Starting Off On The Right Foot | Matty Ferguson’s Honda S2000

Finally. I get to write a feature after the 23 months consisting of Japan stuff, a load of event coverage, a brief bit about an MX-5 specialist and his R33 GT-R, some more car shows, and most recently the introduction of Civik. So yeah, alot has occurred since my last and debut feature I decided to kategorize as a ‘Fokal Point’ article, which some of you might remember involving Josh Harbour and his R32 GT-R. If not, you can catch up on that here.

One of, if not the primary, reasons for me signing up to a WordPress subsription and purchasing a web domain was that I wanted to be able to share my experiences on this planet as a carboy. But I’ve always known – even if not consciously – that the reason magazines and online blogs appealed to me so much were the inspirational glimpses of the people behind the assembly of metal, glass, rubber and plastic.

Yeah, the cars are cool and all that, but the journey people go through alongside their personalised mode of transport is what always captured and captivated my attention. At the end of the day, our vehicles are just the medium through which we convey our feelings brought on by how the car drives or what the vehicle represents.

So when Hamza and I were taking a stroll along the paddock of Croft Circuit during Mimms Honda Day in July of this year, I nearly twisted my vertebrae beyond repair when my eyes were magnetically drawn to Matty’s Honda S2000. The way the car just sat there next to a bright red Audi R8 and managed to detract all of the German supercar’s presence, I knew instantly this roadster deserved more than a one-take glance.

The upload count of shots posted up in the threepart blog should provide clear indication of how much of my interest was piqued by this two-seat Honda from 1999. After the show was done and over with, going through the images from that day, I realised how much Matty’s S2000 stood out to me.

Why, you might be wondering?

Well, I’m gonna let the photos show you exactly why this S2000 is an up-and-coming build that’s about to get even sicker than it already is.

We’d arranged to meet in his hometown near Darlington, somewhere I’ve only been once, and that was for a company training workshop, but that’s besides the point.

I scoped out a location to shoot Matty’s car in that wasn’t too far from where he was based. Early that morning I headed straight to our agreed meeting point, where I was having a little pre-shoot scout. Matty messaged me and invited me to his house as he was still cleaning up the motor since he didn’t find the time to the night before.

I drove over to his, parked my car up and we chit-chatted as he went over his favourite points on the car.

Turns out the evening before that morning was a bit of a episode involving Matty’s friend’s seized brake caliper off of his Mini Cooper S. He almost thought his bone was broken/fractured in his ankle, due to a caliper piston rewind tool going haywire from being used in conjunction with an impact drill (not recommended).

It is what it is though, shit does and will happen. We weren’t working to a strict schedule or nothing, it was a Saturday after all, and I think 8am on a weekend is like 6am on a weekday, so early enough as is.

An S2000 is a highly-versatile chassis, and that is mostly down its outright good-looks. You don’t have to do much to the car in the cosmetics department, since Honda’s designers did a grand job on perfecting the exterior of the car to a point where there isn’t an angle from which you’ll grow tired from looking at it.

Matty informed me of the date he took ownership of his 2005 model-year, hardtop S2000, and I was kinda taken aback by how recent I’d thought it was: June 2020. For some reason, I felt as if the car had been carefully crafted over a longer period of time, going through a couple phases before this one. But, no. Matty bought the Honda in factory trim, still wearing its original coats of Silverstone Metallic, with the only visible modification being a K&N Cone Air Filter.

The S2000 has always appeared cartoonish when viewed from the front, head-on. It’s as if the design engineers intentionally gave the car a personable character.

Now, there’s not much to say about Matty’s car, and that’s in no way me being dismissive, of course. The fact I don’t need to say much about the car, theres’s no need for me to be throwing all these fancy adjectives up just for you to take more notice of the details, so that in and of itself speaks more volume than I ever could. I mean, if you can’t appreciate this awfully simplistic method of modifying, then maybe you’re expecting too much.

Understandably so, with the amount of things we’re bombarding ourselves with via social media, you can’t help but be desensitized to anything that’s truly relatable. Until, perhaps, you stumble across something like this car for the first time ever, IRL, no filter, no bullshit promo, no hashtags. Just a real enthusiast showing how he likes his cars by putting together an example that is undeniably well-finished.

Obviously, I don’t mean finished in the literal sense, as whilst I was snapping away with my DSLR on this random research building’s carpark, Matty told me of his vision and this is most definitely not that, yet.

