Gatebil 2017 - Part 2
by Lorin Gannon
We're back with part 2 of our Gatebil 2017 coverage. Thanks to Monster Energy, we are able to bring you this sneak peak into one of the world's most outlandish motorsport events. Continuing on from where we left off in part 1, it was time to kick off the nightlife.
Engines get shut off, cars get locked up and the beers get taken out. Each night of the weekend see's everyone making their way down through the forest roads, right down to the rather impressive stage. The atmosphere at this event is on a whole other level. No matter what time of the day it is, everyone is smiling and having fun. There were people dressed from full crash test dummies to inflatable cow costumes. I can't personally say I've ever been or seen anything like this happen at a motorsport event before. Gatebil turned from a motorsport into a full blown festival at night. It was incredible. Having multiple live acts from Norwegian rock bands to international DJ's, all coupled with dancers and the odd person jumping up on stage doing backflips or some other random party trick, it really topped off the night.
The beers eventually dried up and sun began giving birth to another day. It's 6am, and walking through the paddock is as quiet as you'd imagine. I took this time just to explore the actual scale of this venue. just as a thick fog began to roll in. Weather here in Norway is like Ireland, only on steroids. One minute it could be sun blazing then the heaviest rain you could imagine the next, quickly followed by a perfect summers evening.
Come 8am, the track is buzzing with the sound of V8's and 2JZ drift cars. It's impressive watching how smoothly Gatebil is run, everything is generally on time, everyone is always ready and the track is constantly being maintained even when it's live.
As you could imagine rules do exist here. One of these rules that's strictly enforced is the noise regulations. Even though the closest town is a solid 20 minute drive away and the track is situated in a forest, the organisers keep a tight 100 decibel limit. Breaking these limits in scrutineering means you either park the car up for the weekend or rig up some redneck contraption that will either solve the noise issue or cause a buildup of pressure and give you that slight chance of killing your engine. Scandinavian countries are incredibly developed. They love keeping their ecological footprint as low as possible. Electric cars, recycling, it's all huge here, so it's kind of surprising that Gatebil is still Gatebil and hasn't either been shut down or smothered in so much bubble wrap that it ends up removing the "Gatebil" element from the event. Needless to say I've never seen such a clean event, there was no rubbish anywhere at any time. Period!
Walking through the paddock, the atmosphere blasts straight through you, from the roaring sound of hundreds of track ready cars, to the constant sound of laughter and music from each booth. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Gatebil is like one big family. The bonds that get created here are unique, not many people that don't have an interest in motorsport would be able to understand our community.
Running straight back onto the track, not literally because that's a straight death wish! Thankfully the weather held off and gave everyone attending the event, the much missed sunshine. With Saturday being wet most of the day, there wasn't much smoke, that is until now. With multiple cars doing constant runs the smoke tends to create a huge lingering wall. It's pretty daunting hearing these cars come into each corner fully committed and not having the slightest idea where they are until they power right past you bouncing off the rev limiter.
Gatebil has a certain style when it comes to the cars that are built purposefully for the event. They're raw, untamed and well, gritty. Some don't look great for a reason. They're built for one intention and that's to get completely obliterated on track. Whether it be blowing the internals up or hitting a wall so hard the chassis twists. This isn't the only thing you will see at Gatebil though. Sultan Al's Monster Energy Nissan S15 is a prime example of this. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little bit of a fan when it comes to Sultan, after meeting him at a few different events and seeing how humble and friendly he is just shows how opening the motorsport community is. His car however is very much different to humble. With the huge twin air filters protruding out of the bonnet (or hood for you Americans) it's pretty much an "in your face" kinda car but damn does it look good!
All in all, Gatebil has been one of the best motorsport events I've ever attended. I'll never forget the trip, the people, the crazy driving and the nightlife. If you ever get a chance or have been thinking about attending Gatebil, do it! Do it right now and you will never regret it! I'd just like to take a quick moment yet again to thank everyone over at Monster Energy for making this happen, without their hospitality this event wouldn't have been as perfect as it has been for me. Gatebil, in the wise words of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator, I'll be back!