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Sending it Sideways

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From BMX to drifting, 25-year-old Jack Gibbons lives for the adrenaline rush and thrill of getting behind the wheel.

We’ve seen it in movies, we have seen teens chuck the odd sneaky burnout in the streets, but Newcastle’s Jack Gibbons has made drifting his lifestyle and his love for the sport is inspiring.

In Jack’s words, “Drifting is the art of controlling a car that is completely out of control and making it look beautiful…the rear wheels don’t have traction while the car is out sideways.”

“You control it by accelerating, clutch kicks, handbrake and footbrake while steering, most of the time you are doing multiple things at once to get the perfect line and angle.”

“The whole time there is lots of smoke and noise and in my eyes, this is the coolest thing you can do in a car and that’s why I love it,” Jack added.

Dabbling in drifting from the age of 17 to 22 on the streets (Jack assured me this was always in a safe environment) he then started doing track days and then jumped into competing.

Last year he grabbed a couple of podium finishes in the Coffs Harbour Speedflow drift series, despite engine dramas throughout the year. This year saw Jack take top place in round 1 and top 8 in round 2 and he can’t wait to keep the ball rolling for the rest of the year.

His next competition will be at Queensland Raceway on August 17, with two practice days in Goulburn and Eastern Creek in the coming weeks. 

“Competition is set out in battles of two cars at once, it’s not a race and 90% of the time you will come away with a damaged car, the joys of being a panel beater,” chuckled Jack.

“In one day drifting (providing the car holds up) I will go through 10-20 tyres and use about 2 tanks of E85 fuel and the tracks I go to are anywhere from Mount Gambier to Brisbane, the bigger power cars will chew through more,” he said.

“If I’m not drifting I’m travelling, fixing the car, changing tyres, buying car parts or celebrating a good event or drowning my sorrows after a bad one with a few beers,” added the car enthusiast.

Admitting to his competitive nature, Jack always aims to be the one who does the coolest run and goes the hardest, pushing the limits at every comp.

“It is extremely expensive and stressful getting to events but in my eyes totally worth it just for that couple of 30 seconds of doing something amazing on a track with good friends that share the same passion.”

The ultimate dream would be to travel the world drifting tracks with a car built by sponsors, but for now Jack says he just wants to get through the weekend without breaking anything.

If like me you have never seen a drifting competition in person, I suggest you head down to cheer Jack on in the upcoming months. He’s sure to put on a show.

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Driving

The Golden Holden

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The automotive brand Australians have grown to know and love has announced they will be discontinuing sales in Australia and New Zealand. Goodbye Holden!

General Motors (GM) have announced the exit of Holden, making the decision to retire from sales in Australia and New Zealand. 

GM International Operations Senior Vice President Julian Blissett said GM had taken the difficult decision after implementing and considering numerous options to maintain and turn around Holden operations. 

“Through its proud 160-year history, Holden has not only made cars, it has been a powerful driver of the industrialisation and advancement of Australia and New Zealand,” said Julian.

“After comprehensive assessment, we regret that we could not prioritize the investment required for Holden to be successful for the long term in Australia and New Zealand, over all other considerations we have globally.”

Only 24 hours since the shock announcement of the retirement of the Holden Brand for good, the value of Holdens have projected to have at least doubled. Chief Marketing Officer for Lloyd Auctions, Brett Mudie, said they were flooded with enquires through their Classic Car Division Nationwide. 

“It really shows that the market has responded immediately and is indicating that the market for Holden’s will sky- rocket as we have seen the interest soar in the last day,” said Brett.

“The value of Holden Classics has always been strong but this evidence that has come to us in the last day suggests that it is more than likely to create a booming market for them.” 

In the past Lloyds have broken multiple records across different model Holden Classics, where the very first Holden Dealer Team HT Monaro 57D also sold for $500,000 in the same year. 

“We actually anticipate that the HT Monaro 57D has doubled in value overnight being worth 7 figures just under 3 years later,” said Brett. 

You really never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. With people scrambling to get their hands on vehicles like the beloved ‘commy’, buyers better get in quick. 

GM Holden Interim Chairman and Managing Director Kristian Aquilina said that given the significance of Holden through its history, it was critical the company worked with all stakeholders to deliver a dignified and respectful wind-down.

“Today’s announcement will be felt deeply by the many people who love Holdens, drive Holdens and feel connected to our company which has been with us for 160 years and is almost ubiquitous in our lives,” said Kristian.

“Unfortunately, all the hard work and talent of the Holden family, the support of our parent company GM and the passion of our loyal supporters have not been enough to overcome our challenges.”

