Most of us wouldn't think too much about the decision to jump into a drift car, or any other car for that matter, at a race track and heading out for some hot laps to experience the adrenaline rush at the hands of experienced drivers, however for a portion of the world they may never get to experience this for various reasons.
Started in 2018 by the then D1WA president Andrew Murphy, Drift-Ability was formed to allow special needs persons 16 to 25 years old to get strapped into the passenger seat of high performance drift cars and get taken for hot laps with an experienced drifter. Andrew was inspired to get the event off the ground by his relative Elijah who has special needs and may never get to experience something like this.
Andrew Murphy receiving a thank you from the Ability Centre for raising $1,833 for the centre in addition to the drifting event. / PHOTO: Supplied by Drift-Ability
In 2018, the event had 65 registered attendees who got to experience their hot laps and were not just restricted to the able bodied with many attendees being wheelchair bound. With the event organisation being handed over to the current D1WA committee, Matthew Jenkins, who I caught up with to chat about the event, has mentioned they hope to be able to double the amount of registrations this year to bring more smiles to the faces of these young people plus they have also opened up the age range with anyone aged 16 years or over being able to participate.
Drift-Ability 2018 participant / PHOTO: Nathan Sixmith Photography
Drift-Ability relies heavily on sponsors, volunteers and donations to run the event. Major sponsors such as Barbagallo Raceway, Racers QLD, Sword Recruitment and D1WA ensure the costs are kept down. Barbagallo Raceway donates the use of the facilities for the day as part of their sponsorship.
As for volunteers, Matthew Jenkins has said that they are taking any disabled person out, whether they are suffering from a psychological related illness through to not being able to move any of their limbs, they'll take them out. With this in mind, they need as many volunteers on deck to help out as possible with any professional carers who can volunteer their time being asked to get in contact with them through their Facebook page.
2018 Volunteers & Carers / PHOTO: Nathan Sixmith Photography
And what if you can't get down there on the day to help out? Or just can't help for whatever reason? "Come down to the event and spectate" Matthew says, "enjoy seeing the huge smiles and heart warming atmosphere of the event."
Smiles all round during the hot laps / PHOTO: Nathan Sixmith Photography
Besides getting the experience of the drift laps, Drift-Ability also raises money for the Ability Centre with all profits going back to the centre, so the more money raised prior to the event, the more money ends up at the centre.
As for the drivers this year? 27 drivers have so far put up their hand to volunteer their time, fuel and rubber to make this event happen. It reads as a who's who of the West Australian drifting scene with new comers and veterans alike taking place.
2019 Drivers so far: Matt Jenkins, DJ Laubscher, Matt Hawker, Andrew Cahill, Kelli Grey, Jarryd Zeidas, Will Maycock, Dave O'Halloran, Robert Coleman, Brendan Cullen, Daniel Silvestro, Liam Gregor, Mitch Larner, Ben Lugg, Jamie Worroll, Regan Curtis, Darren Hort, Nick Owen, Damien McBride, Ethan Faithful, Luke Veersma, Sarah Holland, Greg Salvia, Chris Goode, Russ Thomas, Ben Lathwell, Adam Miles.
Special thanks to Nathan Sixmith Photography for the use of the 2018 photos.