invited to be a demo / hot lap driver!"
His worst moment "Fitting my current body kit to my car! Just jokes, I don't really have one. If I'm in a car or near a car I just can't have a bad day. Things break, sometimes you crash, but that is all part of the sport I love."
As we wrap it up and I let him get back to what he loves doing most, he jumps in his car and speeds off towards the nearest corner, with an almost Jimmy Russo trademark you can hear from the car a very distinct "YEWWWWWWWW!" followed by some maniacal laughing.
Unfortunately after Powercruise related car damage, which seems to be a common thing, Jimmy's driving is currently on hold, but in true Jimmy form he's still out there helping out with Drift School WA, DriftWest training and he will also be down at Drift-Ability 2019 lending a hand for some very special young adults.
A true character of the Drifting scene in Western Australia, Jimmy Russo with DJ Laubscher / PHOTO: BeardySnaps