It’s Bridget Bell, and this week’s Flash Femme has been an adventure! I got the tip off from DJ Laubster about this week’s street wise ingenue.
I agreed to meet with Sarah on the Monday public holiday after being in the commentary box at Westernationals all weekend. I forgot how consecutive 14 hour days debilitates the brain, some people say I will never recover (it’s me, I’m some people).
Luckily the shift working autonomous dump truck controller, was exceedingly accommodating and understanding. We immediately hit it off over 4 coffees and a basic white-girl breakfast at Dôme.
I’d like to preface this article with the following disclaimer: my knowledge of drifting is limited to Need for Speed: Tokyo Drift and that one time I went to Mallala Motorsort Park to watch my cousin throw his car aggressively at corners and other cars. I digress… Allow me to introduce you to this week’s Flash Femme: ‘Send-It’ Sarah Holland.
Photo courtesy of DJ – Laubster Media.
How did you get involved in Drift?
“Growing up in NZ my mate Aaron and I were like fifteen years old we used to go out on the back roads Drifting and I always loved it. I feel like I was brought up around cars. My Dad was right into cars. Being around cars and driving with the boys back home, it’s always felt natural to me.
“Then when I moved to Perth. I went to a D1WA event called Matsuri and met Jamie Worroll who was Drifting there, we soon started talking and he became a big part of my life, not long after he gave me a drive of his car and I was hooked! About 3 months later I had brought my own car. That must me about 4 years ago now. It’s gone so fast!
“When I started driving, I knew what it should feel like I guess. Which was definitely helpful, because a lot of things are the opposite of what you think you should do. Like if you’re understeering most people keep trying to steer because the car isn’t going the way they want because the wheels are on full lock and they’re sliding.
“But you’ve got to steer back the other way.
“Or if you freak out, just staying into it, keeping your foot on the accelerator actually makes you drive away from what you don’t want to be near.
“If you’re sliding and you get off it, you’ll still be sliding that way. Whereas if you keep your foot on the gas, you have actually got drive and you can keep pushing away from it.
“What you look at and what you focus on is where you end up. When you’re Drifting what you’re looking at is where you want to be going. If you’re looking at a wall, that’s your intention.
“You want to be looking at where you want the car to go.”
@It’sBridgetBell attended a drift event and took photos to prove it.
Who are your influences and inspirations?
“First of all my Dad, I grew up in the shed with him working on cars. He’s also said that he used to have to take me for a drive to get me to sleep.
“My friends Aaron and Jamie have definitely been influences when it comes to actually Drifting.
“And Carla Fry is one of my inspirations. That girl can drive!” she delivers emphatically.
“When I first started I was worried about doing something I didn’t know how to do with other people watching. I thought people would watch me and judge me but everyone was more like ‘hell yeah, you’re giving it a go, it’s so cool’ and everyone has been willing to give advice and support which has been really nice, more so than I expected people to be.
“People can be quite judgmental but I haven’t really found that, especially starting out .
“And I know what it was like starting out, so when I see people starting you try to give them that bit of encouragement. For me it’s all about having fun, give it a go, have fun, try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
“Everyone starts somewhere.”
Photo courtesy of DJ Laubster – Laubster Media. “When you’re drifting what you’re looking at is where you want to be going. If you’re looking at a wall, that’s your intention” Sarah advises.
What advice would you give to a novice or someone who wants to get involved in Drifting?
“Give it a go. Don’t worry about the fact you probably wont get it straight away, everyone started somewhere and you would be surprised how supportive everyone is.
“Head down to Drift School WA they have packages available so you can have a go if you haven’t got a car and you want to see if you like it.
“They also have a package where you can bring your own car, a trainer will jump in with you for a session and then you have time to yourself to practice.
“Otherwise D1WA has give it a go day where you have to have your own car.
“Also Driftwest has practice nights on the infield. They have a couple of trainers down there and you have to pass the infield session where they’ve got either a couple of cones or barrels set up to practice on, doing donuts and stuff.
“Then they’ve got a layout which you have to do before you’re allowed out on the main track.
“So there’s lots of ways you can get into Drift, depending what level you’re at.
“I’ve seen some people come into it and they just get it, it just clicks. And other people it takes a bit longer.
“This is where I was really lucky.
“I started my first drive at an event called PDA which they don’t run anymore. Jamie let me have a drive of his S15. And people were blown away the fact that I picked it up straight away, they didn’t think that it was my first time actually driving.
“Where some people will struggle a bit and it takes a bit longer for it to click.
“Everyone progresses at a different rate.
“I was doing really well and now I feel like I’ve plateaued.
“My mates tell me I don’t go hard enough and I need to use 4th gear more. And it’s probably true.
“I’m too conservative. I feel like the young guys don’t have that fear of consequence or they don’t have to pay for it themselves, they full send, don’t care and they seem to grow really quickly.
“Where as you’re thirty years old, you have to pay for everything, you understand the consequences if you stuff up and how much things cost.”
The new colour bomb wrap on the Skyline by Word of Mouth Signs and Graphics is complemented by imposing carbon fibre wing and white-hot wheels.