But let’s stick with what we have in the present.

What exactly are we all looking at here?

The “elephant in the room”, for me anyways, certainly has to be the non-Honda body colour. Initially, I’d assumed the “Tahitian Green Pearl” paint code was nabbed from the CR-Xs and EF/EG Civics, and pasted all over the S2000’s panels, but that colour is much more vibrant in retrospect. This shade of blue-green remains quite deep and subdued under direct sunlight, and frankly, the Honda pulls off Emerald Green miles better than the sourced-from Citroen C4 Cactus ever could.

By the way, the colour change was the very first alteration Matty chose to make to his car once he became its rightful owner. Although, from what he told me, it was a bit of a nightmare back-and-forth scenario with the bodyshop not completing the job to a standard you’d expect for the respray of a modern classic sports-roadster. Putting the past aside, the car’s bodywork was of course refinished properly and retrieved back to the hands of its owner for further tweaks to be made.

Fortunately, the low-hanging fog that morning muted all but our immediate surroundings, and the photos came out better than I’d imagined they would. I’m going to come across as arrogrant, but I have to admit that this is the best work I’ve produced thus far in my life as a person with a camera.

Back to the subject in fokus…

Once Matty got his whip back in the home garage, the tone was set for him to begin riffing off and enhance what was already at that point a great-looking car in its new lick of paint.

S2000s weren’t all that tip-toey off the showroom floor with their factory-spec suspension and ride height. Most definitely not as bad as a standard MX-5, but still, there’s always far too much tyre-to-arch clearance with standard cars, unless you’re buying a 911 GT3 or similar.

Matty selected a set of coilovers made by MeisterR, a company that has bases in the UK & USA. The choice Zeta CRDs have brought the ride height to a very acceptable distance to the ground, and tightened up the existing well-balanced chassis giving the driver just enough tactile feedback without compromising usability on the road, helped by the 9kg(F) & 7kg(R) spring rates.

By the way, the owner isn’t some up-and-coming YouTube sensation or a Forex trader’s prodigy. Yeah he’s a young guy in his early 20’s, but he’s still studying part-time whilst working a full-time job in the civil engineering sector. And he hasn’t rolled his car into a garage, tossed them the keys and demand for them to turn it into some kind of Insta-famous riceboi machine. Matty and his pals have all chipped in and carried out the work themselves, that includes fine tuning the suspension to get it cock-on without the tyre chafing against the inner arches and busting a tyre.

So, as you can see, not much is “going on” under the bonnet where the F20C engine resides. Time and resource will eventually come around for the owner to invest some of his attention to the powertrain, but all in good time. As it sits currently, the only alterations made to the engine are its Invidia Q300 catback stainless exhaust system allowing the F-series to emit it’s waste gases freely, but keeping the neighbours happy(ish) with a high-flow catalytic converter made by Berk Technology / Magnaflow.

Oh yeah, and if you didn’t spot it, an oil cap from Spoon Sports keeps a lid on things.

As Matty propped up the vented OEM bonnet, immediately grasping my attention was this piece sitting right on top of the Koyorad “Half-Size” aluminium thick-core radiator. If you’ve followed my Civik blog series, you’ll know that I was a bit miffed how my J’s Racing pressure cap wouldn’t fit onto my Koyorad rad. I was baffled as to how Matty’s fits and why I don’t have the same luck as him, haha 😦

15+ year old rubber most likely were not in the best of condition, so Matty went and chucked on some Spoon Sports polymer hoses for piece of mind.

I can imagine those of you who happen to be S2000 owners too, are interested in Matty’s choice of wheel and their fitment.

And if you happen not to show intrigue, are you okay? The flow-formed RG-D2 wheels by Yokohama Advan are a difficult option to discount when configuring your dream build, regardless of the chassis, they look great on everything! Matty chose to fit up a set of staggered 17″ wheels, 8J at the front, with 9J in the back, offsets measuring ET44 and ET45 respectively.

And I can’t not mention one of the greatest tread patterns of all time, courtesy of the Yokohama Rubber Company. AD08RS compound has been equipped to deal with everything input by the hands and feet of the driver, matching up to the staggered wheel sizing with 225/45 and 245/40 tyre specifications.

The Advan wheels’s polished lips gleam as they offset the Racing Hyper Black spoke faces.

Efforts have been made by Matty to ensure that the car appears as low as possible, without giving off that “stancey wanker” vibe. He’s done a damn good job if you ask me.

