Return of Festivities | Drift Matsuri 2021

What’s to come will be worth the wait, so I don’t feel the need to apologise for being late.

I’ve distanced myself from Soul Fokus these past few months. I feel as if there’s a lot of noise online that’s difficult for me to negotiate through in order for my photos to gain that “reach”. I daren’t end up following the herd and doing what others are regurgitating just to get my shit noticed. I’ve even switched to a Nokia dumbphone to restrict my screentime, meaning I’ve only got access to social media when at home on my laptop. Obviously, I’ll still check out what the feeds are saying, but I definitely don’t miss aimlessly scrolling for accumulative hours on end every day, that’s for sure.

A hiatus is good for recalibrating.

Anyways, let’s see how you like this latest upload to boot-up 2022!

Drift Matsuri doesn’t require yet another introduction. The weekenders who patiently wait all year to send it in full measures at Anglesey Circuit know the event very well, as do the many hundreds of visitors that endure the boggy sideline getting piss-wet through spectating the smokey spectacle.

If you are new around these ends, then make sure to get upto speed with Drift Matsuri over in the last event’s coverage here and here!

This time around, I’d stuffed the back of my Demio with all the photo printing gear aswell as my camera kit, as I’d be selling framed photographs of the drivers kickin’ their machines sideways on both the Saturday and Sunday. It wasn’t an easy task trying to capture images of as many cars as possible that ran on either 1 of the 3 track layouts, but I managed [just about] and am highly grateful for all those who stopped by the stall and bought a print.

Anyway, less about me and my business ventures, and more of what was to come that Halloween weekend…

…starting off with this FC3S RX-7 belonging to Joe Dunlop, whom I remember chatting to in one of the pit garages back in 2019, interrogating him on why the fuck there’s a piston-engine sitting front-and-centre! Jokes aside, the SR20DET is a cool alternative to the car’s original engine, and probably just as reliable *hee-hee*.

Many a YouTube sensation were in attendance of course, for content and that. Can’t lie though, Adam Ivell’s S15 is a neat-looking thing.

Mike Lewicki pulled his zenki-S14 out for the festival, in the same outfit I saw it adorned in two years back: Navan Style-1 kit, kouki rear spoiler, and those itty-bitty Work Equip 03s.

By the way, this Silvia is turboless, so you already know the driving is as aggressive as the vehicle’s ride height, millimetres from the track surface.

As Luke and I did the obligatory paddock promenade, every direction we looked there were BMWs left, right, and centre. This is expected here in the UK, as they tend to be the most affordable and reliable drift package, especially the compact 3 Series models.

Amongst the civilian vehicles was this vibrant blue UFO wearing an aftermarket kit of sorts and dumped on its Work VS-KFs. Soarers/SC (Z30) are very underrated platforms and deserve more attention I reckon.

This S13’s bonnet sure is a functional item, perhaps hinting at what lies beneath the fibreglass skin.

Nathan Rudd giving his ‘rolla the once over in preparation for the day ahead.

Nearly ‘onikyan’ (Japanese for “demon camber” – a term used to describe the aggressive alignment) on the front of Adamm’s RB S15.

If you can guess the number of Work Wheels in the Low Origin pit shed, you win 1 prayer that you can one day be as fancy as these bois.

Dan Joyce turning pink flame into white smoke!

SR20 drivers express their unequivocal conviction, regardless of the current market value of these golden-era FR Jap stallions.

The frigid windchill didn’t put me and Luke off spectating drivers as they navigated the Touge course, located at the highest point of the circuit grounds overlooking the coast.

This track layout is popular amongst the attendees, as the uphill section gives confidence to push their cars more thanks to all that weight shifted over the rear axle.

Oh, and the manji opportunity on the wide-laned straight is always high-adrenaline for group runners.

Supercharging its way around the left-hand at the peak of the Touge track, Nate and his V8 don’t W8 about.

Wish I saw more of this NB. I do miss mine a lil bit. Aubergine Roadster looks klass on trispokes.

Another Roadsterfarian going all out. If I’m not mistaken, this white meteor is running a V6 under its bonnet.

The familiar face of this PS13 and ex-Low Origin member – Danny Whyman – of course made an appearance at Matsuri.

Street style is the best style.

