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…

Only Rotaries Aloud | Seven’s Day 2019 @ Blyton Park

Home sweet home. After landing back in the UK from the dreamy trip to Japan, as per usual the post-holiday blues hit me and lingered for a week or two. To add insult to injury, I saw the 7th of July coming around the corner and that only means one thing to any Mazda madhead. I have featured, briefly in past posts, my 7’s Day experiences when I attended the meeting held in Umihotaru P.A. on Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line. This year, I chose not to stay in Japan long enough to witness the twilight spectacle put on by the automotive underdog cult. I mean, I probably would have, but I’d come back with zero holidays left to take from work. In retrospect, it could have been worthwhile, especially after seeing all the coverage online of the ‘Rotary Spirit’ event staged in the paddock of the great Fuji Speedway.

I remember coming across a track day being organized by the UK’s FD Owner’s Club online, and since I wanted to get a firsthand look at what the small but strongly dedicated community have on offer here in my home country, I thought I’d swing on by Blyton Park on the 5th of July.

My love for this chassis is eternal. Stock or modified (tastefully), the only way it will age is if Mazda reintroduce the masses to a production version of that RX-Vision concept unveiled back in 2015’s Tokyo Motor Show, but even if that does materialize, the FD3S RX-7’s legacy will remain in history.

My first trip out to Japan was unforgettably a special one, mainly due to the sleepless night before I got to pilot a rental RX-7. Its one thing reading about a car that leaves you in awe and watching countless videos of the machine being described by motor journalists as the one of the purest sportscars ever built, but to actually do it yourself is another thing entirely. Yeah, it was a stock example, bar the Tein coilovers and RE-Amemiya exhaust system, but for my 20-year-old self, it was plenty.

Before I turn this spread into a essay on why the RX-7 is the greatest production car to ever come into existence, let’s get back to the sights I saw on my visit to FDOC’s track event.

Upon arrival mid-afternoon, all the eye could see was more than a few RX-8s, and whilst that car is a great Mazda in its own right, I had a mini panic-attack thinking I’d turned up on the wrong date or something. Obviously, that wasn’t the case, as I got closer to trackside, there was a decent lineup of FDs all raring to get out and kause a ruckus.

I did briefly contemplate buying an RX-8 at the time I was planning on saying farewell to my MX-5. I took an late R3 model for a test drive, and whilst it is a nice platform that could act as both daily driver and track toy, something was amiss. I am pretty certain its a universal problem with these “newer” cars, that tend to target the wider audience. I am fully aware that this is what progression looks like, and they’ll never make them like they used to, but I think it was the over-refinement of the RX-8 in comparison to my MX-5 at the time, that repelled me from going in that direction. Whilst current prices of RX-8s are quite attractive, with sellers practically giving them away, I still wouldn’t compromise; driving experience is why I don’t take public transport, the vehicle has to have that ability to make you want to keep on powering on, no matter the kost.

Totally unrelated, but I may aswell share a few snaps I got of this non-Mazda that turned up to the party (with an invitation, probably). British sportscars are known to have that distinct character and its good to see the likes of Lotus, and of course Jaguar and Mclaren, still in the running.

White-on-red is a suited look on this 360 Cup edition of the Exige. I find it funny how Lotus still use the Toyota 2GR-FE V6 engine, that’s applied to billions of other Toyota/Lexus chassis, and then we have the new Supra reaching out to BMW for a heart transplant which is in my opinion, distasteful, but I won’t get into all of that…

Starting off the highlights of 7’s Day, is this pearlescent flake yellow FD. This early Efini variant was sporting a 99-Spec front bumper with custom front lip, sideskirts, Ganador mirrors, Veilside(?) tailight housing bar, and some of those Rota things at all four corners. It sure did brighten up the scene, but I never got chance to see it out ripping the tarmac, so these static shots are all I got.

Matt’s kouki Pure White RX-7 was almost twinning with another’s of the FDOC crew. Wearing those Work CRs finished in a Dark Chrome colour set off the look of this machine, which is what I would consider a perfect example of the ‘OEM Plus’ style. Rear diffuser, carbon front splitter, and a NACA-ducted bonnet accentuate this fine specimen. But something NEEDS to be done with that ride height!

Another FD sitting on some of Work Wheels’ finest, which was also equipped with an interesting custom vented bonnet. Black on bronze is a no-brainer in terms of colour pairing, hence why the Demio of mine wears my old MX-5’s shoes! Nothing krazy about the exterior of this RX, apart from the GT style wing, yet the single turbo converted 13B inside was making it round with some pace from what I remember.

This is the “other” white FD I was referring to previously. Owned by Roy, whom manages and organizes the events for the club, it is a stunningly clean FD but at the same time gets enough of a leg-stretch out on the track. It’s always the details that katch my eye when it comes to seeing a car for the first time. I reckon its because I have become sick of the latest trends, finding far too many builds online and at shows that have the same cookie-cutter philosophy applied to them, just because it looks good and is easy to do since every other man and his dog are putting their car “together” in the same style. I digress, but I believe the RX-7 is one of those chassis that has the natural ability to look timeless with an unmatchable aura in factory form. Anyway, one note I’d like to make is the fact that the engine bay was clean enough to eat dinner off, but that crack in the radiator’s fibreglass shroud! Maybe Roy has a new replacement on order (we hope)…

The day wasn’t short on black FDs, and this flame-spitting one in particular was getting its fair share of laps in around the circuit. This wore, what I would call, a safe and klassik look, outfitted with a 99-spec wing, drooping RE-AMEMIYA exhaust, and a unique taillight conversion.

Nas’ RX-7 was easy on the eye with not too much to take in: OEM front splitter, Racing Beat twin-tailpipe exhaust, rear lip spoiler, riding on a set of the klassik Desmond Regamaster wheels in matte black.

This work in progress belongs to owner James, and whilst in appearance it is seemingly basic at the (that) moment, those Enkei RS05RR wheels mean business and certainly make for a good start to this FD’s life. The majority of the guys on the day had wingless cars, which is a look that didn’t do it for me in the past, but after spending some time looking at and shooting them fly by, it does make the car more streetable to some degree.

Stu of RotorTorque was whipping his white RX-7 around Blyton with some frequency and was looking good whilst doing it. I properly endorse the mismatched wheels look aswell, with flat gold Advan AVS Model 6 upfront, and a pair of burnt orange Ultralites working in the rear. Can’t go wrong with that rear GT wing courtesy of Voltex Racing.

Jack’s heavily modified, street-sleeper of an RX-7, was built with hard track use in mind. The exterior is indeed telling of that purpose, with it being hunkered down on another mismatched pair of aftermarket rollers, custom smoothed widearches on the back, RE-Amemiya rear diffuser, aftermarket vented bonnet, and sleek fixed headlight assemblies. I unfortunately did not get any interior shots, but the cabin was just as serious, I can assure you.

Closing out this post, we have a guest entrant who I missed the chance at seeing put some rubber down, but these still shots of the zenki Silvia S14 200SX will have to suffice. The owner told me the rear wing, which baffled me as soon as I spotted it, is borrowed from a DC5 Integra Type-R. Weirdly looks at home on the decklid of an FR Nissan.

There’s your lot for this one, and I hope that it is now proven to you that rotaries can blast around a hot track all day, and then cope with a drive home. Not one trailer or recovery truck made an appearance so all that gas you’ve heard coming from the naysayers who can’t stand to see an underdog bark loud, redirect them to this post.

This event will be one of many and I hope the FDOC emsemble make it out to more circuits and exemplify how usable and capable the greatest sportscar to exist, truly is.

Thanks for the visit!