Was this the first car you looked at buying?
“Pretty much yeah.
“I did look at one other which was an S13. But it didn’t have a lock kit, it didn’t have a roll cage. It had stock seats, it was just fairly standard for about four and a half grand.
“I didn’t want to drive without having a roll cage just in case something happened. So I’d want to put that in. I’d want to put a lock kit in, I’d want to do this and that and all of a sudden it’s going to be something I could have just bought already done.
“That’s what I ended up doing, the Skyline already had everything I wanted and so I went that way instead.
“I got it for a great price, as they’d just done a bunch of work to it and they didn’t know if it was going to have issues when I bought it.
“Luckily the work that was done was all good, but I took that risk of possibly needing to do some other work to it. But it already had everything else that I wanted.
“Its an R32 Skyline with RB25 engine RB25 Gearbox and aftermarket suspension from the car’s previous owner, which would have to be 11 years old.
“It was owned Mitch Bunny, he won a State Championship in it and Damian McBride also owned the car.”
Lady Ash Snaps capturing Sarah battling at last Sunday’s D1WA practice session.
Who assists you and is involved with your Drifting?
“I use DIY Garage for hoist hire, I’ll do an easy oil and filter service myself. I’ll get the guys at “Hyperdrive to have a look every so often to make sure everything is still as it should be.
“Hyperdrive Motorsport have helped me out since the start. The guys there are super helpful and always there when needed even when they come to the track to watch they end up helping.
“I don’t know what id do without these guys!
“I just take it out of the carport, drive it, put it back in the carport, so it’s good to get someone else to looks at it. I don’t like doing that kind of stuff” says the former underground service crew leading hand.
“And Trident Motorsport help me out with tyres too.”
Where have you always wanted to Drift?
“New Zealand and the Bend in Adelaide
“I went to the Bend a couple of years ago with a group of the guys that went over for Drift Masters to support the guys.
“It looked like a really fun track where they can make heaps of different layouts as opposed to just having one track. The Bend has heaps of different tarmac sections.
“In New Zealand I don’t have a preference of track. I’ve always been into Drifting, but I’ve never Drifted back home. It’s only since I’ve been here in Perth.
“I guess it’s kind of a bucket list thing. I’ve had a couple of my mates back home that have cars and drive over there have recently said ‘when you come home we’ll have to take the car out and come drive my car, we’ll take it to the track’.”
Like an arrive and drive package?
“Pretty much. How good” Sarah giggles.
“It’s quiet nice that people are willing to offer me their cars.”
Image courtesy of DJ – Laubster Media. Sarah Holland stands with her pride and joy on the start line at her home track, Wanneroo Raceway. While she enjoys drifting at both Wanneroo and Collie Motorplex, she yearns to take on The Bend, south-east of Adelaide. And why wouldnt you with fans like Troy Bayliss and David Brabham touting the track’s virtues?
What are your biggest Drift challenges?
“Being my own worst critic and getting in my own head, but I am proud of myself for being out there and giving it a go.
“I like to think of myself as one of the boys. I know I am hard on myself, probably harder on myself that I need to be.
“I feel like it looks good to have women competing in Drifting.
“I enter comps because it is a good experience. I prefer fun events like practice days or Matsuri because it’s less pressure and more fun.
“But I love the thrill of when you nail it or when you look out the window and see your mate so close they are on your door.
“The camaraderie with everyone and the friendly vibes are also a big part of it, I have never seen anything like it in any other form of motorsport.
“Whether I’m driving with someone [in the car] or just working on something for myself.
“Last time I went out at practice I really just wanted to work on my entry into cat corner. If I’ve got someone to drive with, then that is sweet, that’s fun but if I don’t then I just try to improve.
“I was put into Pro at the last competition I went to, which meant I got to drive with the good drivers.
“But I felt they were the next level above me.
“I was paired up against people that have previously won championships. I felt like I didn’t really have a chance to win, but at the same time I get to get better because I’m driving against better drivers.
“It’s funny because when I drive with the same people, not at a competition we just have fun. When it comes to the word ‘competition’ it’s like a pressure switch.
“I was at an event called Battlefest. And there was one layout that I really didn’t like and I really wasn’t doing very well at.
“I went out for practice and I told myself if I still wasn’t feeling it, I’ll just call it a day, I’d already had heaps of fun in the morning session, so I can walk away and feel good about it.
“I lined up for practice against my friend Alex, he’s a really good driver, he’s one of the ones I would like to be able to drive like. And they said ‘we’ve run out of time for practice, we’re going straight into battles.’ I decided that I’d do that one and if I felt bad about it I’d walk away.
“So I went out and I had heaps of fun, felt like I didn’t do too bad and when I pulled back into the pit-bay Alex was pitted a few bays up and he came running down and gave me the biggest high-five and was like ‘that was sick’ and everyone is like that, just really supportive.
“Sometimes it’s best to not over-think things and to go in with no expectations, with just the expectation to have fun.
“I am so thankful to everyone who’s supported me along the way, I honestly wouldn’t be here with out you all.”