But there was no time to dwell on that; this was the busiest day of the event and the track was already hot. First up though, there were show cars I needed to check out.
Before heading there though, I thought I’d drop by the tattoo booth to see if anyone was getting inked. To my surprise, not only was someone under the tattoo machine, but there were people waiting in line to get a permanent Gatebil souvenir on their skin.
When I took a quick peek at the ‘Show Garden’ setup on Friday, Rudskogen’s kart track was only half full with people and cars. As expected though, Saturday was a completely different story.
Right off the bat, I gravitated towards Joakim Nyberg’s 1983 Toyota Carina. A 4A-GE on carbs and Work Equip40 wheels – you have to love this thing. Beside the Carina were two cars that hold a special place in my heart…
The AE86 is one of my favorite cars from ’90s rallying in Iceland. Thinking about it now, it’s cool that people threw these things sideways on gravel with little worry back then, but seeing this mint pair at the show, I think I prefer what people are doing with them now.
JDM-style tuning might still be developing in some parts of Europe – especially Scandinavia – but there were some great examples at this event. If I compare things to Sweden though, the styling seems more subtle here in Norway.
Having said that, there are always some expectations, like this wild supercharged Honda S2000 on RAYS Volk Racing TE37SLs. Just look at that wing!
The show featured a wide variety of cars, everything from wide-body Supras to E30s on classic BBS wheels.
Speaking of BBS wheels, they were everywhere.
BBS split wheels were the most common, which makes sense, because they look good on pretty much every vehicle. It was mostly German cars at Rudskogen, though.
Air suspension isn’t overlooked either, and both the Lamborghini-themed Audi R8 and Volvo V90 above run Air Lift Performance setups.
Another Air Lift-equipped build on show was Jonas Fløttum’s BMW E30, sitting on custom Work VS wheels. Even the trunk has received a custom setup, with its Rockford Fosgate amplifiers and subwoofers, and twin Viair compressors displayed nicely.
Amongst the expected makes and models, it’s always nice to see to the unexpected, which in my case was this super-clean Ford Escort RS Cosworth. I envy anyone who saw these cars rallying in period.
As I was making my way back to the media room to recharge myself and my camera gear for the upcoming Breisladden competition, I came across a car that stopped me dead in my tracks. I had no idea what this was until I spoke to the older gentleman who owned it.
As I joined in the conversation, the owner mentioned that the Maserati Bora was recently purchased from a seller in New York. I can’t imagine the anxiety that would come with shipping something of this value across the Atlantic Ocean.
My Norwegian is not the best, but from what I could gather the Bora will soon be receiving a full restoration. To me, the car already seemed to be in pristine condition, so I wasn’t too sure what needed restoring, so I’m guessing it might be mechanical. Whatever the case, it’s great to see cars like this being preserved for years to come.
Rudskogen becoming quiet again was my cue to head back to the track and prepare myself for some more action.
As is tradition, all the cars competing in Gatebil’s Breisladden (power slide) competition do a parade lap around the track before lining up. It felt like warriors being presented to a cheering crowd before they headed off to battle, a pretty cool scene for sure.
To those who are unfamiliar with the Breisladden competition, it’s pretty simple: initiate as fast as you can with maximum angle and minimal correction. Showboating is encouraged for bonus points.
Standing in front of thousands of screaming spectators while watching drivers pull off high-speed drifts was something I won’t forget. To me, this is Gatebil at its finest.
Of course, you have all the cars from the previous day’s Super 3 team drift competition also taking part. As long as you can slide it, you can compete in it.
Whether it’s a four-wheel drive Celica sporting an iconic rally livery…
…or a Volkswagen Transporter with a turbo V8 swap. It doesn’t really matter.
Rather than try and photograph every single car, I took a step back and became one of the spectators. It’s hard to enjoy the spectacle when you’re on the job, but sometimes you just can’t help yourself. I chose the perfect moment to put my eye back behind the viewfinder when Kevin Brunberg came charging through in his Volvo 745 – an iconic build in Sweden. I managed to snap this single photo before enjoying the rest of his run.
There were so many cars competing in the Breisladden, that the competition had to tip over to Sunday. Norway has strict noise regulations, and people who live close to the tracks are quick to complain. Some of the houses are new and that has me wondering – why would people move close to a race track and then complain when the noise gets too loud? I know this happens in other places around the world too, but it defies logic.
Nevertheless, it was time for the people to party, and in true Gatebil fashion, party they did.
I thought people had given it their all on Friday, but that was simply not the case. Saturday evening was just as wild in the campgrounds.
Whether it’s day or night, there is never a dull moment at Gatebil Rudskogen. Happy people, bananas terrorizing the village, stunt shows and a concert to finish it all off – it doesn’t get better than that after a long day in the sun.
I really didn’t want this to end, but then I remembered that Sunday was still to come…
I was certainly ready for another day, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was longing for my own bed, good food and a shower. That would need to wait a few more hours though, as the Breisladden final and Gatebil Xtreme competitions were still to come.
Seeing how many cars were back on the track made me wonder how many tires are used at this event. Also, once the tires are done, where do they dispose of them all? Is there a Gatebil tire graveyard somewhere that I don’t know about?
Just before the Breisladden final kicked off, I took a quick peek at the paddocks to see if there was any sign of life still left. As you can see, the answer was yes. In fact, they were still bustling.
You’d think by this point that I’d have tired of photographing the same cars at the same corner doing the exact same thing – it had been three days after all. Prior to the event I would have thought so, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Drifting has awakened the same feeling I got when I watched F1 for the first time 20 years ago. It has become my new favorite motorsport and seeing the madness unfold at Gatebil only made my love for it stronger.
Seeing all the people back on Sunday to catch the action leads me to believe that this event is the highlight of summer for many. After Saturday night’s antics, you’d think most people would be wrecked – and truth beknown some probably were – but that did not stop them from soaking up the Gatebil atmosphere one last time before heading home.
With perfect angles, insane speed and a huge amount of tire smoke, Øyvind Bogen deservedly took home the Breisladden title in his Nissan Silvia S15.
Before I headed back to the media room to pack my bags, I caught the final showdown of the Gatebil Xtreme class.
Sticking my head out onto the straight, it was fascinating to see these time attack monsters coming towards me at full speed. Despite his major engine troubles on Friday, Kai Roger Bakken was the fastest, winning the final race while shooting flames crossing the finish line.
Gatebil Rudskogen really is a modified car fan’s dream come true. This isn’t just a track day, a car show, or a party – this is an automotive festival celebrating the joy of machine.
Stay tuned for more from Norway, and don’t forget to check out the bonus image gallery below – and Gatebil’s newly-released official music video.
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