How is this car still relevant as ever? Honda, bring back an affordable high-performance FR two-seat sportscar, please, before you go all “Greenpeace” on us petrol-junkies.

Back onto the subject of the aero trim applied to the exterior of the car. A carbon fibre ducktail partly left bare to exposed the weave when viewed from the rear, carbon fibre sideskirt extensions made for an FD3S RX-7, and the smoothed OEM “AP2” front bumper & original lip spolier. A Voltex rear diffuser made of CFRP wasn’t in the best of shape so Matty chose to remove it from the car in case the damage went any further, but you can see it photographed here, if you so please.

Without sounding cliche, sitting passenger whilst Matty directed the S2000 through fast and slow B-road bends, I could sense a link between man and machine where both were in harmony as G-forces pulled the ~1270kg mass dynamically whilst the four tyres maintained grip throughout.

I jumped out the car to take a few panning shots as Matty zipped past me on a country lane. Thought I’d get some practice shots in with the local wildlife behind me.

The car isn’t crazily loud, but it sings a tune you wouldn’t want any other way.

When something looks as good as it goes, a sense of temporary bliss comes into effect. This was one of those moments.

Before we called it quits, Matty suggested a cool photo-opp spot not too far out in the countryside.

We drove up to a pair of electric gates that opened automatically, rolled right through all the way down this long-ass driveway, realising that we may or may not have been trespassing, haha.

We weren’t doing no one any harm, so I got Matty to position the roadster in the middle of this random household’s driveway, and let the shutter release.

Next thing we know, a lady in a new Land Rover Defender enters the premises and I’m thinking we’re about to get booted out or maybe worse! But Matty must have done some sweet-talking as I heard her compliment the Honda that was on her private property. She was 100% cool with us being there, we kept off the grass, and that was that, she just carried on for another 5-miles (exagerrating lol) to her doorstep.

Buddyclub LED Sequential Tailights complete the rear-end without over-doing it. To be honest, it’s probably not far off a “modern-day” interpretation of the S2000, similar to what we saw at TAS 2020 with Honda’s 20th Anniversary Concept, only this has nicer wheels…

That’s all I have to say about Matty’s S2000 right now. It doesn’t “break the internet” (yet) nor does it need to (yet). I’m positively sure that the evolution of this vehicle is in its infancy under the careful and particular owner.

Keep an eye out, is all I need to say, both right here on soulfokus.net and Matty’s IG @mattyfer5.

| B O N U S G A L L E R Y |

As Below, So Above | Mimms Honda Day 2021 @ Three Sisters Circuit

September is usually the month that can’t decide whether it’s done with summer, or isn’t yet ready for autumn. It’s like that transition period between good times in not-bad weather, and the kold seasons of hibernation and/or winter projects. The ninth month of the years also happens to be suitable timing for an “end-of-show-season” show. Dav and co. came back up north to Three Sisters Circuit in Wigan to put on exactly that.

With the Civik being “fully” road-ready with its recently calibrated ECU courtesy of Jesse ‘JCal’ Halford, the event was an opportunity for me to give the car a proper-ish shakedown. So on 26th September, over to Lancashire I went, camera gear and Arai lid in hand, to check out what Hondas other Northerners would bring out to the show.

You might have spotted the title and are wondering what I mean by it. Well, I’m gonna have to admit that maybe until only recently – say, a few months ago – I had a pretty cynical and negative view of the “scene” here in the north end of England. I’ve always had a somewhat bleak perception of how cars are modified up these ways. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware that high-quality builds do exist, but I still do think they’re either few and far between, or they just don’t really see the light of day that often.

It’s been a classic case of “greener grass on the other side” and all the sick cars I’ll see online based in the UK, will be down south, up in Scotland, or over in Ireland. I’d say my awareness has expanded, especially since the Mimms event put on at Croft. For years, all I’ve ever really consumed in terms of car-related information has been via the worldwide-web. The events and meets I’ve attended locally haven’t really ever blown me away. I mean, there’d be a few cool things that I’d never seen before and happen to be owned by someone in a neighbouring city/county, but I dunno, here in the UK not many people have the disposable income to invest into their builds (or the patience to save up funds). But this also makes me appreciate those that do have the persistence and patience to hold onto their hard-earned money for those genuine parts, instead of blowing it all on shoddy rep wheels and eBay bodykits.

