The inaugural Mad Mike Summer Bash takes place today at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park — a drift event that will feature a comprehensive gathering of New Zealand’s best four-wheeled drifting machines, as well as an assortment of our brightest sideways motorsport talent.
Drivers include returning former Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Champions Gaz Whiter and Curt Whittaker; plus Andrew Redward, who will use the event to make a circuit debut with his rebuilt Achilles Mazda FC RX-7.
Redward’s RX-7 will be one of several in attendance, with Whiddett himself fielding one of his own — MADBUL.
The beloved workhorse recently got a rebuild of its own, with the adoption of the nose from a Mazda RX-3 and a retro livery to match heading a long list of changes to the skin and to what lies underneath.
Perhaps on equal leading billing is one of Whiddett’s other creations; RADBUL — the pint-sized 1200hp MX-5 he competed with in the United States.
“The last couple of years I’ve had such a massive focus on this Formula D World Championship, and so I have very little time in New Zealand,” Whiddett told Radio Sport this week.
“We have a huge fan base at home, so Summer Bash is all about the fans being able to see not only our MX-5 compete in New Zealand and see it on the track screaming, but a good opportunity for the pros here in New Zealand too. As much as I’m always chasing the toughest competition, I still love battling my fellow Kiwi buddies.”
Among other festivities at the event (including Time Attack runs, the Meguiar’s Show’n Shine, and a cruise session on the International Circuit), fans will get the opportunity to display their own talents in a pair of new-generation Mazda MX-5s on a closed course.
“Mazda have got a couple of brand new MX-5s we’ve got on a little gymkhana course, and we’re more than happy for any of the fans to jump in and challenge themselves to try and get a time and drift around the course,” said Whiddett.
The 36-year-old hopes the event will help further unify grassroots drifting and the professional competition. “I grew up with a very limited budget with my mum, and I was just a kid with a massive dream and a lot of passion,” he said.
“You could show up at a drift event and you didn’t have to have the fastest lap times or the fastest car or the biggest budget — it was more about the character and the personality of the driver and the car combined.
“It’s just a banger day that’s going to have a whole lot of excitement.”