How Hondas Get Down Up North | Mimms Honda Day 2020

Hondas. Generally speaking, they’ve always been the butt of the joke when it comes to banter within both non-car people circles and even those “enthusiasts” who have probably never even driven a good* Honda chassis. (*Up until only recently in 2017 with the introduction of the FK8, the last best thing Honda had going for their contemporary market was the late & great S2000).

Let me say, though, that the only Honda I have ever owned was the FN1 Civic Type S. It was heavy, lethargic beyond belief, and its not a car I’d go back to nor recommend to anybody. It looked cool, and the interior was like no other car in its class, oh, and Honda know how to engineer a gearbox. Originally, I had intended to get into the ownership of a H-badge car via an EK/EJ 6th-gen hatchback Civic. But thanks to my brother warning me of how rust-prone they are (surprise, surprise, its Japanese and from the ’90s), it probably would have been a headache to deal with the aftermath of running it through UK winters. A B18-powered EK will always remain one of my bucket list cars to own.

Thankfully, the largest Honda gathering in England that goes by the heading “Mimms” managed to proceed with their “North” meet up at Three Sisters, not far from Wigan. I’ve never been to a Honda-only event, so this was a good opportunity to have a good look at what the top half of England can bring out on this unusually dry and sunny day. Due to the main event down on Santa Pod Raceway being postponed to next year, thanks to viral hysteria, this was the team’s first show of the year. Better late than not at all.

With the event being put on at a track, this allowed attendees to slap down some quality seat-time. With it being a purpose-built go-kart track, it offers very little for cars such as those with big weight and intrusional electronics – perfect for lightweight FFs and a few S2000S then. The majority of what turned up was of course from the 1990s-2000s, and these cars are fairly analog compared to current-era vehicles. Having driven a DC5, I can testify that the chassis from 15-20 years ago with “only” 220bhp is plenty to keep you on your toes for sure. Compared to say, a BMW M135i, which is only involving to drive during the moments where you remember to brake hard after jamming the throttle pedal down and letting the car’s traction control take care of the rest. If you happen to be one of those anti-FF driver, go and test drive a Honda with a red badge, then try convince yourself not to repent.

Civics are the bread and butter, so it was expected to see a fair few at the show. I was surprised at the lack of S2000s though. Or maybe it was the fact most were stock and didn’t intrigue me as much as something like that Prelude in Ficus Green Pearl!

TDI North are go-to guys for anything Honda related, specifically K-series engine building and tuning. I’d say 80% of the Hondas I have read about in magazines have had some link with this tuning garage, so they’re obviously doing something right.

This bang-on example of an EJ hatch done proper was definitely a highlight for me. Colour coded mouldings, EK9 Type R lip pieces, tidy ride height, half-caged, finished off in a very uncommon blue paint that [IIRC] the owner said was original!

Boot panel cut out lined with rubber edgetrim. Details like this make me smile.

A very all-round EP3 build that was posted up on the show & shine stand. The theme was very much business up front, party out back.

EP3 Civics are a very popular chassis here in the UK. After all, the 7th gen was built in Swindon’s Honda plant. Plenty turned up on the day. Funnily enough however, three friends I walked the show with, each have an EP3 Type R – none of which were brought out though, due to maintenance work keeping them off-road.

Latest Type R looking louder than ever. Swept-down, burnt exhaust tips were a nice touch to the already ballistic rear end.

Uncertain as to whether this FK2 was an actual race car. It must be with the amount of kit fitted to it, outside and within. Cool livery as well, something I rarely say or think when I see racecars here in the UK. Sometimes, less is better when it comes to sponsor decals.

Lowboi S2000 parked hard in the paddock. Brown interior pairs nicely with the bronze wheels. That should more than make up for the duct-taped bumper, haha!

OEM-plus is optimum aesthetic for that road-spec look. This New Formula Red S2000 demonstrates how to fulfil that styling immaculately. Colour-matching Recaro buckets, Nardi Personal small-diameter wheel, CE28s in Bronze, with Invidia’s titanium-tip exhaust system peeping out the original Honda rear clip.

