The plan to get Danny (s13), Leo (ae86), and Pablo (s14) to The End of Year Bash VI event hosted by NoDrft in New Orleans, Louisiana was genuinely set in motion sometime in October. There wasn’t much time to pull everything together, but the boys hunkered down and got to work. For both Pablo and Leo, their main concern was fixing their blown motors courtesy of the last event they’d driven in Orlando a couple of months prior. For Danny, he needed to find a way to actually get us to the event (even considering street driving the 240 the eight hundred plus miles from Miami to NOLA). It was definitely a close call, but the communal effort ultimately got Gutterclub to EYB.
Gutterclub Goes to NOLA.
For those of you who may not know, Gutterclub is a group of friends who’ve known each other for years. The team itself was officially established in 2017 and we’re based in Miami, Florida, although we now have a few members out in Texas. Everyone involved just happens to appreciate nice looking cars, drifting, and having a good time. All of the work done on the cars is done by the boys; if they don’t know how to do something, they figure it out. Whether it’s mechanics or body work or painting, they’ve done it all.
We set out on our journey on December 12th in the wee hours of the morning. Typical Miami weather graced us with a torrential downpour which set us back about an hour or so, but by 2AM we were on the road. It felt like it took us an eternity to traverse Florida (which, essentially, it did). We had finally arrived at the NOLA Motorsports Park early Thursday evening. We were tired, we were cold, but we arrived in one piece.
Friday the 13th was our first full day in New Orleans. Even though the event started that evening, the boys weren’t going to drive until the next day. We went to the track early in the morning anyway just to make sure everything was in order with the cars. We also unofficially welcomed Will Parsons to the team with the inaugural banner application (although short lived only because we hadn’t had breakfast yet). Then we made our way into the French Quarter for arguably the most exciting part of the trip – beignets and café au lait.
Later that evening, we returned to the track. The plan had been to get a few glamour shots of the boys together, but time wasn’t on my side and the sun set a lot sooner than I had expected. However, we did celebrate Will’s membership with a few frozen daiquiris (each) courtesy of a drive thru daiquiri establishment. We rounded off the night at a local diner with the most delicious foods and kindest people.
The next day we woke up early, Pablo cooked breakfast for everyone, and then we headed off to the track. It was a big day for all of us — it would be the first time Will would be driving with the boys, it was the first time Danny, Leo, and Pablo were even driving in months, and I had the added pressure of needing to capture half decent media for the boys to use for the Final Bout application (due the next day, naturally). Despite all of this, the number one goal for everyone involved was to have fun because at the end of the day that’s why we all love drifting.
Things did end up getting a little crazy on track. During one of the runs, Danny spun out and Leo didn’t have time to stop so they collided. It only resulted in cosmetic damage though – Danny’s front bumper cracked, and Leo’s quarter panel got smashed. But it was only the beginning.
Pablo was dealing with blown couplers for most of the day. He’d go out for a run and immediately had to return to the pit area to figure out what was going wrong. He did end up getting some decent laps in either way, but he was definitely getting annoyed at the back and forth.
Saturday night on the go-kart track was the rowdiest session of the whole weekend. Within the first few laps Danny smacked into a tire wall and broke a taillight and had the back bumper fly off, Leo’s front bumper was totally obliterated and was to never be seen again, and Pablo’s turbo blew so he was down for the rest of the night. Luckily, D-Bo (NoDrft co-owner) was able to lend him a turbo for the next day so he wasn’t completely tapping out.
Sunday would be the last day of EYB. Pablo spent a good portion of the morning putting the turbo on while everyone else was warming up on track. His first lap back out would be for the team tandem competition; he didn’t have enough time to test out the turbo and fine tune it beforehand. Things started off a little shaky for the competition with Leo running out of gas just as he was pulling up to the grid. Gutterclub ended up going up against Lone Star Drift. Unfortunately, the boys didn’t make it very far.
By the end of the day, both Danny and Leo broke, thanks to another collision, and a wrist injury finally claimed Pablo. Luckily, all three had plenty of seat time over the weekend and were pretty content with their driving.
After the cars were loaded up and everything was packed away, we celebrated a successful weekend with good food, good drinks, and great company in the French Quarter.
I’m really proud of the boys and how far they’ve come. From their humble beginnings street drifting to Mexico Sundays to proper events, they’ve grown as individual drivers and as a team. It’s great to get out to an event and see people flock to their cars and talk about how much they love what they’re doing or share how they’ve been following along with their journey via Instagram. It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to get the cars event ready, but this is what being a team is all about – working together to build one another up. It isn’t always easy, but when you love something this much, anything is possible.
All in all, EYB was a great time and we already can’t wait for the next one. I think 2020 is going to be a big year for the Gutterclub boys. We’re off to Connecticut in May for Final Bout Special Stage East. Follow us @gutterclub.usa on Instagram to join us on our upcoming adventures!
Photo x Jessica Hernandez
Location @ Nola Motorsports Park, LA