Whiter’s win at the first Summer Bash in February came after a two-year hiatus from the sport and it was even more impressive considering he was suffering from meningitis at the time.
“I probably shouldn't have been in the car at Summer Bash,” says Whiter. “I didn't realise how bad it was until afterward and I’m still not 100 percent. I had viral meningitis so it messes with your brain and slows you down. I had really bad headaches and it knocked me around a lot.”
“I was a bit surprised at how well I did at Summer Bash but it’s like riding a bike I reckon. You never forget. I just pushed it pretty hard and I really enjoyed the day. There was no pressure and I think it showed in the driving. All the drivers put on a show and really hammered it.”
Whiter hasn’t been back in his Nissan Silvia since the first Summer Bash, taking time out from the sport to build his house.
“My old man has been prepping the car for me,” says Whiter. “He’s a mechanic by trade so he knows his way around a car. The car is getting tuned on the Tuesday before Summer Bash so I won’t have much time to make sure it’s all good but it should be fine. I’m pretty cruisey. I’ve been drifting for 14 years so I don’t tend to get too wound up about things. I want to put on a good show and it’s a good opportunity for me to test the car for next season.”
Whiter has received support from a new company called SmartCookie8 to run in next season’s D1NZ championship.
“Drifting is a big commitment and it wears you out a bit, especially if you’re paying for it out of your own pocket,” says Whiter. “With the support from SmartCookie8 we’ve been able to spend a bit of coin on the car to bring it up to spec. We’ve refreshed the motor and supercharged it and done lots of other little things to it so she should be good to go.”
Whiter will be one of the favourites for the Top 32 Shootout at Summer Bash which will also feature ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett, ‘Fanga Dan’ Woolhouse and a mix of New Zealand’s top professional and amateur drivers.
Whiter teamed up with ‘Fanga Dan’ Woolhouse and Cole Armstrong to take out the Triple Threat Team Drift event at the first Summer Bash and he’s keen to give the unique format another crack.
“In the Triple Threat event we’re looking for those three cars syncing on the track,” says Whiddett, “but we’re also looking for something explosive. It might be one car drifts wide and the other two pass them on the inside. Or they might all do flying 360’s across the finish line. It’s a chance to get creative and put on a real spectacle for the fans.”
It’s not only the professionals who will get a chance to take to the track at Summer Bash. The International Track Cruise is a rare opportunity for anyone to have a drive around Hampton Downs, in a controlled manner of course. You can cruise the 4km international circuit in your own car with family and friends at lunchtime.
Off the track, there will be the Meguiar’s Hard Park Show ‘n' Shine for people to display their cars and ‘Mad Mike’ will be wandering around picking his favourite cars. There will be a Family Fun Zone, VIP Trackside Lounge, including a private lunch with ‘Mad Mike’ and New Zealand’s top drift stars, a new viewing platform and grandstands so the fans can get up close to the action.
A star of the show will be Whiddett’s RADBUL, a 1200hp, 4-rotor, twin-turbo Mazda MX5 which he will run alongside several other machines that make up Mad Mike’s fleet. All pre-purchased tickets go in the draw to win a ride in Whiddett’s new MADCAB drift taxi with two friends, or a seat in one of the other cars in ‘Mad Mike’s’ garage.
There are new viewing platforms and trackside grandstands at Hampton Downs especially for Summer Bash, so the fans can get up close to the action. Entry is free for U15s accompanied by a paying adult.