Irishman Jack Kelly made it across the Irish Sea, E46 in tow, and he swung the German brute around Trac Môn all weekend.

Luke taxied us between the Touge course and the pits, just so we didn’t freeze to death, and also to check in to see if there was any interest at my photoprint stall. I’d left a register for drivers to sign so that I’d know to look out for any cars in particular, ensuring efficiency when out shooting.

Ian Leggett leading this pack up the Corkscrew coming into Peel corner with his E30 Touring and its tailgate wide-open – similar to the V8’s throttle.

Harry Nixon’s 180SX Type-X “daily” I spotted last time I was at Anglesey for Matsuri, reappeared two years later, looking very much the same as it did, which is great! Such a “under-the-radar” motor but effortlessly klassic.

Back down in the pit area for a little break from the action. Well, not really, because just over the pit wall were those launching their cars down the straight charging into the turn-1, perfect for those big-power, long-wheelbase chassis.

I can imagine some drivers were spending a fair portion of the morning tweaking suspension settings and generally getting to grips with the track layout, as Anglesey is quite unique with its layout and elevation change. It’s not like drift-days are regularly held at the track either, so you’ve got to be on your A-game, chucking it into the fast bends especially.

Luke and I walked all the way anti-clockwise along the coastal path, as we watched drivers go hell for leather out the banking, towards and then past us, entering the next longest right-hand sweeper on the circuit. This Mazda pick-up went by, howling as it did, and I doubted myself thinking it sounded like an NA rotary. Maybe I’m that used to Wankel avoidance here in the UK, I dismissed it thinking it was a cammy SR or something similar. Low and behold, it turns out owner/driver/builder Phil Randall has respectably placed a turbocharged 13B up against the truck’s firewall. Salute to that man.

Mantas Uksass brought out the only S2000 I have ever come across doing the slidey-slide here in the UK. The widebody it wears was interesting, with a Spoon Sports-inspired front bumper and a tight arch-to-tyre fitment.

More images to follow, for now, I’ll leave you with a sequence of Adamm taking out a marker post with the front end of his S15…

…along with this dramatic sunset sky moments before the night session commenced.

Check out @soulfokus on IG & FB to keep up to date with coverage of Drift Matsuri 2021 and more!

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? . . .

Japanaholik’s Journal | Rough World Koncept

Well, here we go again. Usually I grow tiresome of repetitiveness in life in general, but visiting Japan for the third time felt almost like the initial venture. I cannot put exactly into words how landing in the country makes me feel, but something along the lines of “exciting freedom”. I kind of knew what to expect in terms of the unique culture and lifestyle that Japan is rich in, but there is always something you see or experience that makes you realize how amazing the country is. Through these following posts, I will try and convey my feelings as truthfully as I know how, because my end goal with all of this is to just express myself, and present what I find that makes the Japanese automotive scene and culture in general so interesting.

Me and the old man went over this time round, so I made sure I planned the two weeks out so that it wasn’t all car-related activities. We landed on my birthday, 23 years old, man, its a weird age. Like the bridge between post-teenager and young adult.

Anyway, I am gonna let the photos tell the story for the most part, and what’s better than to kick this series off with the undoubtedly freshest and ballsiest classic-Porsche craftsman, Nakai-san.

We stayed at a family-friend’s home in Fujigaya, Kashiwa, Chiba Pref., which is a small rural area about an hour’s drive from Tokyo. Little did I know that the RWB HQ is based literally down the road from where we stayed for the majority of our time in Japan. Knowing this, I headed straight there on day #2, armed with both my D500 and D5100 Nikons.

We went around the last corner as per Google Maps and boom, Porsche Carrera 993s & 964s wedged onto the forecourt as efficient as possible utilizing every square inch of space. Luckily theres some land beside the medium-sized industrial unit, so I dumped the car next to a row of Carreras.

Hesitant to just barge in, especially since I didn’t even give Nakai a headsup, I tried for the front door but it was locked, so I took my time and gawped at how crazy his machines are.

Next thing, I saw a blue kei car with a dropped ride-height and multi-spoke wheels roll by and I locked eyes with the driver*, who just happened to be the man himself (*maybe pissy since I think I parked in his space). He spun his car around and parked up, whilst I was nearly shitting a brick, because if it were anyone else he might have told me to scarper. But he just greeted us and kindly invited us in.

