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Claiming the Southern Throne: 2020 Chrome Expression Session Christchurch

13 April 2020




Checking out the goods at the 2020 Chrome Expression Session Christchurch

If we’ve learned one thing from our years and years of southern excursions, it’s this: the South Island loves to party. While there’s a handful of staple events on the calendar keeping the party going, up until last year there was one giant party that goes absolutely off in the northern portion of the nation and that had yet to head down country — which is why the team at Premier Events packaged up the show and bee-lined it straight to Ruapuna raceway in Christchurch for the inaugural Chrome Expression Session South! Let us tell you, it was bloody massive, so much so the locals were left itching for more.

Fast forward to Friday, 6 March 2020 and Chrome was back in the south for a second time Just like the old days of backstreet hooning, lining up your mates, and pushing your car beyond the limits of what it should be — Ruapuna hosted a party that incorporated all this without the risk of the local five-oh breaking down your door with a fist full of tickets. 

It must have been too appealing to pass up for most, as entrant numbers skyrocketed and those who missed out last time around weren’t going to make the same mistake twice. 

It made for interesting surveying, too. While we’ve often reported that the Toyota contingency maintains a stronghold over the land, 2020 has shown us that Nissan is making an aggressive charge on the mantle. S-chassis and R-chassis led the attack, with support from a number of Laurels and Cefiros — the RB proved a powerful opponent for the majority of Toyota’s 4A-GE-powered and 3S-GE-powered offerings, amongst a scattering of 2JZ incarnations and even the occasional 1UZ. 

What’s that old saying: there’s power in numbers. Nissan turned it up, that’s for sure, with the likes of Alex Morton’s street-driven S14 — winner of the DriftSouth Development Series — Jason Johnston’s RB26-powered Nissan S13, and Debbie Wisneski’s ‘SHEROX’ S15 representing the Silvia clan. Kane Williams hussed in his RB24DET-powered R31 Skyline, while Jacob Davidson’s garage-built RB20 Cefiro held it down for the big bodies. There were even a few double agents in the form of Alex MacAskill’s SR20-powered SR coupe and Shaun Mayhew’s RB-powered AE86.

It wasn’t all about Nissan; Toyota did field a good lot of examples — Brad Whitlow’s ITB-laden 20V 4A-GE-powered AE86 killed a pair on the skid pad, Sean Coombes’ bare-metalled 16V 4A-GE KE70 was never seen at less than four-up, and Martin Saunders’ 1JZ JZA70 held it down for the Supras. Notable mentions need to go to Johnny Buchanan’s 1UZ-powered ‘TNIWHA’ KE20 and Darcy Sullivan’s slammed, kitted, and big Johnny–fitted JZX100. 

The last time around we theorized that with a new proven format established in the south, we might see a few northerners heading down country to show how they party in the warmer lands; well, that invasion came in the form of Genesis Massive’s R34 Skyline, Shyam Patel’s ‘BOSDOG’ LS turbo-powered VL, and a slathering of NZ Burnout Championship cars all making the trip down. 

The event was one hell of a step up on last year’s banger and looks like it’s here to stay, much to the enjoyment of the locals. Chrome South brought back the ‘cruising with your mates and getting up to no good’ vibes of our youth but mitigated any detriment it may have caused back then, with organizers doing a killer job at making sure entrants were able to have their fun without the risk.

For those of you who weren’t there to see it with your own eyes, well, that’s a bummer, but fear not as we were and we have a whole ton of photos for you to pore over on the following pages. If that doesn’t give you a hankering to get amongst it next year, you best go see the doctor as you aren’t well. Enjoy!