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    JOE ANKERS - INITIATE - THE DRIFT BLOG — IRISH DRIFT CHAMPIONSHIP

    ISSUE SEVEN - IDC RD2 ‘DRIFT ON THE DOCKS’

    ISSUE SEVEN - IDC RD2  ‘DRIFT ON THE DOCKS’

    You may have noticed by now that Ireland features heavily in my blog, this is for a number of reasons:


    Location - I'm from North West Wales, really really far away from anything of any importance, except for Ireland!

    The Drivers - I've talked before about how the driving standards in Ireland at competition level are out of this world, with it being so close it seems it would be a shame to miss any opportunity to get to see these guys in action.

    Mondello Park – Has become legendary in terms of drifting heritage in the UK and Ireland, and at just 50 minutes from Dublin, it’s seriously accessible.


    Irish ‘grit’ - The ability of the Irish to make the best of any situation, make the most of every opportunity. Make a spectacle from an empty shed, make extravagant locations from disused car parks and loading bays. Because of the lack of tracks, David Evan and the IDC team have brought to reality what can be achieved if you are able to use your mind's eye in conjunction with some savage project management.

     

    With this in mind the first of my trips to Ireland recently was to witness Round 2 of the Irish Drift Championships: 'Drift On The Docks'.


    It was to be hosted in the disused port of Dun Laoghaire. It was strange. As I pulled up to the once-busy port, I instantly recognised the buildings and the unmistakable 'metro' tramline that I had travelled on whilst visiting as a child.

     

    Upon arrival we were greeted by a wall of temporary fencing, draped in IDC branding.

     

    As you walk towards the event you could hear early 2000’s punk/rock music in the distance, which is always a good sign in my book. Once you reach the event entrance gate you then pass through a tunnelled area under a grandstand. I’m not sure if this was by accident or design but as a spectator it really built up the atmosphere, you could hear but literally couldn’t see anything, until you came up through the floorboards of the grandstand.

    At the top of the stairs was an amphitheatre. The presentation of this track was great with banners, food courts and 2 fantastic looking grandstands. As a driver I’m instantly drawn into the track layout. Luckily being an IDC Pro-Am and BDC Pro-Am licenced driver I see the Drivers Packs, which for the purpose of this blog means I can give you guys a great insight into the minds of not only the drivers but the designers of the course.

    On paper this figure of 8 style track looked relatively simple, but rest assured I can guarantee it was nothing short of a challenge.

    The brickwork provided a different surface to what drivers would be used to, the undulations in the loading area of the dock which this track was lay out on were huge compared to what you would normally find on a traditional racing circuit, and the layout was tight and what I  would call ‘boxy’. When you have 3 clips all contained within walls it creates a 3-sided box, the middle clip of this box will always be a challenge.

    This type of arrangement means your radius has to be perfect to maintain a line that will enable you to stay deep into all 3 clipping points, and on a tight track like this it was going to require some excellent driving technique.

    Another thing that the light coloured brickwork highlighted over the weekend was coverage, the rubber lay down over the weekend created a perfect picture of initiation, full throttle, and transition and, more importantly, highlighted the clips that people had been struggling to reach.

    This gave something extra to the weekend for people who like to really get to know the ins and out of drifting. It made me think one day we will have on screen throttle telemetry like you see in Formula 1, it could make some interesting viewing.

     

    As the weekend progressed, there was so much happening it’s a struggle to get it into words the action and impact that the weekend's events included, so for this issue I’m going to choose 5 topics I felt rose to the top! Topics that didn’t make the cut included ‘where’s Colfer?’ , ‘the McKeever bump’, and ‘ business as usual in the tower’.

    1: The Galvinator

    Anthony Galvin, what can I say about this chap…? If I’m honest before 2017 I only remember the name of the Galvin Brothers mentioned the odd time as being part of the Irish Drift Community, the fact is they are much more than that. Anthony won IDC Pro-Am in 2015, but over the last 12 months had not featured a whole lot as far as I can remember.

    How that has changed in 2017: from the first turn of the wheel this season he has looked in form. I published in my last blog that I felt that he was one to watch, and this weekend again discussing with Ian Waddington the BDC and IDC commentator prior the event I felt like he was one driver to watch for this weekend.

    Throughout practice he was deep into all of the most difficult clips, I felt that he really made a mark on this event, not only that but the guy’s presentation and attitude makes for a great addition to the household personalities on the IDC roster.