I didn’t stay at RWB for long as it almost felt like I was in his house. The place, which acts as Nakai-san’s workshop/bodyshop/hotel/bar, is like a mini-museum with so much of the history of Rauh-Welt Begriff kept on display. To see that it all started from messing about with AE86 Corollas, this global icon has turned the heads of Japanese-car enthusiasts (including mine) and made old Porsches seem cooler than I had once believed. With his next project being the 996 chassis, I wonder how far he will go with the 911 lineage in the years to come.

Leaving Nakai-san’s natural habitat, we headed back to the house, just because I didn’t have much planned whilst being situated in Chiba.

But, on the way back, I came across a familiar signpost: SEED. I remember stopping by this place the first time I visited. I like how common high-performance tuning garages are, but in a very Japanese sort of way, most of them look like your average, run-of-the-mill service centres to the untrained eye. Though, once you spot the HKS or Greddy posters/banners, or the four-wheeled eyecandy for that matter, its reason alone to take a closer look.

SEED Race Car Engineering, is a do-it-all garage, catering towards highly-modified domestic models ranging from MX5 Roadsters to GTRs. The place was jam packed, but unfortunately most of the photos I took had either bad light or a lot of ISO noise, so I won’t embarrass myself by uploading them.

A short entry, but this is just a taste of whats to come once I get my ass into gear and sift through the GiGs of material I have stacked on my desktop.

Scroll for the bonus gallery…

Modified Live 2019 | Showstoppers

The idea of a dual-purpose automotive event makes complete sense to me. On-track action and off-track works-of-art (for the most part) go hand in hand, and where better to put on this kind of event than Cadwell Park during UK Time Attack’s season opener. Seeing cars in motion induces a different kind of feeling that is difficult to describe. When you encounter a car parked up, a machine of your dreams for example, if you’re like me you whip the phone out for some quick pics before someone spots you and looks at you awkwardly. Then, there are some moments when you are out and about, either on foot or driving, and you hear or catch a glimpse of ‘x’ car passing you by going the opposite direction. You just gawp, or if its moving slow enough you try video it and share it on social media because the internet is the world nowadays. I usually do the former if I see something special, ‘cos the cars I am into are fast, and that’s why I HAD to make it out to this year’s Modified Live when its a 2-for-1 deal as good as this.

The small-scale show is a mix-up, with car clubs of all types putting their pride and joy on display. This post is more of a gallery, so skim through and thanks for viewing.

Nissan’s S13 chassis was out in full force with a few here and there which was pleasant, since the S14 was more prevalent since they sold better to the UK market.

Who do you think wins this “Silvia face-off”? Both are well put together examples, but I am going to have to side with the deep-grey model sporting the polished and purple SSR Professor SP1 rollers. Could be the Japanese number plate that did it for me aswell if I am honest.

This Red Pearl Metallic R32 GTR didn’t have trouble standing out from the crowd, sometimes I need to do a double-take when I find one at an event especially if its near enough factory-spec. These cars are the ultimate sleeper coupe, and I remain loyal to this iteration of Nissan’s AWD supercar destroyer lineup.

Its rare you find one in this gorgeous colour, and then the owner went a step further and enhanced the looks with a set of Mag Blue Volk Racing TE37s.

Everyone’s favourite made an appearance: the Gran Turismo/Fast and Furious hero. Wherever you witnessed this machine for the first time, the Bayside Blue R34 GTR will be the icon for centuries. Not many words are needed for this one wearing the holy grail of multi-spoke split-rim wheels.

The rest of the Nissan selection. That dreamy Sileighty was amazing. Only in Japan during the 1990’s would Nissan be bonkers enough to merge two cars together, and damn me if you think I’m wrong but the result is perfection. This automotive synergy wasn’t even the manufacturer’s idea; Kid’s Heart (a tuning company who specialise in slidey cars e.g. Silvias, Chasers etc) put this style together since a lot of street runners found it cheaper to swap the pop-up headlight front end for the fixed headlight face found on PS13 models. The cars went on sale in official Nissan dealerships, with approximately 400 sold in the year 1998. The industry will probably never be the same…

Evos and Imprezas were plentiful at the show, here I some of the highlights I managed to catch whilst zipping about the field in the rain.

