Benalla’s own Alex Gouveia has shot into contention for the VicDrift Championship after a strong showing in round one.
The championship’s first round was held at Calder Park Raceway on March 11, and is one of five rounds scheduled this year.
Gouveia had a self-proclaimed mediocre qualifying run and started round one in 25th position.
But strong showings in the second and third run on the day saw him skyrocket up the leaderboard, finishing the day in seventh out of 52 drifters.
His runs were second only to eighth-placed Gerald Govender, in terms of positions moved from the start of the day.
Gouveia jumped 17 places, while Govender, who started the day in 28th, moved 20 places up the board.
Gouveia said after ‘‘not a good year’’ last year he wanted to follow it up with a strong start.
‘‘Last year was not a good year. But this time around I came seventh. (I had) a lot more experience and confidence, I was more used to the car,’’ Gouveia said.
‘‘I drove harder I guess this year, less tentative and the car got a full transformation in the off season.’’
His goal in the championship this year is to make inroads towards the top of the ladder.
‘‘I’d be really happy with fourth I’d say,’’ he said.
It is a family event for the Gouveias, father Maurice takes care of Alex’s mechanical problems under the bonnet, while Alex’s sister is in the pit lanes as a tyre girl.
His knack for drifting was inherited from Maurice, who when questioned on the subject, only said in his day he was ‘‘not officially’’ a drifter.
Alex got into BMX biking at a young age, which he said also spurred him into the sport.
‘‘When we were biking it’s all we’d talk about — drifting. But you have to wait until you’re 16 until you can drift. I didn’t start until I was 19,’’ he said.
In his spare time Gouveia also worked as a photographer at Winton Motor Raceway in the 2014 season.
‘‘I did that for a season, but I think I quickly realised that I wanted to be in the cars, rather than snapping shots of them,’’ he said.