These things are gonna find it damn hard to become a classic when they look as modern as they still do. Clap-clap, Honda, clap-clap!

If anything, I was bordeline astonished at how many imports were in sight, the crowd was well littered with DC5 Integras and FD Civics, along with a few oddities here and there, which you will spot further down.

As soon as one of the lads mentioned the three letters, I got a bit frantic blurting out “where?!”. Perched on some Gloss White Regamaster Marquis Promada by Japanese/Russian wheel maker Desmond, sat there in all its glory, was solid black NA1 NSX. Worth the price of admission? I’d say so. Would have been cool to listen to it sing. Ryan, a friend from my old workplace, taught me that a decal/sticker arrangement like that seen on the rear screen of the NSX is known as a spine. Keen carboys will recognise a couple or more of the brands’ slaps featured in the photo above.

Old is gold. If I were 5 years younger, you wouldn’t see me taking photos of cars like these. Mainly, due to the fact I wouldn’t be able to relate to them, but nowadays, I see the appeal in pre 1980s cars.

Like, how can you think wing mirrors mounted on the actual WING aren’t cool?

Back in the days, before my time, where you could buy a kei car in Japan, and option it to come with a fold-up, 2.5bhp motorbike. And people, nowadays, think Honda are nuts making the Civic Type-R look the way it does. They’ve toned it down if anything, haha.

If you’ve seen the latest EV from Honda, design elements on the City such as the round front headlights will look familiar. Pretty certain I’d opt for the keys to this little pocket rocket from the ’80s though, to be honest. Does the Honda E even have a key to start it? Probably not.

A Honda Justy. I’ve never seen one of these kei-trucks before, even on my trips to Japan. Thing was mint, even had a feature in a Japanese publication after being imported into UK!

Sweet like chocolate.

Blue NT03+M surprisingly work well mounted against a DC5 body wrapped in yellow. Okay, maybe the colour is a bit loud, especially on a stock bodied Teg, but then again it is supercharged so the owner has go to back the show.

Ridiculously immaculate late-gen CRX.

If I’m not wrong, I think it won something in the show & shine contest.

A cross between a family-carrier and an estate car.

Odysseys are pretty nifty things. Dunno why I didn’t get a shot of the front, but the funky rear end with its semi single piece taillight should be enough for you to look sideways at. This one was an “Absolute” model, whatever that means.

A Honda SMX I remembers reading about in Jap Performance / Banzai mag.

A four-door hatch means one less door on the driver’s side = style for miles.

This CR-X seemed more serious looking than the purple one above. I can imagine these things handle like their glued to the tarmac with sub 900kg weight and an extremely low centre of gravity.

Did not expect to see an 86 in the queue that morning. I went crazy with the camera when I got a chance to get up close to it in the paddock.

As they said in the anime, this old Toyota has a strong aura.

A modern Accord on TE37s, something I’d never thought to be attracted to. I just looked nice, which isn’t common when it comes to Japanese four-door saloons.

A popular chassis to K-swap now that their cheap-ish, probably don’t rust as much as EG/EK Civics, and have a chassis designed with so much rigidity, you might just get away with a bolt-in cage for it to be capable of being sent round a course in respectable time.

For a granny-mobile, they don’t look half-bad with a lip-kit. Come to think of it, almost resembles an EP Civic.

A few random visitors, like that R33 GT-R turning up late to the party.

I first read that banner as Tint Init. I’m from Bradford; it shows.

Two Toyotas. One was NOT K-powered (I know, gasp) and running around the track like he owned the circuit; the other parked nearby my car, donned in black and bronze because there is no other better colourway.

All in all, a nice do. If you enjoyed the read, let me know. Or don’t, we’re all trying to keep busy I suppose. Thanks for checking the blog out. I would say there’s more to come, but as for when, no idea. Show season is long gone now, what next year bring is anyone’s guess. Just keep an eye out, Instagram is the best place (@soulfokus) for updates.