    He was unfortunate to go out after an accident in the top 8 against Jack Shanahan, in his own words he was ‘giving 110%’ and it showed.

     

    2: The Weather

    As much as this event was a spectacle, the weather played its part in taking the edge away from the raw excitement of the weekend.

    In drifting the weather has a dramatic effect, unlike most forms of motorsport drivers are not on the same section of tarmac at the same time. This can bring up some really difficult challenges; not only for the drivers in terms of car setup and driving style, but judging over a period of intermittent weather.

    The IDC is becoming a compact retailable show, the weather is one thing that the organisers cannot control, and it will be interesting to see how this is managed as the sport's popularity increases.

     

    3:Location Location Location

    Anywhere is a drift circuit!

    With the kind of performance that was put on this weekend I felt that if we as a motorsport can transport this to areas of increased population, bring it to Dublin, London, the cities instead of trying to pull people to the edges and outbacks of our various countries. Drifting is of a level where we can bring the show to them.

    In a culture of Electric cars and Boris Bikes, it has been proven this weekend bringing motorsport to the masses can be done in a way which requires less than 100 meters squared and can be erected and taken down in 5 days. This could be one a historic step in the continued climb of drifting into the public domain.

     

    4: Jack Shanahan - The Class Act.

    I feel that at the moment, the only thing that can beat Jack is his own car. If they keep the reliability of his 2JZ S14 in check this season, there is not much that can catch him.

    This weekend he really showed that he is capable of anything. After a difficult qualifying session, he found himself in the sudden death bracket of the Pro Class, having to fight for a place in the Top 16.

    I’ve watched Jack drift more than any other driver over the last few seasons, and for me this was his best drive.

    On an unknown circuit in tricky conditions he went against every style of driver, in a range of cars. From the David Hobbs in the Classic style AE86 which has under 200hp and gets clutch kicked around the track to Championship contenders he fought them all using every technique in the drifting book. If you missed his battles on the way to the program and you want a master-class in modern day drifting -  watch the Live Stream back, you will not be disappointed.

     

    5: The IDC Crew

    Over the years, the guys and girls behind the IDC have honed their skills as a team and it shows. No matter what surprises each event throws up, they seem to get through it. I’ve seen them have to contend with absolutely extraordinary levels of rain, judging towers failing, electrical gremlins, crazy venues and more recently live streams being overloaded with viewers. For this as a spectator in person, on live stream, or driving at one of their events I’d like to thank them all!

     

    ‘Drift on the Docks’ was definitely a round for the history books. As far as Irish Drifting goes…. I still think we are in the first chapter.

     

    Take it easy

    Joe

     

      Photos this issue by:

       

      • FJ photography

       

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      Joe Ankers

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       Previous Blog Issues

      Issue Four -  BDC The Preparation

      Issue Five - BDC Round 1

      Issue Six - BDC Round 2

       

      ISSUE THREE - DRIFT MATSURI - ANGLESEY CIRCUIT

      ISSUE THREE - DRIFT MATSURI - ANGLESEY CIRCUIT

      Drift matsuri is one of the very few events in the drift calendar that makes me believe that drifting in Britain still has some connection & parallels with the kind of events that take place in the motherland of our chosen pastime. Open tracks, the widest range of driving talents i have ever seen,  an insane mix of cars and a shitload of seat time.

       

      Drift-matsuri-s13-200sx-anglesey

      I'm lucky enough for it to be held once a year on a circuit a few miles away from where I grew up, and not too far away from where I currently live.

       

      The circuit is divided up into 3 tracks: the ‘Practice Hairpin’, the ‘Touge Track’ (part of the coastal circuit, also known as Hill / Mountain track) and the ‘Fast Track’ (Club Circuit). Each one has their pros and cons, but either way all of them are excellent fun and it’s definitely worth spending time on all of them over the Matsuri weekend. Here’s a brief insight into the chosen configurations.

       

      Drift-matsuri-urchfab

      The Hairpin is an area of the circuit which, for sure, is under used. It has no tyres lining the track and allows you to really test the limits of your ability and car setup with minimal risk. I tested out the car here before moving on to the other tracks!

       

      My personal favourite is the Coastal; in particular the section from the start line up to the back straight. From the first drift day held at the circuit (around 2013), I have always said that section of track is one of the best sections of track in the UK, and I feel there is some potential here for a great competition layout.

