Earlier this year the first round of B1 Drift was held high in the snow blown mountains in less than ideal weather conditions and the event organisers’ hopes of a sunny day for round two were dashed once again, or perhaps washed away would be a better way of putting it.
The second round was held at Suzuka Twin circuit in rather wet and muddy conditions, the sort of stuff that keeps entry speeds and crowd numbers down but impressively the crowd figures still managed to climb to around nine hundred as drift enthusiasts made the trip out to fill the gallery area and cheer on the sixty entries. Overall, impressive numbers for what was a really great day for staying in bed. But bad weather wasn’t going to stop the fun and in true Brazilian style the organisers just fired up the barbecues, got the music playing and revved up their engines for some drift action.
The wet track meant the practice session was always going to be entertaining as the combination of slippery surfaces and turbocharged cars usually means lots of uncontrolled wheelspin. Many early attempts at the corners resulted in plenty of car ballet but it’s consistency that makes the difference between a good driver and a winning driver and the changing weather conditions made being consistent hard to do. At times the track would be well soaked with puddles littering the place as rain hammered down, while other times a dry line would appear. Getting the right entry speed was a challenge and slower entry speeds into the main corner made for lower scores from the judges. Too much speed usually ended with splattering waves of mud being sent through the air as cars exited the track. What didn’t help was the choice of a difficult scoring line by the judges and running the track in reverse for the semi-pros, just to mix things up a bit.
After the practice sessions were over it was time to get down to business and once again the beginner and intermediate classes were judged on single car runs while the semi-pro class consisted of ‘battle’ runs. One skilled bit of driving on the day was from number twenty-three, the white Toyota Soarer, when the driver pulled a nice pass on the bright yellow number twenty-seven Silvia. The Soarer managed to scrape by on the inside of the Silvia with just inches between them.
With the event all but over it was time to present the winners with their prizes and the traditional soaking in cold water. Taking the win in the semi-pro category was Key Takanohashi, making it two for two now and giving him a great lead over his competitors in the championship. Despite the miserable weather the event was still a success and quite enjoyable to watch. It would be a nice change to have a sunny day for the next round though. One enjoyable part of Brazilian-organised events is the atmosphere a large crowd brings so some carnival-friendly weather would be welcomed by all. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Words: Matt Lindsay
Images: Matt Lindsay