Garage Visit | Meet the MX-5 Maniacanic

It has been a while to say the least. Much has occurred, as we all know. Without straying from the topic of this post, I’ll just say this before I ramble on. A lot of people are being made to live in fear and anxiety now, from what I can see. Its a shame, because people are trying to make sense of everything presented to them by outfits who have impure intentions. By outfits, I mean establishments with power who only care to indoctrinate and control. This is sad, because their plan seems to be working on the majority of the population. I find it difficult to articulate how I feel about the way people are acting after they’ve been instructed to, all for this “greater good”. Maybe watch the film “They Live” (1988), then split the fictional fantasy and the underlying message of the movie to get the picture I’m getting.

On to the main piece…

A couple months ago, I went over to the neighbouring county, Lancashire, to visit Carl. As you might know, I’ve been out of full-time work since the new year, so I had all the time in the world (kinda) to make a trip to CBS Autos.

As it says on his back, Carl, along with a small team, are Mazda Specialists, with a preference for that two-seater known to rot. A lot. This man knows how right a wrong – namely, neglected MX-5s.

His place has character scattered across every wall, corner, even the ceiling had an RC airplane hanging from it. The environment truly is a reflection of his personality – slightly eccentric, but nothing less than a hardcore car nut.

I snuck into his office (with his knowing) to show you how obsessive he truly is over anything with wheels, including scaled down model versions of the life-size originals.

Mazdaspeed MS-03, the curtain call of the OEM tuning house’s trio of wheels manufactured by the one and only RAYS. Simply amazing. The question is, NA, NB, or NC? These on an ND might be a bit too daring.

He’s into all sorts of machinery, but its obvious that 1990’s Japanese gems are what kept him keen. So keen in fact, he stepped up to the plate of being one of few to rust repair MX-5s with a fit and finish quality that surpasses the durability of the OEM metal. I say this with confidence, as he was the one who fixed up the chassis legs on my NB. I wonder what the state of the car is now, after I let it go to a guy who came from Portsmouth for it…

Carl had brought his fun car to work that day, so I suggested a mini-shoot seen as though I had all my gear with me. The Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R – a car that has suffered “middle child syndrome”, maybe not in everybody’s eyes, but by popular consensus the 32 and 34 are generally more sought after. I mean, it didn’t even feature in the Initial D anime, yet a Suzuki Cappuccino found its way onto an episode in Fourth Stage! I’m still not keen on the exterior design, but I can’t look past the sheer performance capabilities this chassis has demonstrated over the last couple decades. The window switch integrated into the door pull is a nifty touch too, 10/10 interior innovation, Nissan.

You may or may not notice the characteristics and “style of tune” that the cars featured on the site have. In the UK, or at least up north in and around Yorkshire, all-out concours builds and restomods are difficult to come across in comparison to what the USA and Japan have to show. What this part of England does have is proper functional, dialled-in cars built to be driven on the road. Although, do take note of the conservative look of Carl’s Skyline, as it shares no likeness whatsoever to his batshit crazy turbocharged NA MX-5 build. Maybe one day he will let me get that in front of the camera.

Thanks to Carl of CBS Autos for lending me his time, hope you all enjoyed this little read.

Posts may become less frequent in the near future. Only time will tell.

When Quality & Quantity Meet in Harmony | Osaka Auto Messe 2020 Part #2

Let’s get straight back into this Messe, kickin’ it off with a bunch of Hondas – this is the true reason we carboys come to Osaka, isn’t it? In the UK, and I’m guessing its the same in the US and elsewhere in Europe, Civics in particular get a bit of a bad rap. In Japan, Osaka in particular, the chassis is revered. I can’t help but respect that, because the treatment this legendary, pre-2000’s hatchback receives by cult followers, both mechanically and cosmetically, is so original and outright cool.

Valencia Red (originally found on the latest Honda NSX) is the colour of X-POINT’s EK Civic, which I have done no justice to, by editing in a warmer tone to these photos. Anyway, the car looks brilliant with the all-new Mode Parfume aero kit. Luke made a remark about how the front bumper didn’t look like the typical aftermarket pieces you see fitted to these Honda, which is a testament to the ‘OEM-plusness’ of this build.

