It’s a sunny but windy day here in Sydney, Australia. We’re at the new Sydney Motorsport Park, formerly known as Eastern Creek Raceway. With the World Time Attack Challenge (WTAC) underway, cars from all over the world have gathered to race against the clock. With the morning session done and dusted, the current leader is Nemo Racing’s Mitsubishi Evo 9 with an astonishing time of 1:25.74, a whole 3 second faster than the record set by Tarzan Yamada in the Cyber Evo last year.
This two part series on the fourth annual RB Meeting at Nikko is going to be HUGE. I’ve got over 80 filthy shots and plenty to say about one of the best events of the year at the famous circuit; The meeting an absolute must see for any fan worth his/her “RB” branded salt. There were Nissans, some other Nissans and again more Nissans just going at it hell for leather all day and into the evening with the weather playing its part; helping to keep festivities jovial and smoke clouds pouring off tires… Read more
Driving down to the pits of Mallala Raceway; it was hard to contain my excitement, the overwhelming sense of exhilaration surrounded the garages as cars came off their trailers and the days preparations started to begin. Stepping out of my car, the South Australian heat was instantly felt on my face; the overpowering smell of fuel and unmistakable rumble of drift cars lurked in the distance, I could feel the smile on my face widen - ‘it’s going to be a good day’
Safety FIRST; while the drivers were attending the compulsory drivers’ briefing, it was time to set up my resting place for the day! Walking up to the top of grandstand 3; the initial thought going through my head was, ‘Where is my lounge when I need it?’ I soon forgot my seating dilemma when I saw the view of Turn 1 bending into the amazingly cambered Turn 2. Hell yes, I knew this was the spot. 8 hours sitting on a plank of wood for a good view, why not! Not long after I found a comfy position, I heard engines roaring to life like the aural equivalent of dominoes falling in line. Everyone around me started focusing on the ever expanding number of cars lining up for the first warm up session. These runs are usually a bit sketchy as nerves are going crazy and the drivers are getting a feel for the track. Here we were fresh tyres, unmolested engines and a shit load of talent; oh yes. The track was soon filled with screeching tyres, clouds of smoke and an epic amount of limiter bashing – heaven!
After the warm up session, drivers got the chance to refine their setups to be more compatible with the track and weather conditions before the qualifying round took place. While the tools were turning, the spectators had a chance to have a stretch break; I don’t know about others, but I took this opportunity to chase down Mrs Shirl Clarke; the very supportive and devoted mother of driver Davey Clarke. As per usual Shirl was doing her traditional rounds handing out FREE lollipops, that’s right FREE Chupa Chup lollipops and silly me thinking the day couldn’t get any better! After grabbing a handful of candy, it was time to head back to the grandstand as the qualifying round was under way. Lollipops, drifting and being surrounded by genuine people, need I say anymore?
Jake ‘Drift Squid’ Jones had some earlier car troubles which put him 17th in qualifying; however he managed to make a comeback through Wild-card and take out 2nd place in round 3 and 3rd place overall.
Luke Broadbent from Broadbent motorsports was giving a pleasurable show of drifting as per usual. Luke qualified 9th then went up against James Mardle; after a close battle Luke came out on top, next up was Luke & Monkhouse, another tight battle but Monkhouse took the win.
I was extremely impressed with the drifting during the qualifying; actually for once, I was speechless! Drivers were taking corners with precision and carving up the straights with massive smoke shows; the competition nerves were gone along with the rubber on their first set of tyres. I couldn’t imagine the discussions happening between the 3 judges; 36 talented drivers had to be cut down to just 14. However this didn’t mean the end for 16 drivers that just missed out; instead they would be in the ‘Wild Card’ round. For those that are not familiar with how the ‘wild card’ system works, I will give you a quick rundown. Basically, the judges take the scores from qualifying and rank the drivers from highest to lowest; the first 14 automatically go to the next level of the competition. The lower 16 drivers get a chance to battle it out for the available two positions in the final top 16. How good is that? Personally, I am a fan as we all know drifting can be so unpredictable; this gives drivers a second chance to get back in the game.
Local boys Simon Michelmore & Hayden Buckham putting on an intense battle for the crowd, they never fail to impress. Simon had some car issues early in the day but manage to qualify 13th and 6th overall. Hayden qualified 7th and achieved 12th in the championship.
Tom Monkhouse; recently won the G1 round 2, being a crowd favourite the pressure was on! Monkhouse qualified 1st and flew through to the final 4, after a close battle with Jake Jones, Tom was crowned winner of the G1 round 3 and the G1 championship.
