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Freedom of expression: what we found at the 2015 Chrome Expression Session

10 August 2015

We’ve waited all year for the 2015 Mothers Chrome Expression Session, as last year surprised many with a two-day action-filled event. This year was no different

On the day that the Mothers Chrome Expression Session’s dates were announced, vivids were enthusiastically thrown around the room and the calendar was marked with gusto. Based on the 2014 event’s impressive turnout of cars, our whole editorial team made the commitment to head down to Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, on August 8–9, to get as much coverage as possible.

However,‘uncertainty’ was the flavour of the weekend. You see, with heavy clouds plaguing the skies for most of the preceding week, how the 2015 Mothers Chrome Expression Session would go was anyone’s guess.

As it turned out, we needn’t have worried — all weekend, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park was full to bursting point with spectators and entrants. And, as the type of event that lets you do things that would normally see you lose your licence to the judge, and your car to the towie, you can bet there was some tough machinery in attendance. V8s, imports, luxury vehicles, you name it — diversity was what made up the 400 cars entered for track duties, with around the same number taking part in the infield show-and-shine.

The event had several components, all of which appealed to a different sort of car enthusiast, which made it one of the most diverse events New Zealand had ever seen. Whether you were into drifting, drag racing, cruising, parking up, or burnouts, Chrome had it all.

One of the favourites was what they called ‘DYM’ (short for ‘drive your mates’), which allowed any competitor time out on the track in a controlled and speed-limited environment with passengers, and no helmets required. These sessions were our favourites, as they allowed easy access to experience some insane vehicles.

The drop-flag drag racing was very entertaining, as the cars involved were so varied — a Nissan GT-R R35 with 1500hp at the wheels lined up against a Subaru WRX? Sure! That, and the fact that you never knew if one of the competitors was actually going to drag race, or just lay two big, fat, black lines the length of the straightaway is what made the straight-line sessions such fun.

And, speaking of big, fat rubber marks, the power skids were also great. If you’re yet to learn the way of the power skid, pay attention: it involves nailing the throttle and keeping the tyres smoking for as great a distance as you can, without touching the brakes. Braden Smith, in his blown Holden HQ, is a dab hand at creating clouds of smoke on the burnout pad, and as it turns out, he’s pretty good at the old power skid too. Seeing these sorts of shenanigans from cars as tough as his was definitely reason enough to head to an event like Chrome.

The burnout pad also proved popular, and it received a relentless hammering throughout the weekend. Even so, all the abuse the pad received over the entire weekend would have still paled in comparison to the enormous burnouts that went down whenever Ricky and Jenn Ireland’s ‘ENVEED’ Holden HZ ute hit the pad. With an 8-71 supercharged 496ci big block drinking the finest E85, the ute was recently dynoed at 738hp at the rear wheels — with each and every one of those horses let loose through numerous pairs of old tyres, creating the biggest clouds and most incredible noise this side of a thunderstorm.

Just as fun to watch, if not a tad less hectic, were the drifting sessions. Just like every other on-track session, these allowed drivers who were more inclined towards sliding sideways a shot at doing just that on a track filled with like-minded kinfolk. From beaten-up skid hacks through to full-on pro-spec D1NZ drift cars, the field was, as always, marked with diversity. The action was always fun, though, and the spectacle of low and loud cars sliding around the corners at crazy speeds was a thoroughly enjoyable one.

Of course, with an event like this, what’s happening on the track at any given time is only a little fraction of the overall picture. It doesn’t matter what you’re into, you’re almost guaranteed to see something that thoroughly grabs your attention — whichever way you turned.

Whether you’re into V8s, turbocharged six-cylinder Japanese cars, rotaries, or just old school cruisers, there were so many cool features and interesting touches to be found on the most unlikely of cars. From interesting induction set-ups through to full-blown race-spec suspension, you could literally spend hours poring over the finer details of the machinery present.

Unfortunately, the weather at Chrome was less than ideal. While it wasn’t hit with ‘snow’ like East Auckland, it was subject to some freezing-cold temperatures, gales, and rain. Perfect for the underpowered vehicles wanting to have a little more fun, although it did scare off a few spectators. Thankfully, it didn’t scare the bulk of the crowds off — if you can brave a bit of cold and rain, then you definitely deserved the amazing spectacle delivered by the 2015 Mothers Chrome Expression Sessions. Another spectacular event run by 4&Rotary Promotions, and we’re already hanging out for the next one!