Mazda mania. Not as much as I would have liked but quality comes before quantity, and these few were pretty nice. The Rocket Bunny FD3S RX7 was well executed, sporting those Work L1 three-piece wheels, the first set I have ever seen on this chassis in person.

Hope you liked what you saw, I try to get as much detailed shots as I can, but its difficult to stay fokused on one car long enough to soak it in, especially when there are enticing builds all over the show.

Next in store for this site is going to be something you do not want to miss…

Follow the Instagram @soulfokus if you aren’t already.

Cadwell Park TrackDay – The Orange Peeled Off

Last summer on a visit to Cadwell Park, I joined Luke who, at the time, owned a homebuilt kit car. Now, I have never been keen on kit cars, especially the Lotus 7/Caterham “style” variety. It must be something to do with my awkward feeling towards replicated designs. This topic is something I could write on and on about, so I am going to stay on course for this one.

This particular machine Luke built in his garage is an MNR Vortx, space-frame tube chassis, fibreglass lightweight body, driven by a 1.8 BPZE engine from a Mazda MX-5 NB/MK2. The basic concept is excellent though, as I experienced in the passenger seat that day at Cadwell Park, which nestles in Lincolnshire, UK.

This blog post won’t revolve around his car however, as I did not get the best of shots in retrospect, but other cars were out there blasting around the 2.18 mile course which is actually designed for motorcycle racing; picture narrow track width and grassy runoff areas.

Waiting game…
Okay, I am going to have to open with this beauty. The FD RX-7 you see in front of you is a full RE-Amemiya GT kitted spec. The highlight of the car was the colour and unfortunately my photos do not do its aesthetic quality any justice in my opinion.
It was well put together and style like this is rare to come by, definitely in the UK anyway. But it sure is a treat when you witness something as wild, but simultaneously disciplined in the way it stands. I chatted to the owner briefly, I can remember him having some teething issues with a new single-turbo setup, which is a shame but I manage to catch a glimpse of the rotary ripping out on the field.
I do wonder what the status/condition the car is in at the moment…
Good luck trying to find a trackday where an MX-5 isn’t present. I mean, how could you NOT want to drive one of the purest sports cars ever created, on a racetrack?!
Future historic legend; flipped the FF (front-engine front-wheeled-drive) game on it’s head.
There were two EP3 Civic Type-Rs out that day, both equipped with this hatch mounted GT wing. Part of me sees the appeal in it, part of me realises it kind of looks out of place…
Maybe here, with the trimmed rear bumper, the spoiler’s toned down wing-stands suit the chassis more so. Downforce times call for downforce measures I suppose.
Luke getting a feel for the track more than the car, as he had already made some familiarity with it at a previous shakedown which did not go quite as he planned. Good to see him stretching its legs with confidence, albeit the day cut short because of an electrical gremlin…
The highlight of the car’s performance was most definitely its ability to change direction almost immediately. The G-forces you experience are atmospheric, and made me wonder what on earth F1, or even entry-level Formula cars for that matter, feel like.
One off incident occurred that day, which luckily was not too serious, driver was intact and physically sound after bouncing his Ariel Atom off the tyres midway through the day.
Taking a wander in the paddock area where both drivers and cars take a breather, I took a closer look at some of the motors attending. This K20 swapped EK9 was very nice and cleanly done. What is most impressive though, is the fact that the driver had one prosthetic leg, so the car was kitted to enable the driver to operate the clutch by hand control! Incredible.
This ‘RWB’ styled Porsche was cool. I know very little about these German powerhouses, but I have always felt that they have been held with high regard and respect as sportscars, so there must be something to them…
It did/does look good out there though, and it sounded even better.
One-make duel. For French cars, these hot hatches are not all that bad.
This Starlet Glanza is a very uncommon sight, so it was a breath of fresh air seeing it being thrown about. The deep turquoise colour suits it perfectly.
Track check up; the safety/pace-car M235i BMW for the grounds made its rounds.

I hope to return to Cadwell Park in the near future. The entire place has a cool vibe about it. That wraps up this “throwback” post. Getting out there and shooting more track events is one of my aims this year, so, until next time…