That leads me on to this nigh-on perfect example of a pre-facelift EP3 Civic Type R.

I hold my head in shame for not taking more photos of this, as it was undeniably one of the cleanest seventh-gens I’ve ever laid eyes on.

EP3 is a chassis code synonymous with the UK Honda scene, unsurprisingly, as the car was assembled on our nation’s land. Unfortunately, a lot of them are either hideous thanks to the owners’ and their bad choices in modifications, or the sills have shit themselves beyond repair.

At Mimms, it was nice to come across one that the owner truly cared about, and it showed. I’m sure the owner told me the odometer read around 80,000 miles, but the paint looks like it’s got half that figure on it.

K-Tuned dress-up bits all over the K20A2.

I booked a 20-minute track session as soon as I parked up in the back corner of the car park (can’t blame Mimms staff for putting me there, the paint was/still is a shambles). Whilst I waited until it was my time to put the stock suspension to the test on the go-kart track, I went for a stroll and browsed the show-and-shine stand.

Carl Plant’s EG Civic has a trick or two up under its bonnet, so don’t let that mellow Carnival Yellow paint fool you.

The car’s front end features moderately aggressive modifications consisting of a Mugen lip, custom canards and foglight blanking plates, along with the classic swap-in of the JDM amber-indicators.

Uber-rare rims made by Work Wheels back in whatever decade, these Pietra Corse items are JDM gold dust no doubt! Looking at other sets online, they featured a centre hub cover that resembled a centre-lock nut, so I’m guessing these are from the mid-to-late 1990s.

Dunno if that was litter or the owner was saving his drink for later?

Pretty unsuspecting interior with a pair of blue Recaro SR4 recliners *hint hint*…

…and a Spoon Sports steering wheel. But peep that AFR gauge made by AEM to the right-hand side of the steering column.

Oh, and the wastegate exit-pipe showing it’s teardrop-shaped tip out the bonnet’s matching cut-out.

This FF terror in fact moves under K-series power. Not only that, but the engine conversion has been treated to a few more molecules of available oxygen by way of a Pulsar GT3071R turbocharger, effectively doubling the stock K20 output to ~400bhp @ 13psi.

I can imagine this boosted EG wakes the driver up better than any type of caffeine-containing beverage can.

On the subject of EG Civics, Nav brought out his Bayside Blue K-swapped hatchback.

If you also thought that yellow one was sleeper status, this one is a proper under-the-radar build.

Sparco L999 wheel with thumb-positioned horn buttons gives me that nostalgic 2000s feeling. Only just pictured in the same frame is the Pioneer Carozzeria double-DIN headunit with the remote control resting in a vent-mount.

OZ Futura Monoblocks are being rocked in a 17″ sizing under car, and they don’t look bad for a size-up wheel setup.

GReddy decal on the hatch representing the Supreme tailpipe exiting below the rear bumper.

Elmo wasn’t ready for the ‘TEC.

I believe Nav has since let the car go to a new owner, but this scale model will remain in his hands as a memory of the modern classic Honda he put together.

A few Mugen-looking bits on this DC5 Integra Type R.

The morning started off good, only to be made great once I saw Mr. Restomod Compulsion’s NA1 NSX parked – by default – in the show & shine line-up.

Voltex wing sits sky-high atop the custom-CNC’d stands.

Real rekognise real.

Pearly whites break up the deep black bodywork.

The angle of attack of the wing has been intentionally crafted with knife-edge precision. Not too tall, with just enough rake.

Stainless exhaust tubes visible thanks to the modified rear bumper and the minimalist diffuser set-up with its carbon fibre support rods.

VIP-style elements in the interior with the Junction Produce leather neck pad cushions. Seems he’s associated with the bloods, too.

Gold sticker = winner winner.

Moving on (it was difficult) from the NSX, here we have a CR-X VTi with nothing much going on, except…

… a snail to provide that supplemental kick up the arse.

Half-size radiator must be doing a good enough job to keep coolant temps in check, even with a load of boost chucked into the mix.

I like how the owner just strapped the turbo onto a custom manifold and left nearly everything else in sight stock. Even the location of the oil catch can is subtle enough to go by unnoticed.

This driver looks like he took a detour through Racoon City.

Wouldn’t normally pay much attention to an FN2 – unless maybe if it happened to be a Mugen 20 – but I like it when video games are used as inspiration for car modification.

Geeky, I know.

The vegans of the automotive community, haha.