STOP! Wild Card time! As explained, this battle is like a competition inside of a competition, if that makes any sense! It’s ran in tandems giving each driver two runs; first leading then following. The battles continued until two drivers were left standing; Michael Symonds & Jake Jones took out 1st and 2nd eliminating the other drivers out of the series. Now that the Wild Card round was finished, it was time for a dinner break & pit walk. Thank God for that, by this stage I had no feeling left in my ass and I wanted to go chat to some locals.
A few sheds were set up with company merchandise; some included Jake Jones ‘Drift Squid’ , Sleeka Spares and Broadbent Motorsports – Shopping at a drift event; whoever came up with this idea is a freaking genius!
Although she didn’t qualify this time, owner of Sleeka Spares Kelly Wong was out hitting the tarmac in her freshly painted A31 Cefiro. Being the only female driver showing the boys how it’s done was a priority. This girl certainly has some moves that would make any man’s jaw drop; her impressive driving techniques combined with her confidence makes for an entertaining session of drifting. I was stoked when I had the opportunity to have a few words with Kelly. It isn’t every day you come across a beautiful female drifter that is so genuine and loves getting out there in a man’s world of sports.
Kelly – “G1 was certainly a blast however a bit sad as it was the final round for the year. I felt very comfortable and confident in the car which I have only been driving since March. I notice a significant improvement in my driving every time I go out and I’m finally over the ‘competition nerves’. I’m really looking forward to the 2012 season, my goal is to make my mark and give the boys a run for their money! I’m hoping to gain some sponsors to make it possible for me to compete in the national competitions next year as well. To all the ladies out there; keep on drifting!”
Drift carnage; a sight that pulls at your heart strings yet the courage and determination of these drivers is what drifting is all about. During the day some epically fast scando’s down the straight into turn one caused a bit of mayhem for a few drivers and unfortunately their cars came out second best. In some of the battles competitors where getting insanely close causing a bit of intimidation which caused a few unwanted spins; the tyre stacks showed no mercy.
“Such is motorsports; drifting sometimes requires a fair amount of blood, sweat & tears; cable ties, race tape & homemade mechanical remedies but most importantly, it requires a determined, passionate & devoted driver to make it all happen.” – Myself.
The final battles; side by side, the drivers get a last minute glimpse at their competitor, the nerves had vanished, the tyres were warm and the process of elimination was about to begin. The crowd were on the edge of their seats as each battle brought the final 4 closer; drivers were getting close to rear quarters and clipping apexes with style. After some seriously intense drifting the top 4 were named; Ben Nash, Tarquin Van Rooyen, Jake Jones & Tom Monkhouse, what an attractive line up for the final battles of the night! Each driver put in 100% and impressed the crowd with their form, in the end it was clear Monkhouse took the victory.
The day had sadly come to a close; I was sun burnt, sore and in a strange mood due to being over tired but as per usual it was completely worth it and I am already excited for the 2012 series. A big round of applause for everyone that took part in organizing such a great event, all the sponsors and media; it wouldn’t happen without your involvement.
I would like to take a moment to express my thanks to the incredible photographers for supplying their photos; your efforts and passion for the sport of drifting is evident in the pictures you take, I am sure I speak for everyone when I say, your time and talent is appreciated. If you’d like to check out more photo coverage of the G1, check out the links to these amazing photographers below!
Also a big THANKS to Mrs Jenna Michelmore for organizing the ‘Charity ride’ competition; round 3′s charity was the wonderful Flicks Cat Rescue & Adoption, two lucky winners got a drift lap with Kelly Wong & Davey Clarke; I am sure this is a donation they will never forget!
Flicks R&A has some freaking adorable kitties that need homes; check it, buy one & call it Tofu! – Flicks Rescue & Adoption
If you were unable to attend the event; check out this video made by the talented Scott Mitchell - http://vimeo.com/32133182
Some of Australia’s most talented drifters call South Australia home, so when I heard the G1’s final round was being held in the small town of Mallala SA, I knew I had to be there to witness some of the best drifting in Australia and the G1 certainly delivered the goods. The devotion and support that surrounds the drivers is surreal; family, friends & sometimes strangers put in a sensational amount of effort into these events! Be sure to check out an event at Mallala, you will not be disappointed.
G1 Round 3 results
1st – Tom Monkhouse
2nd Jake Jones
3rd – Tarquin Van Rooyen
4th – Ben Nash
For more information on the up & coming G1 series visit www.mallala.com
The JDM car culture; through the eyes of a woman!