       

      Drift-matsuri-walton-motorsport-rocketbunny-cosmis

      The layout provides a challenge for all drivers and car set ups, and there are a number of lines to be taken, dependant on your style. My personal favourite is to attack the Hill Section with as much speed as possible throwing the car over the crest already sideways using as much angle as possible to slow the car down for a solid 3rd gear pull onto the back straight. Which is what I have been working on in the previous years.

       

      The Coastal Circuit continues onto a tight 180 hairpin left and a 90 degree right to finish. This brings you back around to the start line queue, with the option to hit the pits for a fresh set of rubber or move onto the Fast Drift Circuit (Club Circuit).

       

      Drift-matsuri-s14-200sx-sr20det-sr20-joe-ankers-ukaten-7twenty-style-49-style49-18x10.5-hyperblack

      Unfortunately Matsuri for me didn’t go to plan and I only managed a couple of passes up the hill in somewhat sketchy & patchy conditions, trying to get used to a new set up with a poorly car.

       

      I have put together a little video of one of the last runs before I had to call it a day. This pass over the hill has a little extra manji on the climb up the hill than I would normally like to do. However, it was still fun and I seemed to be getting some accuracy on the line after a few sketchy runs. While getting used to the rebuilt S14, I was happy tagging a few nice rear clips.

       

      The Fast Circuit is basically 3 corners, a fast 90 degree left onto a strait and into a banked 180 degree right into a large 4th gear (in your 300bhp Stock SR20DET and SR Gear Box) 90 degree right. This course is a challenge, and to do it well requires some serious commitment. The first straight is linkable with a huge transition, or even with a single manji, which if you're progressing from Manjis working onto a transition gradually increasing the speed and commitment, the feeling of nailing it is amazing. However, a lot of dudes think that the aim is to get as many manjis per straight as possible, after all you can do what you like, but it does mean that it can get tricky at times (Although personally for me 6 manjis per straight is a waste of speed and tyres).

       

      s14a-Drift-matsuri-2016-japspeed-wing-bgw-westlake-tyres

      The 180 degree hairpin is deceiving as the bank means you can hit it with way more speed than you think, the following straight again is about maintaining speed and getting your initiation for the fastest corner timed right for maximum angle and speed.

       

      The event has a really chilled vibe and the fact it’s a 2 day event really removes a lot of the pressure you would get on a practice day, the seat time was great and some of the drift train lengths were into double figures.

       

      retro-drift-championship-hyro-handbrake

      The weekend didn't come without its casualties this kind of event takes its toll on cars if not mechanically then certainly aesthetically and it wasn't just the grassroots guys, some of the Pro level drivers see this as the last event of the year so quite often like to see it off with an actual bang.

       

      celica-works-wheels-equips-03-drift-fitment-15-inch

      One guy keeping a lot of the drivers on tack, either with repairs, recovery or even getting parts shipped to the track throughout the weekend was Hywel Rosenthal. He is the MD of local garage Race Day Developments (RDD) with the help of his mechanic Olly had a busy weekend repairing drift cars. Some of you will know that RDD have sponsored me over the last few years, but this weekend Hywel was kept busy by not just myself but many other drivers. Just the few times I managed to catch up with him he was welding lower arms, hubs, steering racks! There are a few people missing from this list but a run down of the people i can remember he has helped in one way or another are: Marc Huxley, Ryan lawrence, Adam Agatowski, Sid Crowfoot, Stuart Roy, Nat Younger, Chris Bate, Hayden Jones, Jesse Ashley on behalf myself and all the people he helped I think he is definitely worthy of some thanks!

       

      Race-day-developments-weld-tigweld

      This year the night fight for me was not quite as good as the previous 2 years (2014 was a full BDC level comp ran on the BDC circuit which was ruled by a fantastic drive by James Deane. 2015 was an insane open pit session on the fast track in the dark which I was lucky enough to drive in). This year saw the return of competition format on the reverse of the BDC layout and then continued around to the back of the circuit. For me it was too spread out and not as focused as when the BDC layout is used (especially from the spectators point of view). That said, people doing insane drifts in the dark is never a bad thing!