Over on the Exceed EK9, which was also red but of a different shade, something I couldn’t put my finger on was the distinct unusual look of its Desmond Regamasters. It was due to the fact that the lip had been profile machined and left bare, whilst the face of the wheel was still coated in gloss grey. If I heard correctly watching The Chronicles (Joey Lee) Osaka Auto Messe vlog, the wheels were actually pre-production specials, not yet available to the consumer market. Noteworthy, of course, was the high-sheen polish on the aluminium parts found in the exposed engine bay of the turbocharged B-series machine.

Built to look good at a show, and run hard on the streets.

It was difficult to get many clean photos of the NO GOOD RACING display with my 50mm prime lens, as it was just rammed with visitors taking interest in the four Civics that the crew brought to show.

The airbrushed floral pattern on these Zees were a cool touch to a vehicle that’s often regarded as ‘Japanese Muscle’. It actually kinda flowed with the Rocket Bunny kit fitted to this deep red/maroon car.

The GT300 class gives birth to some really well put together racemobiles. Take this BRZ, for example. Also, quite funny/odd is how there’s a Mitsubishi decal placed between the grille and headlight. They must be mates now, after the Subaru rival gave up manufacturing cars that excite.

The Omori Factory strut brace sure does make the engine room of the R34 GT-R look confined and tightly packed. A whole load of money at this booth, as there were three of these hero Skylines, all equipped with a host of carbon aero and Nismo body panels.

My pick would of course have to be this Millenium Jade example, with one of the greatest wheels of all time selected to fill the arches.

I reckon this angle is the one.

Trial, the shop that created that red supercharged Celica with scissor-doors featuring on an early Gran Turismo game, also had a busy booth at the show. The Osaka-based company parked up a very cool 86/BRZ wearing a pretty street-runnable aero pack.

Luke was hungry so he got some food and then we took a breather and sat out in the foyer area. Whilst he yammed up some fried chicken, I did a little browsing at this vendor selling all sorts of memorabilia from the good ol’ days. Even an old episode of Top Gear with Japanese subtitles was on telly.

A tuning house I’ve come across and heard of here and there, but not known much about, is ENDLESS who craft & assemble some hardcore GTRs, one of which (not photographed here) pumping out 1300bhp and is street-driven.

Super racing drivers in conversation on stage. Time-attacker Hiroyuki Iiri, who piloted RE-Amemiya’s Asparadrink FD RX-7 back in the 2000s, was sat off to the side on his own. Did he have bad breath or something? Must be why he’s the only one with a mask.

JUN is a performance-tuning heavyweight that has been known famously for their mental ‘Hyper Lemon’ builds, so it was a surprise to see a street-spec BRZ put on show at their booth. Full-ish interior, with the steering wheel even sporting an aftermarket infotainment controls module to allow the driver to bump up the vol when going for it on the touge.

I think most people had enough of the highly popular Supra. This was good for me though, cos I managed to capture a full view of the ings+1 demo car with their new aerokit. It is, in my eyes, the best looking treatment for the new Toyota.

Nakamura-san’s D1GP-championing JZ-swapped S15 on display infront of the N-style booth. So much style and substance rolled into one.

Temple Racing were situated right next to the drift machines, showcasing their grippy Attack builds, one of which is the K24-swapped EG6 driven by Horiton, an Osaka native, one of the fastest NA FF cars on the circuit.

If I am not mistaken, this is Ken Nomura’s a.k.a. Nomuken (meaning ‘Monkey Magic’) R34 Skyline with a blistery URAS widebody – now utilising a GT-R face? – giving way to that tyre-track and steering angle which are both highly necessary if you wanna go sideways fast.

Phoenix’s Power, another high profile speedshop located in the country’s Kansai region, pulled out what I would class as ‘the Build of the Show’. Okay, maybe the ‘FR Build of the Show’, since there were plenty of Civics I was really into. As for this Supra though, it pressed all the right buttons, from the ings+1 body dress-up items, down to the gold-faced BBS LM wheels. Great lighting set-up on their display as well.

Some more souvenirs I couldn’t bring myself to buy.