Emotion XT7 in bronze WORK well on this OEM+ DC5.

Bonnet was missing, so I went over to have a nosey in the bay.

EP3 electric power steering conversion was odd, but each to their own, eh? It kinda cleans up the frontmost part of the engine bay, to be fair.

First and only big whoops that occurred on track that day.

I’ll insert this interlude amongst all the Honda content.

Mimms Honda Day magnetizes quality, regardless of manufacturer.

The original Gojira can’t get turned away, that would be plain silly.

Not like Mimms would turn anybody away, but the carpet has to get rolled out for JDM royalty.

Nardi Personal Neo Grinta sits centre stage in the driver’s position.

White armor, bronze gauntlets.

Okay, back to regular programming.

A pretty clean second-gen CR-X pictured, with its owner in the right of the frame. Glad he went out on track for a little play, after all, Hondas are for driving!

I had to scratch my head a bit after recognizing the plate on this EK. Turns out I saw it the month before at Japanese Performance Show! Looks kool, especially seeing what it sports under the bonnet. Ride height is also very korrect.

Not a bad choice of wheel, even if I do say so myself. Brakes look a bit dwarfed behind those 16″s though.

Business up front…

… business out back, too, from the looks of it, with the busy busy half-cage rigged up behind the Corbeau fixed-back driver’s seat and OEM passenger chair.

Atleast he’s doing it right running disc brakes in the rear, whereas I’ve left the original drum brakes in place on the Civik.

Old boy brought out his pride and joy, a BB8 Prelude VTi with that fancy four-wheel steering.

I’m not a Prelude nerd or anything, I learned what chassis code the car was based on from looking at the VIN plate rivetted right on top of the front cross member.

Coating on the heatshield looks factory fresh!

Stay klassy…

… or not.

Olly Ward made an appearance, this time entering his EG3 Civic into show & shine.

A 15 inch wheel that’ll look as good as TE37s do on anything, prove me wrong.

The guy leaning on Olly’s Honda is not Olly. I don’t know if Olly was friends with him or what, but the guy obviously has no manners, as he just interrupts me having a convo with Olly.

I won’t say much about this car, because I’m planning on leaving that for a full feature that’s yet to be shot whenever the stars align and the shit weather pisses off.

Self-fulfilling prophecy, as Olly’s Civic DX went on to win the award for best wheels IIRC.

Spoon N1 not looking as disgraceful as the one on the Civik.

Mine melted the rear bumper, so it has hardened plastic stuck to it. I’ve since lowered the tailpipe using rubber hanger mounts with wider hole spacing.

Hopefully see more of this machine and its owner in the near future.

Classic by design.

Plenty Personal steering wheels fitted to a lot of the cars at the show, what is this like the fourth one now???

Very OG 57CR by RAYS’ Gram Lights brand.

Other than the black NSX you saw earlier, this DC2 Integra Type R wore a set of Desmond Regamaster EVO wheels in Satin Black.

The car let off a very aggressive vibe, shame the driver took off so soon as I didn’t see it hang about for long.

OEM Recaro SR3 seats retained whilst TRS harnesses are hooked up to anchor points behind.

The only EF that caught my eye at the show.

Could it have been the OZ Racing split rims with gold centres and plain lips…

…or maybe it was just the ShirtTuckedIn decal on the rear side-window.

Whatever it was, it looked damn spiffy.

That time came around quick, where Dav picks up the mic and announces the award-winning contestants.

I’m shit at remembering names, but congrats to you, Restomod-Man, and your NSX taking the prize home yet again for 2021.

As the show started to wind down after the awards ceremony, I made a B-Line for the reception to book yet another track sesh in the Civik.

Check out the clip of some of the good laps from the day 🙂

A few FD2 Civic Type Rs came out to represent the 4-door VTEC klub.

FEEL’s stainless muffler tucked under all cosy beneath the FEEL’s rear diffuser with integrated LED fog/rainlight.

Infinite Power.

18″ CE28 by RAYS Volk Racing with polished lip guarding the Brembo caliper and disc assembly.

Under the cloudy sky, Premium Purple Pearl didn’t look as great as it could.

A lad in another red (actually red, should I say) EK hatch was lapping the carpark trying to find a spot, and he kept eyeing up my car and the empty space beside it. He eventually pulls up beside mine whilst I’m sat in the car charging my phone before I hit the track so that I was able to pair up my Hondata app to monitor coolant and oil temps whilst giving it a rip. He approaches me and for whatever reason sensed that there was something amiss with mine, so I popped the bonnet and revealed the non-surprise (I mean, it’s a K-swap, it’s kinda expected in this day and age).