       

      Drift-train-matsuri-2016-anglesey

      The following day, drifts resumed, albeit with a few sore heads after the ‘Party In The Pits’ (featuring a questionable DJ). The chilled vibe continued and the seat time was phenomenal, unfortunately still sitting out the day with the car not 100%, I took time to spectate from some of the more remote parts of the circuit, the coastal and mountainous views are spectacular and well worth the 15 minute walk up the hill.

       

      s13-twin-200sx-240sx-drift-180sx-rps13-kinzurkits

      Probably the highlight of the weekend was getting a few laps out with TJ Berney and the Irish guys. There’s no reason for me to hide the fact I have huge respect for TJ, the guy bossed the IDC Pro Am in a car not much higher spec than my own, here are a few clips from the laps I got with him, including a classic drift save moment!

       

      Drift Matsuri has never disappointed and this one was no different, as a driver a spectator and a drift fanatic Matsuri's are here to stay, my only hope is they become more common, less oversubscribed and sensationalised and be about drivers getting out on track together!

       

      Driftworks-anglesey-e36-v8-supercharged

      Til’ next time, as always check out these useful links, and take it easy!

       

      Joe Ankers

       

       

      • All photos this issue by FJ photography

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      • Previous Blog Issues

      Issue One - The Introduction

      Issue Two - The Irish Drift Championship

      ISSUE TWO - THE IRISH DRIFT CHAMPIONSHIP

      ISSUE TWO - THE IRISH DRIFT CHAMPIONSHIP

      In recent years there’s no doubt that the most pioneering drift series in the world has been the IDC. This entertainment machine has been the brainchild of David Egan who, with the support of his team, has utilised his foresight, vision and drive to not only increase the popularity and fanbase, but it’s respect within the huge pool of top level drivers throughout the world.

       

      irish drift championship kevin quinn Tomas Kiely Drift battle IDC

      It takes a lot of effort to run a minor drift event (in previous years I’ve judged at grass roots competitions, and the amount of effort behind the scenes was unbelievable). To be able to run a national series, take what has been achieved to date, and then push it beyond what anyone could ever have expected. Then to do it again with the British Drift Championship just proves what a force the management and media team are.

       

      irish drift championship s14 ae86 drift tiwn v8

      So what is it about the Irish Drift Championship that draws the crowds, viewers and drivers from all over the world. Let’s be honest some of it has to be down to the fact that it’s in Ireland and there are some things that are a given;  The Irish Culture, the mentality towards motorsport, the skill and tenacity in which they compete, even their accent just draws you in. Then before you know it, you’ve spent 8 hours of your weekend watching people drive around sideways, probably in terrible conditions, on your laptop and then the IDC made you feel like it was an acceptable use of your weekend, and then proceed to check the price of cheeky ferry over to the next round.

       

      R32 dealth width nankang tyres Drift IDC Brian Egan

      I think it’s taken a lot more than clever brand awareness and a livestream to convert this championship into what it has become today, and looking at it from a driver's perspective may be able to give a slightly different insight into this.

      Kieran Hynes and his judging comrades have transformed the way in which UK drifting has been approached for a number of years now. He has been pivotal in improving the quality of drifting by implementing track layouts with entertainment in mind; and pushing drivers to change the mentality of how you approach a battle.

       

      GS300 Aristo IDC 2jz 4door drift mondello park stone motorsport

      From my own past experience of drivers’ briefings in the BDC, they would tend to end in minutes of boring discussions based on something like ‘if the lead car goes off line, as the chase car what do I do?’ (especially if I’m being boring and leaving a gap). It felt to me like people just wanted to try and work out the safest way to win. Where as now, there is never any doubt: the chase drivers can have the confidence to throw the car sideways right on the lead car’s door every time, because the judges are able to make the distinction if the lead car makes a mistake, especially with instant replays. There’s really no reason to hold back, and if you do, you’ll be penalised.

       

      low brain drifter v8 ps13 drift idc 2016

      I’m lucky enough to have been over to the IDC a number of times in the 2016 season (mainly due to living so close), including Round 1 and Japfest - Final Fight. Both of these rounds were held at the iconic home of drifting in Ireland: Mondello Park. Attending these events during my year out from driving has really made me focus on how I want my style to develop.