OEMs were of course in attendance, most of whom happened to be designated in a hall all to themselves. Mazda were of course who I sped over to first, in hopes of seeing something amazing like their old RX-792P IMSA GTP car or maybe the RX-Vision concept. Even though both of those weren’t anywhere to be seen that day, they had a couple cool racing machines: a Super Taikyu Demio, and a Roadster put together by Murakami Motors for the same endurance series that won its class back in 2018’s 24hrs of Fuji event. They also teased the fans with their latest-gen Mazda3 with an aero kit and ZE40 wheels by RAYS. I say teased, because when I asked the rep whether or not Mazda would release a model like this, say an MPS, he negatively and apologetically replied with an answer I didn’t want to hear. Maybe someday, after they sell a load of those electric crossover things with that nifty rotary range-extender, the automaker will bring back a high performance machine in either hatchback or coupe form. I’m praying for the latter.

After checking out Mazda’s pop-up shop that was built into a stack of shipping containers (best display at the show, absolutely no bias whatsoever), we went over to Honda to see what they were showing off. Their all-carbon NSX GT500 car is a sight to behold. Wish they had fired it up.

Max Orido’s achieved perfection with his Advan Supra and its wheel fitment.
That kei-van pictured above is totally unrelated, but it was both visually and aurally loud, so it gets a spot.

Kato-san of Liberty Walk was in attendance, and boyyy did he deliver the goods. The pure carbon LBWK Silhouette GT-R R35 is the only way to modify Nissan’s Godzilla if you’re thinking about going widebody. Its radical angles make it an ideal match for the personality of the beast, and makes the 13 year-old car look like it belongs in another dimension, nevermind another century.

The star of the show at Liberty Walk’s stand was of course their Silhouette Racer R34, built in respect to the KDR30 Super Silhouette, with its Tomica red-on-black livery and wild boxiness. Shame it didn’t have the gold mesh wheels, or even those crazy SSR turbofans, to finish off the complete look of the classic racer. One photo was caught on my DSLR, as I got a bit impatient with the crowd going bananas pointing their phone cameras at either the car or the model in front of it.

I’m gonna close this coverage out with a photo of my daft face next to the face of the real-deal, someone I thought I’d never meet in person! I found out Dorikin-san has a cool signature, too.

Thanks for checking out the final part to this Osaka Auto Messe 2020 piece. Be sure to follow my Instagram and/or Facebook, because I’ll be loading up a lot of extra Japan sights and scenes on those!

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Full Sends on a Sunday | Drift Matsuri Day#2 2019

The area inland of Anglesey’s coast is that quaint, driving through the vast, green landscape had me fantasizing about moving out there. I was staying at an AirBNB bedroom of an older couple’s house in Niwbwrch – a village about 20 minutes worth of driving from the circuit. At night when I arrived at the place, it had an eerily quiet vibe that I am not used to. It was nice though, allowed me to rest up and be fresh for the day ahead.

Anyway, the Sunday morning I showed up to the track, I ensured I had an hour or so to kill before everyone hit the tarmac. In fact, I can’t remember if I even knew what time the track was due to open for drifting, because I can recall asking around just so that I got a solid vantage point at the start of the day post-Golden Hour.

The van shaped vehicle shown above is a based on a Mk4 Escort, but ran with an engine pinched from a Vauxhall Astra. I knew – and still know nothing – about this thing, except for: it had ITBs and sounded angry as fuck. The driver had it by the scruff of its neck as the van never straightened up from what I remember.

There’s that much going on at Drift Matsuri, it was only until the morning after day one, that I realised how much use the cars saw in the space of few hours drifting during the Saturday. Because the circuit length is pretty substantial, and then to have separate layouts, capturing all of the highlights is not an easy job, if not impossible. I mean, take a look at Charlie’s E-Type! Obviously, as is the nature of drifting, a mishap or two can occur when you’re out there. Sometimes all it can take is a little bit of spilt fluid on track for a catastrophic ‘off’ to happen. Bit sad to see the Jag’s punched-up face detached and plonked on the ground. Can’t imagine nothing but a strong comeback once its all made pretty again.

Guy must have a Tesla or some shit for a daily.

One of the Low Origin bois had his S15’s bonnet propped so I went over for a lil peep. Nothing crazy, surprisingly, especially when you step back and look at the fancy aero and wheel setup combined with that rip-tear livery design. I am sure plenty of work has been carried out to ensure the SR20 can withstand the heavy-duty sliding its subjected to. I can’t get over how sick chromatic Work CR2Ps look!

