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    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.



    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.



    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.



    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).



    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).



    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.



    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.



    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!



    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!



    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.



    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!



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


    Joe Ankers



    • All photos this issue by FJ photography




    • Joe Ankers




    • Drift Matsuri

    Drift Matsuri Website




    • Previous Blog Issues

    Issue One - The Introduction

    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




    • Joe Ankers




    • The Irish Drift Championship

    IDC Homepage