Seeing someone else get excited about the Civik – whom I’d known for about 35 seconds – was cool, especially considering the sorry state the exterior was/is in. But, then again, it’s what lies beneath skin-deep that matters most, and Hondas are renowned for their inner workings. I’m going to begin the chassis/suspension enhancements in 2022, to start tapping into that FF potential.

Hope you enjoyed the read and pics, continue for more!

| B O N U S G A L L E R Y |

Sittin’ Sideways | UKDC @ Teeside Autodrome 2021

Lets end on a smokey note. I’ll keep the chat to a minimum, so you can just enjoy the photos!

By the way, I will be setting up a booth this coming weekend for Drift Matsuri, selling framed photo prints along with some stickers for you to rep!

Martin Wonnacott and his Chaser Tourer V set it off as one of the first out the gate in qualifying.
This photo was obviously not taken during qualifying, as Steve Biagioni is following Stefan Stefanov’s smoke trail. I was just eager to post this edit up early on, would make a good billboard eh?
Michael Bennett with a swift entry in his supercharged E36.
Didn’t get his name but this marshall was a cool guy. Danny Whyman’s S13 rear bumper safely kaptured and ready to collect before battles commence.
Almost right-angling with the lock!
Can’t tell if dropping a wheel, or just squatting as a result of the billion foot-pounds of torque on tap.
Another good-looking JZX100, this one driven by Karl Farrar.
Kouki…
or zenki???
This car looked pretty bare in comparison to its current full-livery state.
Ryan Hughes’ S14 gets top marks for aesthetic in my book.
When Tom Van Beek passes by, its commitment through and through.
Mad by name, mad by nature.
Meet and Greet time
D-MAX does it best
Would be cool to see a fully fledged A-Bo-Moon livery on Danny’s Nissan Silvia.
S15 dashboard because style is God
Not much wrong in this shot. That speaker could do with pissing off though.
Battles got underway once everybody had cleared the track.
Brad of Garage500 unfortunately got only one chase run in, as he was left tyreless minutes after this photo
The rear gonna disappear.
Team Japspeed driver Matt Denham being a top sport and giving Baggsy a hand after going off track due to a bit of contact between their cars.
The fight for the remaining spot on the podium
The final bouts of the day involved this pair giving it their absolute all for that numero uno title for Round 4.

I’ve no idea what the points were because I can’t remember, nor was I paying attention. However, I was aware enough to know that the 180SX wheeled by Matt Denham took the victory for the day.

And there you have it. Another competition drift event through my eyes and lens. It was a long day, pretty warm for the most part, too. I’m glad to have attended, seeing new cars make an appearance and “old” ones still laying down rubber.

Like I said at the start of this article, I’m going to be posted up at Anglesey for this weekend’s Drift Matsuri. Find me in one of the pit garages and I’ll hook you up with a high-res print, framed by yours truly!

Thanks checking in 🙂

Dynamically Static | UKDC 2021 @ Teeside Autodrome

Enter the second instalment of this three-part series covering the entire day of UKDC’s Round 4 at Teeside Autodrome.

Once I’d gotten an up-close look at most of – if not all – the cars in the inspection/staging zones, it was about time I’d go investigate all the smoke and squeal coming from the other end of Teeside Autodrome.

I chose not to jump from spot to spot whilst shooting the on-track action. I took my time and just fired away the shutter, not worrying about chasing that shot. Maybe I’m starting to understand how important it is to refrain from spraying off shots for the sake of it. IG doesn’t pay me. Facebook doesn’t put food on my table. So why should it matter whether or not I get every single shot of every single car from every possible vantage point? All I’m saying is, I’m starting to realise that I need to shoot for me, and make sure the photo transmutes from a still image to a sense of the experience from either my point of view, or the subject’s. That’s what makes “good” photography.

With competition drifting, the drivers are out to get the judges vote. I assume there is some objectivity with the scoring system, such as entry speed, angle, drifting line, proximity to lead car, etc etc. But, at what point is it the car that’s getting the points, and not the driver?

I’m fully aware that the human behind the wheel and on the pedals is what makes the car do what it does. But, when a car has so much torque to allow the factor of slide momentum (is that a term? Probably not, but you catch my drift) to not play as much of a role in the dance, its difficult not to think that may be the car is doing most of the work.