The Silvia we saw on day #1 was being prepped for retirement from the remaining hours of the final day’s session. I stumbled upon it as you see it; unsure whether they were having issues getting the car on the flatbed due to the lack of ground clearance.

Everyone partied hard – car and driver alike.

Some details found on Adam’s Silvia S15. I am a big fan of RB-swapped S-chassis, mainly because I don’t really think the sound an SR emits is particularly ‘music to my ears’. You can be sure of me asking Adam for a shooting session to capture this car in its entirety, if our paths cross sometime again in the future. Watch this space!

Ron from Team Legless won’t ever cease to amaze us with his ability behind the wheel. Being a competitor in the Drift Cup series, he’s one the few who have seen a decent amount more seat-time than the hobbyist drifters. He was going hell for leather all day, until I got this shot of him and his SC300/Soarer beached at the top of the touge course, which I think was his final bow for that weekend.

Bomex fronts on NB MX-5s produce an effect equivalent to adolescent puberty. Rick’s Roadster, a car I don’t think was present on the Saturday, instantly got me excited.

No words needed, just take a look at its pure, simplistic beauty.

This Nissan was done so well, if it were mine I’d shit myself every time I took it out, worrying about scraping the lip and ruining the paint on a speedbump. Zenki S14s are difficult to get looking right, in my opinion, but bravo to whoever built this. Its those Work Equip 03s that do it for me.

Another car I didn’t get to see playing out was this E30 3-Series. You could tell within the first few seconds of looking at it that the fit and finish of the build was on point from every aspect; paint, rollcage, wheel choice and fitment. Thing was a damn showcar!

Technically, this FC RX-7 was no longer a ‘Rotary Turbo’ [crying inside], but I hope the sticker that the owner chose to leave on becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy [wishful thought]. Although he might not revert to running a 13BT, the rest of the car was fine and dandy. I can appreciate the details such as the flat grey tubbed & gusseted bay, and the Link Engine Management multi-function display.

Before I close out, I’ve gotta say, it was cool to see all these machines with their drivers putting on a grand show. I think the format of the event is a winning formula, and I hope to attend the many more to come in the future. The event organizers have now actually announced an additional date for your 2020 calendar, appropriately titled the ‘Spring Matsuri’ thats bound to take place at Anglesey (where else?) on the 12th of April. I’m sure it’ll be a good ‘un.

That’s all folks! Drift Matsuri 2019 was a good time for all. I think it is akin to how the drifting culture in Japan is/was, or atleast that is how I feel.

Hope you saw something you vibed with. As always, thanks for the view!

Kutting Angles at Anglesey | Drift Matsuri Day#1 2019

I may as well just kick off the site in 2020 using last year’s event coverage photos. You might have already come across some of what I uploaded onto Instagram, but I thought that since its been a few months, its only right that I give you the full overview of Drift Matsuri held at Anglesey Circuit Trac Mon over a weekend in October of 2019. Plus, the site has been a bit dormant thus far in 2020.

The purpose of the event is a kind of end-of-season finale for anyone and everyone who worships the rear-drive platforms to let loose on what is essentially a weekend-long, free-run event, or what I like to call a ドリフェスタ (dorifesta); matsuri meaning festival/holiday in Japanese.

My mission objective, if you like, was plain and simple: to capture as much of the action both on and off track throughout the couple of days I had in the scenic Welsh isle. I had the opportunity to shoot the final round of Driftcup a few weeks prior, and that kind of opened my eyes to drifting culture here in the UK. The experience I gained from that prompted me to continue shooting drift events, and Drift Matsuri appealed to me from the get-go because of its casual vibe.

I arrived in the early hours of the morning, rushing past cars in the paddock, weaved through trailers and transporters as I headed towards the control tower, literally just in the nick of time for the mandatory media staff briefing. Lecture endured and liability waiver signed, I ran back downstairs to exit out onto the wet car park where all the automobiles were being prepared for the festival celebrations.

