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.

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Newby Hall & Gardens – Sportscars in the Park ’19

Being in the northern part of England, major automotive events are few and far between, so I make do with what we get in the Yorkshire locale. Throughout the UK, an abundance of country estates exist that were build hundreds of years ago but still remain intact and well maintained. These places make for perfect venues for car gatherings, due to the wealth of land surrounding the house grounds.

I made a first-time escape from the cramped city of Bradford and ventured to Ripon, North Yorkshire, to check out an array of both classic and modern metal. Take a look through and see if any of your poster heroes make an appearance…

The Shelby/AC Cobra is an eternally iconic muscle car. I admire its unorthodox persona. When you think ‘American muscle’, Camaro or Mustang probably springs to mind, but without a doubt an open-top ‘roadster’ is the last association the average person would make. I am unsure about this white on blue car in particular, in terms of its genuinity, but its a classic eye-catcher whatever the case.

Across the Ford pond, some Euro-centric models made an appearance in the hundreds, mostly consisting of hot Fiestas and Focuses, but I spotted this F.R.P. parked up isolating itself from the cookie-cutter hatchbacks. It is easy to see these become cult classic in the near future, a very rare one at that with only 500 produced and God knows how many still intact due to the chassis being prone to corrosion. This Melina Blue car was in pretty decent nick though.

I am certain this was the first time I witnessed pretty much all models of TVR in once place at the same time. These were the cars that actually made me proud to be a British citizen when I initially encountered them in the virtual showroom on Gran Turismo 3, available in a spectrum of extraterrestrial colour options. All that was missing to complete the set was the monstrous Cerbera Speed Twelve.

We all want to see some domestic competition for the Mclaren and Aston Martin artillery. Jaguar are pretty stale now with only the F-Type offering thats more GT than ‘supercar’, which leaves Lotus with the duty of proving there’s more than tea and crumpets over here, and the new Project 130 on the horizon does look to be something special indeed.

Of course, my heart yearns for the Japanese automobile wherever I am, if you know me you know this is a fact. At the show, a Japanese display stand was set up, but it seemed to be swamped with S2000s and Subarus (which is not a bad thing) but most of them were stock apart from a A80 Supra and a couple of Prodrive P1 GC8 WRX STis. Most of these following shots were to be found mingling in the mix of vehicles in the area where allsorts could be found, which was cool because too much floorplan structure can be boring at times.

All in all, it was a well put together event with all types of vehicles on show including some surprises here and there (see Countach?!). Hope you enjoyed the read, I find it hard to talk about any car that doesn’t hail from Japan so bare with me. I am someone who can appreciate cars from any region on this globe and I would say my taste is eclectic to be honest, but maybe a bit too much, I need to fokus on machines that talk to me. The next post will definitely lead in the direction that I want this site to go in, so stay tuned and share the word if some of what you saw in this post, or any of them for that matter, tickled your fancy.

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Below the Surface: Tom & Co’s Underground Unit

It was a bit miserable and rainy last Saturday, but I had been meaning to utilise my workpal’s (Tom, who might pop up in another story if and when he completes his 1st Gen Mustang Fastback) car lift in a den he shares rental with.

Long story short, I ended up doing no “work” on my car but that can be rationally excused due to the unnecessity of a 2010 Mazda 2 fuel filter change. It’s one of those inline filters and we couldn’t work out where it lived under both the car and bonnet, so I thought frig it, theres a fresh Lotus outside thats waiting to be drooled over…


This Series 2 Elise belongs to Nev, a resident (literally) of the decently sized industrial unit Tom and his mates share to store and fiddle with their cars, bikes, vans, and tractor.
I met with Nev once before, when I was running the MX5, and I think it was he who kindly donated a set of wheels for me to drive about on whilst my Buddyclub SFs went in for a desperate powder coating. He happened to be working on his El Camino on that day, but immediately got distracted when I asked if it would be cool if I shot some pics of his Lotus parked up outside under the dull sky. Kindly agreeing, he then jumped at the opportunity of whipping his own pair of compact-system cameras out and decided to join me in capturing as much of the iconic aesthetic of this 2-seat B-road-beater.
Every curve on the car is near perfect, and that is probably why this car has not aged in all those 18 years of existence. It is extreme in its nature, but the intensity of its striking demeanor is not overpowering or distasteful. In a subtle way the Elise is graceful, perhaps it is this colour that makes it so.
I had never seen an S2 in this colour, both in real life and Gran Turismo (virtually the same thing). When I made my thoughts known to Nev, he informed me that his car was in fact of a darker blue hue before his ownership which could be seen by the graze on the passenger side’s wing mirror. This meant that it has had a respray in the blue tone seen on the latest S3 Elise, which suits the S2 sweetly.
As the rain kept on coming, Nev decided to bring his car into the unit, which is access only by a cobbled driveway tilting downward, which was scarily dodgy for me when I brought my MX5 down for the first time. Once through the roller shutter, you are greeted by this place that is booming with character. In some way it is an escape from the bores of everyday life; guys just wanting to let their creativity and madness loose.

