Monday, 6 February 2012

The 2012 Ben Simpson Memorial Cruise

Some photos from a cruise last weekend, held every year as tribute to the organiser's son Ben, who tragically took his own life in February 2005 at just 19 years of age.

His parents, Mark and Julie, have a website offering help for anyone struggling with  depression and suicidal thoughts, and work hard to raise awareness about depression, mental illness and youth suicide.

They have another website directed at people who have lost a loved one, about dealing with grief:

Here's the obituary from their site.

 Benjamin Marcus Ross Simpson
(Ben, Benny, Simo, Bruce)
 Born:  6th April 1985
Died:  1st February 2005

 RIP dr1ft_pig13 (Ben) - Always Remembered
 On the 1st February 2005 Ben aka (dr1ft_pig13) decided to leave this world forever.
He was a healthy, happy, fit 19yr old.
In any Australian state, you may see his memorial stickers on the back of imported/drift cars, they say:

 (RIP dr1ft_pig13 always remembered)

More than
2900 of these free RIP stickers have been distributed.
 Ben had a passion for imported cars (esp Nissan) and drifting.

This was the love of Ben's life; his Nissan Silvia S13 modified, kitted and "of course" Black

Here is the thread posted on the Nissan Silvia forums, of which Ben was an active member, following his death:

I don't think I actually met Ben in person, but it's a very moving thread to read.

The cruise raises money for The Compassionate Friends, a group for parents who have lost a child or loved one to suicide:

Depression can be a largely 'invisible illness', with no obvious symptoms in many cases. At the same time, people who have something obvious like the flu get a lot more attention and sympathy, because the effects are clear for all to see, despite being a very brief and minor ailment, in comparison to crippling depression and anxiety disorders. Every case is different, but males tend to show less, or even no signs of being suicidal and chronically depressed.

For more information, the Beyond Blue website has an excellent range of materials covering all aspects of the disease: Reading some of the helpful suggestions, as well as stories from people of all ages, could be helpful in knowing what some of the warning signs are, or understanding how a severely depressed mind works.

This page has a big list of links to articles and other sites:

There are plenty of other chronic illnesses and diseases which do not manifest in a physically obvious manner as well. For instance, due to my gastroparesis, I've been unable to eat any food whatsoever since early October 2010. But apart from looking rather thin, it's unlikely that strangers would pick up that I have a pretty catastrophic medical condition. One which would put me in hospital within a day if I stopped receiving water and liquid nutrient feed through my jejunostomy tube, which I get pumped through my intestinal tract for 20 hours a day, every day.

However, I have a relatively mild version of gastroparesis compared to other sufferers; some of whom need multiple organ transplants, and can only be fed via TPN, which puts nutrients directly into the bloodstream. This video, made by a young American gastroparesis patient Megan, shows the variety of people affected, some in much more obvious ways than others.

Moving on to the car photos...

With the front suspension in Daniel's Pintara on the way out, we spent a bit of time swapping the coilovers in preparation for the cruise that afternoon.

Our cars mid-afternoon, before the cruise.

With the cruise leaving West Lakes Mall at 7:30, we headed out around 7:15,  underneath some rather ominous looking dark clouds.

I was pretty excited about going on this cruise, as it's always a big one. Since buying my Ceffy in April 2010, I'd never been well enough at the right time to go on a proper cruise in it, so I was very much looking forward to partaking in the event.

Rolling up into the car park was an awesome sight, with tons of cool cars lined up row after row. The majority were Japanese imports, with everything from old Datsuns to new RX8s turning up, and even a Lamborghini Gallardo and old Volvo with airbag suspension for something a little different.

This is one of the nicer R31s I've seen, looks very tough with the dished meshies and sizable front mount.

I think I need to work on my reverse parking skills.

Clean JZX100s are always nice. Prach has one, but it was at a workshop being partially resprayed.

Since there were so many awesome cars and we arrived late, I passed off my D90 to Prach to take some photos from the upper level car park, while I hurriedly rattled off shots of the other cars.

This scene would usually make any import driver soil themselves, but there was some great co-operation with the police for this cruise; basically going on the premise that if people drove sensibly and didn't have mods too ridiculous, they would refrain from handing out defect stickers.

Cefiros are pretty thin on the ground these days as street cars, so it was cool to see a couple of other ones besides mine.

I've always had a thing for R34 sedans, and this was a very tidy example.

This Ceffy looked good with a nice kit and rims.

Not long after we arrived, organiser Mark Simpson called all the participants around to give a brief rundown of where the cruise was going, how long it would be, and how the horde of police bikes would be escorting us the whole way.

It was time to head off, and everyone headed back to their cars. It was pretty cool hearing so many different engines cranking and firing, as everyone slowly filed out of West Lakes.

While the clouds had been threatening for a while, as soon as I started up my car, it began to rain.

One of the motorbike cops had the road blocked to allow everyone to drive out as quickly as possible. I was driving so Prach took some photos as we made our way onto Tapleys Hill Road and headed south.

This clean blue S15 was sitting just right.

This particular R31 sees a lot of track time, with numerous battle scars to show for it.

Fortunately the rain didn't last too long, and dried up as we headed further south towards Meadows. We were probably driving in the middle of the pack, and by the time we got to the main street of the town, there were already parked cars lining both sides of the road for hundreds of metres, which was a cool sight.

I managed to squeeze in behind Daniel's Pintara, which was parked behind a white S15 and Stagea.

With a planned 20 minute stopover, there was a bit of time to walk down the street, enjoying the sights and sounds as loads of cars burbled past.

Stageas are getting pretty popular these days, and this late model example looked nice and tough.

Jumping back into the car, we continued on a big loop of the Adelaide Hills, passing through various townships including Macclesfield and Mount Barker before making another short stop in Birdwood. With such a huge number of cars attending, winding through the hills roads was pretty spectacular, with headlights and tail-lights stretching out as far as the eye could see in both directions.

 After burning through a substantial portion of my petrol over the 3 hour cruise, we pulled up in the St. Agnes shopping centre car park. Although some cars didn't stop at the end point, there were still heaps of cool rides to look at.

After hanging around for a while taking photos and chatting to people, I headed home, worn out but happy with how the night went.

The cruise ended up raising $1292.70 for the Compassionate Friends. A big thank you to Mark for organising a great cruise for such an important cause.


  1. Rohan
    Our personal and sincere thanks for this post

    Julie & Mark Simpson
    "aka dr1ft_pig13 OLDS"

  2. You blog has mixed emotions. I think this is one good spot to hang out when your depressed.