A strong brew of fear and adrenaline bubbled up inside. The safety straps cut so tight the lungs struggled to cope but I was kitted up and ready for a lesson in drifting.
The Allen family from Waiuku offered to have me as a passenger in their Rattla Motorsport 2000 Ford Falcon BA - an ex-V8 New Zealand touring car.
New Plymouth's Lois Smith, 61, had been for a spin before me, and said driver Shane Allen had two rules - "don't scream, and don't soil yourself ". I managed to stick to one.
The speed, the spinning, the noise, and the invasion of smoke as the tyres slid and screeched along the road was thrilling. I was hooked and wanted to go again.
Shane and his father, Chris, had arrived in New Plymouth on Saturday for the two-day Rock Naki Drift event.
More than 6000 spectators with a need for adrenaline and speed lined the edges of Centennial Drive to see the country's top drifters freestyle their way along the 1.6 kilometre circuit.
A lot of smoke, a lot of noise, and the odd spin-out during solo and tandem runs kept the crowd entertained.
Shane, 20, a former New Zealand speedway representative and top-ranked drifter, said day one at the Taranaki event had been testing. "It's pretty slippery out there but yeah, it's good fun."
Spectator Tai Baker, 12, had hoped to see a few more spin-outs, but was enjoying the atmosphere none-the-less.
"It's so awesome. I hope I can drive like that one day."
Kelsey Knot, 24, came from Tauranga for the event and had her first ride after being pushed into it by her boyfriend.
"It was such an adrenaline rush - living life sideways. Knowing that a car can do, that is just awesome."
Organiser Ross Honnor, of Waitara's Dobson's Dyno Tune, said this year's event had been the most successful yet.
"I think this would have to be the biggest motorsport crowd and event that Taranaki has ever held."
Honnor said it wasn't just the crowd loving the atmosphere either.
"The pros driving on Saturday were just buzzing afterwards and we had the same reaction from the rookies yesterday.
"Everybody has said they'd come back. They want two, three here a year. They just love it."
Honnor said it was a fast, technical course, which was different to what some drivers were used to.
"Having a blind hill to go over and having to judge where you're switching the car and basically guess where you'll be positioned on the other side of the rise is something scary for most of them.
"They're used to driving on flat purpose-built tracks so this is something really different."
Honnor said he received many comments about how fantastic the views of Mt Taranaki, Paritutu Rock and Back Beach were.
"It's been an awesome two days. We might look at holding another event in winter."
CATCHING THE DRIFT
Drifting is a technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels, while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner. Professional drifting competitions are held worldwide and judged according to the speed, angle and line taken through a corner or set of corners. Japanese driver, Kunimitsu Takahashi, was the creator of drifting in the 1970s. Drifting started to take off in New Zealand in 2003.
- Taranaki Daily News
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