Nev plans on taking this thing out on a track once the weather pick up and he finds the time. I hope I am able to join him to catch it flying on some open road and hearing that 1ZZ-FE engine emit its signature exhaust notes when that does happen. Lotus geeks will also be wondering what a pre-2008 model Elise is doing with the Toyota engine as opposed to the Rover K-series that the first batch inherited from the S1. I am told, this non-swapped example is a pre-production test model that Lotus built back in ’03, but even I am surprised at the fact they chose to sell it to the public. Were they that confident in the new powertrain configuration? Well, it is a Japanese unit after all…

The ‘Unit’ as its referred to, is a pretty cool hangout built up by all those that occupy it. I don’t know the exact count of heads who rightfully own the garage, but Tom is kind enough to let anyone he knows to freely use his and his mates’ gear for any repair or maintenance.

The Mercedes-Benz van you see before you, roller-painted in a military-esque grey, is where Nev and his girlfriend Neo dwell. You can catch them on their travels on Instagram [@vanwankers]. It is cool to meet people who steer off the beaten track and I admire their free-spirited personality.

Internally marrooned. Tom needs to get in gear and make progress on this classic machine.

Here we have yet another dusty item on the racking. This RX7 FD shell belongs to guy from my workplace. He rolled it into the unit more than a year ago, no engine or gearbox, along with a half empty interior. I am unsure on what the planned future is for this car, but I am praying that it has a long and prosperous one, with a rotary motor (queue jokes about the “unreliability and short lifespan of rotaries”).

I will end this entry with some of the shots I got when light-painting for the first time. This photography technique is epic if you can get it right, so that is going to be my mission heading forward so you might/will see more. Low-light/Night environments are not favourable when it comes to getting the best out of your DSLR, as you tend to get noisy and not-as-crisp shots unless you use a tripod and keep the camera as still as possible to draw sufficient enough light.

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…

DriftCup UK 2018

Never really grew up with much, if any at all, drift culture involved in my car life. My initial exposure to the artform was probably as cliche as it gets: Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift. My brother introduced me to Best Motoring as early as I can remember, Japanese guys sending cars sideways, in both factory and tuned forms. It’s almost as if it was in their DNA, without sounding cheesy.

Nowadays, especially because of the Internet, the passion for drifting, as both a sport and an automotive ‘scene’, has spread to all pockets around the world. Even managing to worm its way into Wigan, UK. This was my first time attending a dedicated drift competition event, which appeared to have more focus on the drivers and cars, instead of acting as an all-in-one festival type of event as can be seen with the more commercially popular shows. Less circus, more circuit…

Low Supra; such a graceful silhouette
Sileighty chassis S13 will always be my all time favourite from the Silvia selection. This Vertex kitted example caught my eye.
Very unusual sight. A Porsche 944 is definitely something I did not imagine encountering when I was picturing all the machines that would be competing before arriving at Three Sisters Race Circuit. No idea why the ‘PORSCHE’ decal is out of line on the door, but I’m feeling the mismatched wheels.
One of the more serious-looking entrants I spotted that day with the tailpipe looking like a bazooka.
Back to front. Hardcore boyz don’t need rear bumpers. And check out that front camber; nuts!
The format of the race was a basic lead-and-chase run. The classes of cars were separated so that similar power and tune cars were pitched against each other to keep things fair. Judging drifting is subjective but only to an extent, as clipping points and proximity act as measurable markers for high skill and precision, which win you points.
The drift section was short as only the first 3 corners of the track are used from the pit-exit, but this allowed for higher frequency in runs and gives chance, to those who need it, for seat time in a competitive environment.
I loved seeing the less powerful machines, particularly those in NA tune, being pushed to the absolute boundaries. This Corolla was cool-looking.
If I remember correctly, that S14 rocked a R35 powertrain, so it sang some beautiful songs as you can imagine.
Here comes trouble. This RB26DETT-powered non-GTR R34 Skyline was dominating every session, it just goes to show how capable the chassis is, even in FR layout. To be honest though, this was far from stock so my comment is near enough irrelevant with this machine.
Coming in hot. I liked this take on the E36 coupe BMW, makes me wonder what it would look like with those headlights in combination with a full front face… The front and rear quarters don’t really flow, but that adds to its quirky character.
ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN – DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME (ON THE STREET…)
Very well styled. The S13 coupe Silvia does grow on me from time to time, this is a great looking model if done right