One of the first cars I caught on camera was this S13 descending down out of a pretty legit looking HGV. If coffee didn’t wake up you up that morning, then Baggsy’s LS-engined Silvia warming up had to have done the trick – even at idle engine speed.

An E-Type I’ve never come across before, especially in this fashion! I had no idea how much went into building this until after the event when I watched Larry Chen’s YouTube video where he visits the Somerset-based shop run by Charlie Seward, the man responsible for such masterpiece. There’s a pretty in depth article about the 1JZ-monster over on Speedhunters aswell, I suggest you look it up (after you’ve read this article, obviously)

This Silvia in a lovely blue shade caught my eye, so I ran up on it only to be pleasantly surprised at how well it all flowed together. The body panels are all mismatching parts from various kit designers, if I remember correctly from what the owner told me, but you wouldn’t have thunk it! He offered to lift the bonnet up to reveal a 1JZ front and centre of a stitched & tubbed bay, with a sizeable BorgWarner turbo strapped to its custom manifold. I doubt this car is run on the road with those two screamer pipes jutting straight up and out through the holey bonnet, but if you can get away with it you might aswell since the reg plate is still screwed on…

The circuit was divided into three course layouts – one of which was called the ‘touge’ course that had cars running up the Corkscrew followed by the left-straight-left section at the peak of the track before making their way down via Rocket. I can’t remember the course names given to the other two; doesn’t matter, ‘touge’ was where it was at, with double-file queues forming from both directions (pit-exit and the tailend of the downhill after Rocket corner).

Blood Brothers. Retro Speed Shop brought out this pair of pure FR klass.

Following on the scarlet theme, here we have Adam’s DMAX-kitted S15 sat on Work VS-KF. The wheel fitment, in my eyes, is spot on – as is the entire build to be honest, very street-friendly, something most can relate to.

Wish I got more shots of this S14 in all its crispy-white Rocket Bunny Boss Aero goodness. Shame really, didn’t manage to catch it out on track neither. Would have been nice to hear the RB26 come to life!

Motorsport is an enjoyable experience, even from the perspective of the spectator. But watching drivers take corners with an absolute ‘balls to the wall’ attitude, for no other reason than to fully exercise both chassis and spirit, definitely fires you up in a different way compared to competitive drifting. Maybe its to do with the fact the drivers are out there just to have a good time with like-minded people – okay, perhaps oneupmanship does come into play at times when a chase between two cars gets a little heated – but for the most part, Drift Matsuri is just a relaxed party atmosphere in a circuit environment.

What are the odds more decals have made their way onto the glass of this clean 180SX TypeX since the event months ago? Somehow the orange coloured centres on its Work VS-XX wheels work (pun intended) really well on this OEM bodied Nissan.

It was really cool to meet James and his ‘Hi5’ turbocharged BP-Z3-swapped Hilux Pickup. After only seeing videos of it online, actually witnessing it not just sat in the pit garage, but for it to be slung about on Anglesey was a sight to behold. It is basically an MX-5 in terms of running gear, with the very practical 1st-gen Hilux shell allowing James to throw a set of wheels/tyres in the back for when the amount of fun has exceeded the life of the rubber.

I don’t think any car on the day had as much flamboyant style and charisma as this duo. And if I had to choose a favourite? Impossible. [S13]

For those who, for whatever nonsensical reason, cannot stand the antilag noise or tyre smoke from a bunch of cars sliding their weight about on a racetrack, can always enjoy the coastal views by going for a stroll along the perimeter of the circuit like I did. There are some decent photoshoot spots the further away from the track you venture. I actually took a couple photos of the two you can see above. One looks like a helipad. Whatever they were constructed for, I could imagine using them as platforms for a mint landscape frame.

I’ll close this post out with a few shots of the night session. Unfortunately I got back to the track later than I planned, as the nearest shop was miles away. That was a really challenging environment to shoot in but I enjoyed the brief few moments where a conga-line of cars came steaming around the first corner, charging past the onlooking crowd up on the banking, leaving behind nothing but clouds under the floodlit part of the track.

Keep an eye out for the Day#2 entry, where I find some cool looking things that I missed on the first day…