We’re going to miss you Holden! 

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Driving

Rising Star

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Racing is in the blood of 12-year-old Kobi Wright, starting his rookie season in the Junior Formula 500 class.

Passionate youngster Kobi Wright has been around the racetrack right from birth, watching his dad and champion sprintcar racer Andrew Wright tear up the track. The Muswellbrook local has already claimed a 3rdplace finish in the Feature at Cullen Bullen since his debut in September 2019. 

With 5 race meetings under his belt and another 10 to finish off the season, Kobi is a busy young star, also playing rugby league and touch football, and just starting year 7 at St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen.

Under the guidance of his dad Andrew, Kobi has jumped into racing head on with hopes of continuing the Wright Racing name. “My Dad has been my biggest role model,” said Kobi.

“He never gives up when things get tough especially in his racing and always supports me 100% in whatever I am doing.”

Andrew Wright has been racing for the past 25 years, winning title after title, multiple awards and leading the way for Kobi’s career. With a champion racer dad and coach like Andrew, the future looks bright for young Kobi.

Kobi aims to continue learning his race craft as he strives for more podium finishes throughout the remainder of the season. “Racing is really good and I am enjoying learning how to drive the car, but it can also be a bit nerve racking at times,” Kobi said.

“My Mum didn’t want me to race as she thought it was too dangerous. I broke my collarbone playing Rugby League, she changed her mind and said racing didn’t seem that dangerous, the next week there was a race car in the shed but I had to wait 8 weeks for my collarbone to heal before I could even sit in it!”

Kobi’s dad Andrew, mum Hollie, sister Abbie and pop Ray all travel with him to every race meeting to cheer on the racing young gun. With the support of his family Kobi said, “I aim to continue racing Junior Formula 500 until I turn 16 and I would then like to start racing Sprintcars and be competitive in Australia and America.”

With thanks to his sponsors KOAB Industries, Eliminator Race Wings, Osborn Transport and Scotty’s Fabrication and Paint, Kobi looks to finish of the season with a bang. No doubt you’ll see the Wright name continue to dominate the racing scene for years to come. 

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Superbike Star

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Born and bred in Nulkaba, NSW Matt Walters has been racing motorbikes since he was 5 and now races the 2019 Australian Superbike series.

At age 5 Matt’s parents took him down to the local minibike club at Kurri Kurri and after watching his friends race knew he wanted to do the same. 

Coming from a family of racing enthusiasts – his parents always around fast cars, bikes, boats, sprint cars or speedway bikes – jumping on the bike was natural to Matt.

With his brother Mitch also into racing, his family has been the biggest support along the way including his father-in-law. “If there is anyone at Wambo Coal reading this, please tell my father-in-law John Blackham to have a good day at work,” Matt laughed.  

When Matt isn’t racing, he is working as a Mechanic at his family owned bike shop, Kawasaki Connection Cessnock. Whether it’s on the track or at work, he is extremely passionate about what he does.

Throughout his junior days, Matt took home top place at a few Australian and State dirt track championships before moving to road racing where he won the Australian Superstock 600cc Championship in 2010. Matt went on the win the 1000cc Pro Stock Championship as well as the Australasian Superbike Championship.

Achievement after achievement, Matt continues to make a name for himself in the motorcycle racing arena and was awarded best rider for the year of 2013. “A definite highlight for me was when I had the opportunity to race as a wild card in the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island (VIC) for an Italian team in 2014 and 2015,” said Matt.

“I learnt a lot about how a factory team operates which was a big eye opener…unfortunately it didn’t go to plan, and I crashed out of it both years,” Matt added. 

Learning lessons from the moment he started, his racing journey has had its fair share of ups and downs. “When I first started road racing, I was learning about how to set up for a race weekend and what we needed to pack and be prepared for, my mum and dad transported me to all events,” said Matt.

“We had two race weekends back to back and I crashed the first weekend at Eastern Creek (NSW). In between the two weekends I had unpacked and repacked the van with the bike in pieces and once we got to Warwick (QLD) I realised I had left the tank at home in Cessnock,” Matt laughed.

With sponsors Kawasaki Australia, Kawasaki Connection Cessnock, Pirelli Motorcycle Tyres, Repsol Oil, Monza Imports, RST Leathers, Bell Helmets, SBS Brakes and Rover Coaches supporting Matt over the past 10 years, his next goal is competing in the world championships.

“I definitely want to have a crack at a world championship and have an opportunity to mix it with the best. Until then I will keep racing here in Australia and try to win an Australian Superbike Championship.”

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