Jason Fletcher is coming out of a short retirement to compete at Good Friday Burnout King this Friday at the Perth Motorplex, and he has a reputation to protect.
As a two-time event winner (2016 and 2017), Fletcher and his Nissan Patrol were one of the most popular combinations in the WA burnout scene. However he took a break from the sport in 2019, as other parts of his life took priority.
“I have a HQ Holden I bought about ten years ago, and I told my now-wife Rebecca that we weren’t getting married unless the car was there,” he said. “She said, ‘Best you get in the shed and do something about it!’
“So it was a mad dash. I’ve had the HQ about the same amount of time I have been with her, but I got it back from the paint shop just 32 days before the wedding and got it ready to go.”
With his marriage now underway and the project car complete, Fletcher found that the bright lights of the 2021 Good Friday Burnout King were calling.
“Good Friday is by far my favourite event to skid of all. I’d rather skid Good Friday at the Motorplex than Summernats in Canberra. When you look up into the grandstands and they are completely packed, it’s out of control. It’s pretty much the only event I wanted to come back for.”
Fletcher’s famed Patrol has been gathering dust in his grandmother’s driveway – a far cry from the thousands of screaming fans and tyre smoke of the Motorplex.
“The car has literally been collecting dust, I’ll probably need to chisel it off,” he said. “There has been no changes at all, other than giving it fresh spark plugs, fuel and oil.”
The past Good Friday victories are still fresh in Fletcher’s mind. He said it was hard to tell from the driver’s seat whether or not he had winning performances in previous years.
“Sometimes it it comes as a shock,” he said. “You can’t judge your burnout while you are in it. Sometimes it will feel amazing and I watch the video and I can see stuff I could have done better – or just the opposite.”
Part of Fletcher’s popularity with fans is down to his reputation as a showman. He leaps out of the car amid the tyre smoke at the end of the burnout to perform handstands and cartwheels – anything to get spectators even more revved up. In a sport where money increasingly plays a role, it’s still important to deliver fun.
“I feel like I am there to put on a show, I am not there for the competition. I am there for people paying to sit on the seats,,” he said.
“The cars in the burnout scene have stepped up, and people are spending more money than ever before in setting their car up. A lot of people who might not have even done a skid before are jumping in with great equipment right away. It is still a bogan sport, but it is becoming a little less that way.”
Gates open for Good Friday Burnout King at 2pm, with practice from 3pm and the main show from 5.30pm.
Words: Luke Nieuwhof
Pic: High Octane Photos