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!
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!
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? . . .
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.
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…
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…
Since it is the last of the “Tenties” – it’s in the Urban Dictionary, so I’ll go with it – I thought I may aswell throw a end of year, wrap-up article on the site. It’ll be more of a timeline in photographs and I found that it’s definitely a good exercise to sit back and take stock, looking back at what you’ve achieved throughout the year.
I started this site in January of this year, with no real agenda scripted out on paper/digitally. It was kind of a spur of the moment, brought about by boredom. I had all these cool and interesting cars that I photographed at various events and of course the trips to Japan, so I thought why not share my memories with those who may be like-minded enthusiasts.
Sit back, chill, and just scroll through the highlights of Soul Fokus 2019…
Bit of a change that I hadn’t really calculated for beforehand. It probably all started with the sale of my NB MX-5. After putting a decent amount of money into repairing the rust and a few modifications I left on such as the custom cat-back exhaust and Racing Beat ARBs, it was not the most logical decision in hindsight. The car was great, I loved driving it daily and though I don’t regret it, I do miss that Roadster experience. My main reason for getting rid of the car was the fact that by using it everyday, the miles were going to take their toll on the chassis, especially through UK winters, so it had to go.
Photographing friends’ cars is most likely where my interest in doing cool things with a DSLR started to come into play. So thanks to James and his Elise, and Eddy with his SciroccoR, I began to take cameras more seriously investing in my first lens, a 35mm f/1.8.
I will make more of an effort to expand my photography in the future. It probably won’t make its way to this site, but since I am planning on going full-time, it would help keep me on my toes and widen my skillset.
My newfound satisfaction has been found through the art of panning, or atleast attempting to track the motion of a car. Its not so bad getting the shot with a light, wieldy kit lens, but I then went and bought a Sigma 120-300mm lens which makes steadily aiming the camera a challenge. The results make it worth lugging about though, so there’s that.
If you’ve been keeping up, Luke and his Caterham have popped up alot in the blogposts. Getting out on trackdays and race events with him and helping out where I could has allowed me to get acquainted with shooting motorsport. An opportunity arose for me to follow Chris Williams whom I initially met at a Time Attack UK event at Cadwell. His EF Civic is undeniably the coolest hatchback competing, and it was equally cool meeting him this year.
Back in my birthday month (May), this Mclaren Senna I found at a local car meet shocked me instantly. I got all these photos and not a single one frames the whole car! I do remember a crowd creating a buzz around the thing though. It’s the details that matter though, and the Senna has plenty.
Spring time and the first half of Summer was definitely a boost-up in terms of experiences. Japan happened again and you can read all about my travels there in the dedicated series of posts I made.
You will spot some random photos I mish-mashed into the above collage. Highlights include Fueled Society at Harewood Hillclimb, my first trackday in the Mazda2 on Anglesey Circuit, as well as Seven’s Day with FDOCUK at Blyton Park.
Me and Luke made a kind of impromptu plan to go to Germany for a week before Summer ended, and it was a cool road-trip from the Nurburgring down to BMW-Land [Welt]. Mainland Europe is going to be somewhere I definitely want to explore for their unique car culture.
Opportunities weren’t gonna come knocking on their own, so I actively went out to shows and motorsport events on my own so that I could just practice covering them in their entirety. I ended up meeting the official head of media for Driftcup at the Donington Time Attack event where I was shooting Chris and his teal Civic. This random encounter gave me the chance to operate my camera from the heart of the circuit at the final round of Driftcup over at Driftland.
Around this time was when I met up with Josh and shot his R32, which was also an occurence that was completely by chance. You could say that this period in time was a turning point for me. I knew that this is what I wanted to do; tell stories through my work capturing the essence of automotive enthusiasm.
The latter end of this year tended to orientate upwards in terms of the experience I was garnering from just getting out there and doing, as opposed to thinking and evaluating and over-complicating unnecessarily. The most powerful lessons are those that come in the form of errors. Doing what you know you shouldn’t have done in such a way, or just looking back finding flaws in your work that are better left in the past. This has been a theme of 2019, but in a positive manner.
Luke’s year didn’t end great, writing-off his racing campaigning that Caterham 420R at Cadwell. All is good though now he got it fixed up, sold, and has purchased yet another one to do some crazy shit to.
That event was also the first time I saw the new A90 Supra, and yeah, my thoughts of that car on a whole are still somewhat unsettled. Moving on…
…Drift Matsuri weekend was a blast and a great way to close out the track-focused events of 2019 – or so I thought – until Chris Williams gave me a shout and invited me to tagalong at the finale of Time Attack UK. I am actually keen on what he is gonna pull out the bag for next year’s season.
So there we have it, 2019, thats what you looked like through the lenses of my Nikons. Hope those of you reading made it this far. Thanks for checking in, and be on the lookout for many more future posts I have lined up to publish!