Then again, without higher torque/power, its not as easy to hold a long drift at higher speeds without clutch-kickin’, which can be an annoyance for some and also unnecessary wear on the drivetrain.

It’s a tricky debate and I think both “teams” have their rationale. Drifting isn’t just the brainless, self-indulging activity most normies might see it as. A honed technique is a requirement to be able to control the chaotic characteristics of a machine. And I think more so with low-powered cars, making those the ones I find most enjoyable to watch. I can’t help but root for the underdog, man.

Back in the pits, some driver’s caught themselves and their motors a break after practice.

Some were doing more maintenance than they’d have probably liked. That spare diff same in handy for this fella under his car.

The fans’ favourite rolling past his pit-spot. Maybe giving the S13 a cool-off.

Plenty of Nissans as always. I didn’t see that red S14 out on the field, hence the many photos seen above.

This blue one is probably, most definitely my fave S14 of the day.

Something with gold accents situated right at the back of the pit/camping area caught my eye.

I’d seen Aims Hill’s R34 online somewhere, and I’ve gotta say it looks just as sick IRL.

Whenever I see a car with a vented bonnet wearing racing stripes, I immediately think ‘Dodge Viper’. The slight misalignment of the lines when viewed from an angle makes for an aggressive demeanour.

The URAS D1 Spec 2 kit is hands-down the best way to make an R34 not-GTR look the dog’s bollocks.

Unfortunately, no tyres were slayed that day by Aims and her Skyline. Maybe next time…

ER34s do look bare without a wing on their bootlid though.

I’m sure after his technical glitch, Arek will get his own back on fate soon enough.

Matsuri is BACK for 2021! There’s space for another inspection sticker there, so I’m betting on this Soarer showing up next weekend.

I’m guessing the acoustic guitar is a bit of calm in contrast to the four-wheeled amusement.

Good to see a new challenger in a Roadster at a drift event.

Whilst some have been deserted.

Surprises come in all shapes and sizes. This lil Mazda probably gave Tom a not-so-happy surprise given that it was up in the air with its downpipe off in the pit.

From what I can recall, one of his injectors weren’t firing, which means spicy times for that combustion chamber. Luckily, the issue was rectified and the only thing being destroyed were the car’s tyres and a lot of egos.

Volkscraft – they fix VAG, but whip BMW.

Harry Archer and his turbo NA6C pre-qualifying.

Need to watch Talladega Nights now.

Okay, that’s enough of looking at cars parked up. You wanna see snaps of the drivers send it, yeah? . . .

You Can Call It a Komeback | UKDC 2021 @ Teeside Autodrome

Honestly, I don’t follow the sport of drifting at all. So when the head of media gave me shout via Messenger a couple months ago, asking if I’d be available to add myself to staff ensemble for UKDC (United Kingdom Drift Championship) as Covid-bullshit rules began to relax, I decided to check-in and see how the grassroots-level competition has progressed.

Elgrand or Tranny-van?

I’d not smelt burning rubber since Drift Matsuri in 2019, two years since time of writing which made me think: what have I missed? My curiosity kicked in, and seen as though I had nothing planned, I went over to Teeside Autodrome on the 5th of September for Round 4 of UKDC.

First off, I was a bit lost trying to find reason for DriftCup being no more. I don’t understand why the up-and-coming national grassroots, entry-level drifting series vanished into the proverbial cloud of smoke. But here we are, an all-“new” championship that stands independant of BDC and no longer acts as a ‘feeder series’ to the national pro-level championship.

The roster for both categories, Pro and Pro2, are huge! But then again, there is a bit of overlap between BDC and UKDC, allowing the big dogs to put their prospective rivals to the test.

Drifting as a sport is cool and all, but as somebody who’s not particularly keen on the competition itself, I was there to seek out the original essence of drifting, if it does still exist here in the England…

Don’t get me wrong, I can understand how something as visceral as ripping the tread off your rear tyres can enable competitors to be driven to exhaust every ounce of concentration all for the sake of proving their worth. It appears that drifting, is as much of a mind game as it is a physically-intense form of motorsport. But, even if drifting did start out as a “pissing contest” on the touge of Japan, all I care about to be honest is the raw passion that certain drivers have for the art of slide. And that can be seen in the charismatic driving style and precise car control some have the talent for.

