Sun, sun and more sun. Mother nature was wrong, and thankfully so.

The Sydney Top Gear Festival was officially underway, with gates open at 8.30am the car line into Sydney Motorsport Park had already built up a 2km line, causing the closure of the road into the main entrance by 8.20am.

This would be an analogy for the events ahead during the festival, events piled back to back with nothing but a 1hr break to pause what is considered by the Greens and emissions fanatics as absolute nonsense, senseless rubber burning, high revving and loud hooning… And to be very honest, nothing could be better.

So, without much ado, here’s Downshift’s pictorial breakdown of the 2014 festival. Enjoy! We certainly did!


Definitely one of the highlights of the day, the Australian Postie Bike Championship. An great example showing that high speeds don’t need to be achieved to have a truly exciting and at many times hilarious spectacle.

The fans were also treated to some acrobatics and from daredevils  Showtime FMX,  Matt Mingay, the Hot Wheels Stuntz Team and Isuzu D-Max.



Another highlight of the day, the guys from the Australian drifting scene attacked the track in a whirl of smoke and colour, surely capturing the hearts and minds of many of the younger fans. Standing along pit wall, I felt privileged to have an opportunity to capture the moments before i was hit in the face by burning pieces of coloured rubber.

The Stig had an enthusiastic attempt to set a fast lap in a Mclaren.



Over the weekend, records were broken with the world’s official longest burnout. No doubt that somewhere in the world the distance of 400m has been done before…


Later in the day, A Nitro car proceeded to destroy everybody’s ears. I have never heard something so ferociously loud. Absolutely incredible.

Pictured: James rightly covering his ears in an attempt to avoid any brain damage.

The moment that many fans had come out to see. Daniel Ricciardo, Australia’s 2014 Formula 1 hopeful attempting a lap record at Sydney Motorsport Park in the Red Bull RB7.

Broken after 2 laps, Ricciardo bettered his predecessor Mark Webber’s best by almost 0.6 seconds. By day 2, this was improved again by an unprescedented 1.8 seconds for a final time of 1:11:2330. Keep in mind that this was weekend was the first time Ricciardo had ever driven at Sydney Motorsport Park…Absolute Freak.

The sound of the high revving naturally aspirated V8 is something to be surely missed with the introduction of V6 turbos in the 2014 Formula 1 season. The iconic sound of the high revving Formula 1 cars made its sound known throughout the crowd with every pass with profound impact.


During the lunch break, many visitors made the walk to the pits and South Circuit at SMSP to check out trade stands and displays. One of the most outstanding was Top Gear’s tribute to Ayrton Senna. Finished nicely with the McLaren from 1988 in the middle of the marquee, Bruno Senna and Indy Lall made very welcome comments on their personal experiences of Ayrton.

Amongst the display, I was also fortunate to be involved in the festival by having 3 of my oil paintings depicting Ayrton on display alongside the real car. An absolute privilege and surreal to say the least.

Amongst the keen Senna fans and Motorsport buffs, was a very lucky fan indeed. Bringing along a piece of the front wing that broke off from Senna’s McLaren at Suzuka in 1990. The piece is a reminder of Senna’s will to win when he infamously made contact with his arch rival Alain Prost on the first corner to ensure he took the 1990 World Championship. After 5 years of autograph attempts, the piece finally bore Bruno’s mark.


Motoring in Motion made its full impact during the break, with many visitors riding shotgun in sideways vehicles supplied by Toyota Australia and Subaru Australia.

The generations of WRX were on display to mark the introduction of yet another generation.


The Drift Squid had no issues with demonstrations for an eager crow on the skid pan.


During this time, Top Gear also took the opportunity to release some mostly unwilling guests 20m towards the ground in car bungee…





The weekend was unlike any other motorsport event. Although capturing the excitement and attention of all the spectators, the participants retained a high level of calm, fun and smiles as they went about their business.

James May went head to head with a monster truck using an RC car in a game of cat and mouse. However, Brute force ended up overpowering agility and speed as the RC car lay motionless after the truck had its way.

Some of Australia’s most expensive vehicles came out for a few laps creating a diversity of colour and making sounds reverberate through the grandstand.

One of the most highly anticipated events on the schedule was the 6 vehicle showdown. Lined up together, they would battle it out to decide who was the fastest around Sydney Motorsport Park, ending in a tightly contested battle between a superbike and Formula 1 car.


Throughout the weekend, the Porsche Carrera Cup undertook its first round of competition. Live Racing was a welcome change to the somewhat ‘light’ entertainment of the other events.

As the days drew to a close, though tiring, it was easy to look back at the action packed weekend and know that it was well worth attending and enjoying. Perhaps the most enticing part of the weekend was the pure range of activities available to Top Gear fans with not a moment lost in time waiting for interesting things to happen. Not only that, the Sydney Top Gear festival had a large variety of automotive delights that had the ability to put a smile on the face of anyone in attendance regardless of age. Whether it be sports bikes, Japanese sports cars, European exotics or the vast array of car parts available in the trade stands, it would be hard to feel like it was a waste of time.

If the Sydney Top gear Festival didn’t have an event or activity that put a smile on your face, then  this may be the moment that you start considering putting on your ‘Greens against Emissions’ shirt and selling your motor for a Prius that has a greenhouse built into it. You’d better get going too, Jeremy will probably want to destroy you and your car in the next episode of Top Gear.

Tags: ,