Words – Riki-lee Kazumi
Photos – Above mentioned photographers
From the moment you arrive in Kuala Lumpur, you see nothing but Protons and Peroduas. But in the right place, at the right time and suddenly you are overwhelmed by what you can see. But once in these little oasis areas you feel the joy of seeing hundreds of JDM cars packed together. A little slice of Japanese automotive heaven in hot and humid Kuala Lumpur. From this clean Mitsubishi Evolution VI to an immaculate workshop, which we will be showing more of later, Kuala Lumpur has it all. Check out the wheels on that R34.
Melbourne, Victoria Australia. Home to many Australian drifters and host of the Australian Drifting Grand Prix (ADGP) Round #1 at the Calder Park Thunderdome.
Some of the best Australian drifters gathered over the weekend at the Thunderdome for a new exciting series to the Australian Motorsport calendar.
Last weekend hundreds of punters converged at the massive car park at the Western Sydney International Dragway… Read more
The grassroots scene is a different world in Japan and far removed from the corporate grip of big race weekends. It’s relaxed, playful and above all else communal. That’s a good thing because grassroots events like the one I attended at Fuji Speedway recently reminded me just how interconnected people are through the sports they love on all levels… Read more
The whole week running up to the 24 hour race at the Nurburgring is one big automotive festival. With parades in the streets of Adenau, Porsche Carrera Worldcup races and plenty of other support races on the track, drifting could not be left out to complete the party. The Mullenbachschleife on the Grandprix section of the Nurburgring turned into a smoking piece of Eiffel when the cars started sliding and the roar of the fans became louder than the cars itself. Read more
Don’t let the photos fool you. We may have been clowning around but Keiichi Tsuchiya is the man to talk to when it comes to “keeping drift fun” and 7tune has this world exclusive interview with him on the plans taking shape for the future of drift in Japan… Read more
Drift Matsuri is an event held thrice a year in Japan. Literally translated it means “drift festival”. For 36 straight hours; that’s right, non-stop drifting and social events. It’s commonly held on the Ebisu Circuit (split into many courses) which is in the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan over a weekend.
There can be close to 400 over cars at the event and is one of the few events that recognise the large number of foreign drifters living in Japan. It even has a special G1 GP competition for the foreigners!
It’s a rare event to see so many pro drifters (in their own practise cars) and amateurs rubbing shoulders together in the same place. And everyone is there for the same purpose, to perfect the art of drifting, to have fun and to share the love of drifting.
For a visitor to Japan and a JDM car nut, you have to visit this festival once in your lifetime. It usually happens in Spring (May), Summer (Aug) and Autumn (Nov). If you don’t have a car, then don’t worry! Because you can always rent a drift car from Powervehicles.com, who sometimes have ex-GP cars for sale on their website.
If you’re looking for a serious motorsport event with score cards and the like, then this event is NOT for you. The Drift Matsuri was started to appreciate the art of drifting, the inherent beauty of a car going sideways, accompanied by the raucous sound of popping exhausts and the intoxicating smell of burnt rubber. It’s about the spectacle of the event, it’s about the entertainment that it provides. Drift Matsuri isn’t about trophies (although they are given out) or who has the best car. It is ONLY about drifting. You can turn up in a old AE86 with rust everywhere and still enjoy the event. There are minimal egos and instead great appreciation and camaraderie.
If you haven’t been before, please go and check it out.
An awesome video of this Autumn’s Drift Matsuri held on the Ebisu tracks.
This is a video that Remi Schouten did, you can find his blog here: http://okidokyo.com
My buddy Chris Conley and I headed out at 4am with his lovey girlfriend Justina and a bunch of mutual friends from the Gaijin Smash group to a drift event out at Nikko circuit a little while ago. Like the others in the group, Chris is a damn good driver and knows how cars behave; spanking them into line with clutch kicks and stabs at the throttle if they don’t… Read more
The 2010 Autumn Drift Matsuri is coming up in the second week of November and I thought these shots were a perfect example of the lunacy that takes place… Read more
The Summer Drift Matsuri ended as soon as it had begun and November is already almost upon us. Less than 9 weeks separates us from the Autumn Matsuri and yet it still seems so far away for anyone who has been… Read more
Andrew Sunderland is the guy people might not tend to notice much at parties. The quintessential unassuming type, Andrew would even be hard to spot among a sea of Japanese natives, such is the modesty this Aussie embodies. But behind the wheel you better lookout – this is a guy that simply monsters angle… Read more