Anyway, I’ll stop rambling from here on out.

Back to the event coverage at hand; I attended the media briefing that morning before making my way over to the pre-stage area or whatever it’s called. That bit of the track where drivers line their cars up prior to entering the “burnout-box” to get some temperature into their tyres.

First entrant that stood out to me from the jump was this PS13 piloted by Danny Whyman from Team Low Origin.

His front camber setting is probably the only negative point that I’d be able to make about this build…

The new paint looked spot on. I can appreciate those who refrain from tattering their car with a bunch of sponsor decals.

DMAX Drift Spec aero parts if I’m not mistaken, giving this Silvia plenty of fashion points.

Not a clue what these wheels are, but they kinda resemble the RE-Amemiya AW-7 multipiece. I reckon these chromies were just something to wrap tyres around for practice purposes.

I’m not a typical photographer, so asking people I don’t know to “thumbs-up” and all that was a bit awkward.

Some of these elite motorsport athletes (sarkasm) are used to cameras being stuck in their face/windscreens, which made it easier and less awkward at times.

Always pleasant to see an RX-8 getting in the mix. This one looked particularly aggressive with a “Mazdaspeed” frontend accompanied by a pair of widened front wings.

The SE3P chassis from this angle is golden. The way the factory front arches were sculpted by Mazda’s design technicians are like nothing else seen on cars of the same early 2000s era. Then to go and plonk widearches over them just turns the sick-o-meter dial to 11.

A familiar livery came into my line of sight…

The first time I saw Haydn Cruickshank’s Toyota Cresta was at this exact track back in 2019’s BDC event.

A car with years of use and abuse, yet – from the exterior atleast – this Toyota looks fresh as a daisy for a compeition drift tool.

Simply dressed in battle-ready garments, Marcus Clare’s R32 Skyline looked like it meant business.

Sat on a concave set of 7Twenty Style46 wheels, the rough purple bodywork has obviously been stressed to the nth degree, regardless of how nice the paintjob once was.

False headlights were pretty convincing from a few metres away.

Ryan Hughes’ S14 is a purpose-built, no-BS machine without a doubt. Origin Lab Stream bumper up front, going into front wings and sideskirt made by the same company, but the rear-end baffles me a bit. Custom bumper/diffuser perhaps?

Instantly recognisable and klassic Kouki S14 boot spoiler.

Work CR managing the steering inputs up front…

…whilst some bronze 5-spoke wheels out back handles the grunt sent from the 500+ horsepower SR20. Can’t forget that trusty twin-caliper setup on each hub made up of OEM parts too.

Pure M-car power was out to represent the Euro klique, Mark Smith being one of the standout competitors whipping his S54-powered E46.

You can always count on Team Japspeed to show up and do their thing.

I’d seen their 180SX doing the rounds at other drift events, but it was their S15 that interested me most.

Rob Black has done a fine job putting this 1JZ white knight together.

The people’s favourite – Tom Van Beek.

The Destroy or Die driver puts 900% effort in on every run, but at the same time, he makes it look like drifting an MX-5 is a walk in the park. Anybody whose tried maintaining angle of an NA/NB/NC/ND chassis will know very well how tricky it is.

Two Mazdas that are often the butt of the joke, about to set the record straight.

JJ Stevens and his R34 Skyline are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, I mean, how can you not be impressed?

Sikky isn’t a name I’m familiar with, but then again, I’m not really involved with the drift scene as both my cars are FF. Appears to be one of those quick-change differentials for those who aim to optimise that final drive ratio for any given course.

Tomei, Samsonas, Garrett. These are but a few of the time-proven brands that feature throughout this build, giving you an idea of how serious this Skyline is.

Another S14 that looks like it has seen some duty.

Crisp Tuning and their Rocket Bunny S14.5 made one hell of an RB-sounding racket.

Straight-sixes in Silvias make so much sense.


This Soarer/SC (there’s no way of knowing with it being this far from a stock exterior) stays true to the tri-colour livery it sported at DriftCup a couple years back.

Stefan Stefanov’s RPS13 has no need for the hatch with the rear-mount radiator setup aiding the cooling system at low vehicle speeds.

You’ll have noticed I spent quite a bit of time shooting cars whilst they readied-up prior to practice runs. Don’t worry, there’s visuals of the cars drifitng coming up next, so hold tight.

I’ll end this part of the UKDC coverage with an image of Van Beek launching his 5 out the gate…