On a warm Sunday morning 15 drivers brought their high performance vehicles to Barbagallo Raceway, Western Australia to give 100 lucky participants the opportunity to experience the thrills of going around a drifting course sideways, sometimes backwards or for some of the participants just at a fast pace.
In a previous article, I introduced Drift-Ability 2019 to DriveTribe. An event organised by the D1WA drifting crew in Western Australia aimed at getting special needs persons into drift cars to experience the thrills that most of us have the chance to enjoy without a second thought. The response to this years event was phenomenal with over 30 volunteers and 50 sponsors putting their hands up to offer their time, money or services on the day including the other media people such as J-Mac, Extreme Limit Films, DJ Laubscher, Blithe Photography and Joydrive who were all on hand to help capture this day in their own way be it on film, via commentary or photography.
Car line up at Drift-Ability 2019 / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
The participants had various special needs and for those requiring assistance getting in and out of the cars a team of volunteers led by Richard Ayres and carers were on hand to ensure they were all strapped in safely and securely. Each driver was then briefed by the carer about the limits they could push with each participant.
Some of the less hands on participants would get out of one vehicle and hop straight into another vehicle, slapping the side of the car as they cheered the driver on as they took off to the infield to do more laps. One cheeky lady demanded that driver David O'halloran give her a peck on the cheek before he was allowed to drive her around the circuit which he obliged her with once the camera disappeared.
David O'halloran and one of his passengers / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
Usually when you speak to a drift driver after an event, the amount of tyres and fuel used is always mentioned and how much it cost. However Daniel Silvestro put it into perspective with his post event summary where he said "Absolutely awesome day 10 tyres, 65 litres of fuel and 1000’s of smiles doesn’t get better than that!".
Those "1000's of smiles" didn't just come from the participants. Smiles could be seen on the volunteers, carers and drivers faces all day with the participants enthusiasm infectious. The event was visited by some of the drivers and marshals participating in main track activities that day as well and not one of them left without a smile on their face either.
After a very short break where the drivers and volunteers devoured some pizzas, the participants were all eagerly lining up waiting for their turn.
Daniel Silvestro "Absolutely awesome day 10 tyres, 65 litres of fuel and 1000’s of smiles doesn’t get better than that!" / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
The smiles and enthusiasm didn't diminish as the day went on with a fresh group heading to the waiting area, the volunteers and drivers reset and were ready to continue on until everyone had been on a ride or three.
One older gentleman when he was helped out of the car and back into his chair had the biggest grin on his face and produced probably one of the best moments of the day when he suddenly got a very serious look on his face, pursed his lips and yelled "F**K YEH!" and returned to his massive grin. Before that moment I hadn't heard him say much at all.
The biggest grin, the loudest "F**K YEH" of the day. / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
Another young man could be heard cheering on his driver Jamie Worroll all the way from the other side of the pit area and he jumped out of the car at the end and couldn't contain his excitement or enthusiasm for the car and Jamie telling everyone that would stop and listen how much he loved Jamie's car.
Jamie Worroll and his new #1 Fan / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
As the day wrapped up, the opportunity was given to the carers and volunteers to jump into the cars and enjoy some hot laps with the drivers also being able to push their cars just that little bit harder and start to do drift trains and closer driving than they were able to during the day. After such a long day you'd expect that the tired, weary faces would be out but still the smiles were all there. A true testament to what an amazing day it was.
Hats off to the main organiser behind the event Matthew Jenkins who put countless hours of effort before, during and now after the event, getting the team together to run the event so smoothly.