       

      prodrift acadamy drift wall run FC rx7

      When you watch the guys over in the IDC, the styles on display vary so much from driver to driver, it means you are never really sure what’s about to happen next. Across all classes they have guys who are pinpoint consistent like TJ Berny and James Deane. Driving against them, if you made a mistake, you’ll be sure to be going home. On the other hand you have guys like Mark McBurney, Mike Fitz and the Shannahan’s, anything less than your most outrageous wall riding, clutch kicking, bumper destroying run will see you fall short of their inch-perfect danger drifts. I can only imagine that the way to approach the IDC as a driver is to go maximum attack, every run, every clip, every wall; or if you don’t, then you may as well be watching from the grandstand.

       

      Jack Shanahan drift s13 drift IDC wall run Celica

      Next issue is out soon, till then take it easy and check these links!

       

      • All photos this issue by FJ photography

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      ISSUE ONE - THE INTRODUCTION

      ISSUE ONE - THE INTRODUCTION

       

      There are some things about drifting you cannot put into words, or explain in a way which anyone can understand. The level of concentration that you reach while millimetres away from the car you are mirroring. The state of mind when everything’s in slow motion, when you can hear and feel every particle of rubber and dust, when your peripheral vision tracks debris hitting your windscreen as you focus on your target. That feeling at the end of the run when you're awaiting the result of a battle when in reality you don’t care which way the result goes because that run was f*cking awesome.

       

      STL S13 180sx 200sx DRIFT2013 PS13 Photo: Alistair Graham (STL)


      For everything else that can be put into words, I’m going to try and put them down in this blog. Over many years I recorded and shared my drifting experiences in a build thread for my old Ps13/Onevia on the now minimally used Driftworks Forum. In a way it's sad that social media like Facebook and Instagram have taken over from online forums I felt like the words accompanying the pictures really could explain the feeling and reasoning behind what was going on, and maybe convey some of the emotion of a particular time, especially when written in the first person.

       

      S14 200SX 18X10.5 STYLE49 DISHED WHEELS2017 S14  - Photo: Ffion Jones


      "Why now? Why here?" you may ask… Well the timing for me is right. So let’s fill in the gap with abit of history.  The old build thread finished around the end of 2013, I was lucky enough to be part of Team CarLoan4u, with two of my best friends within drifting Alex Law and Matthew Samuel. 2013 was our first full season within the BDC, we managed to win the constructors championship in cars that we had built in carparks and driveways. Against all of the odds, against Teams with huge budgets, with a little help from CarLoan4u we managed to stay afloat and buy some gazebos and snatch the championship by a handful of points. The following year the 2014 season saw the CarLoan4u team disbanded, even though I had continued success I made the decision to retire my Nissan Ps13/Onevia from competition.

       

      VG30DETT S14 STL 200sx drift side2015 VG30DETT S14 - Photo: Alistair Graham (STL)

       

      2015 was spent developing the New S14 chassis (the trials and tribulations of this teething process will be covered in the next post focusing on the build of this new chassis). I took the decision at the end of that year to take a season out from drifting. I had a lot of personal changes and challenges over the next 12 months and I knew if the S14 setup was the one i wanted to use going forward then there had to be some changes to not only the chassis, engine and aesthetics but also to myself. All of this was going to take time and money.

       

      S14 200SX 18X10.5 STYLE49 DISHED WHEELS2017 S14  - Photo: Ffion Jones

       

      So we come to today, where the new car is built and it’s in the stages of ironing out the teething problems. As you can see it is now yellow and fitted with a fresh SR20DET. The plan for this build in not only be ready for the 2017 season but a 3 year assault on competitions, exhibitions, drift events and basically every opportunity to drive we can physically manage to attend.

      This blog’s aim is to cover these events, the ups, the downs and everything in between from car setup, drift preparation and styling, through to driver progression.

       

      2017 S14 ft. 7Twenty style 49 in one off Hyper Silver - Photo: Ffion Jones

       

      So, why here…. 7Twenty are a company that have literally taken my goals for the next few years and stamped them with a ‘hell yeah’. So this seemed like as appropriate a place as any to publish this journey.

      Don’t be under any illusion: This isn’t going to be the most powerful car, I'm not going to be the next James Deane, but this will be a continuation of a journey of a normal guy who has built a car to push himself and the car as far as possible, which stopped when I tried to mix drifting with being an adult. I've decided being an adult can wait a few more years, there is plenty of time for that.

      Till then, Here’s some useful links

      Take it easy,

      Joe

       

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