Monday, November 3, 2014

谷スタイル - D R I F T V A L L E Y X I I I


Valley Style - What a big difference from the first event of 2014 to the last. . .  Drift Valley IX was the first Fresh Roots Drifting event I attended, back in April of this year.  Thanks to a friend who (without much convincing) got me to tag along with him, little did I know I'd be returning for almost every Drift Valley event out at Shenandoah for the entire season.  Which brings us to Drift Valley 13. . . the same 3 hour ride out in the same truck. . .the same stops for gas and snacks. . .the same departure time from the shop. . .totally different car. . .


FYI, follow along with the Drift Valley IX post for a pretty eerie resemblance. . .


I won't go much into what actually happened here, with why we're now looking at an S13 hatch rather than a coupe any longer. . .if you're familiar with the Wolfpack Drift Club, then I'm sure you have the background story on this one.


What we WILL go much into, is how insane this hatch is and the fact that it was built in 4 weeks. . .I've been a proud follower and supporter of what Nick is doing with his Wolfpack Drift Club.  This car gets crazy looks and negative under-toned comments from many.  But what so many people don't realize is that THIS is exactly what the scene in the states needs.  We need crazy.  We need flair.  We need that 'W-T-F' factor.


What's so cool about this track, is that everyone is legitimately there to have a good time.  And while yes, it's not just a mere hour and a half drive away, it's almost worth the bit extra road trip to be around a better group of folks who are all about seeing everyone progress and improve their skills.


There's not too many places like this that I've found so far, let alone in a motorsports setting where everyone is already beefed up to show that they're better than the next driver.


Now that I've been out to enough of these events, it's cool to start recognizing people, remembering names and even seeing everyone's driving skills increase.


How many people do you see that drift on REAL wheels?  This is exactly what I'm saying with the positive impact I think Nick is going to have on drifting in our area over the next several years to come.  Drifting is a sport that is about both the drivers AND spectators.  While yes, I'm sure it's fun to be out there in a beater POS and not really have to care about what's going to happen to your fender or if your wheel gets smashed apart - that's not what people watching want to see.  We want to see a tight ass car, low on some flashy wheels, with some cool aero and a wing hanging off the back, pouring smoke out off the fenders. . .


Really. . .what's not to love about this?


People want to watch what's cool. . .


And this event was definitely filled with cool.


Fresh Roots does an awesome job at putting this event together, and keeping everyone happy.  I can't wait to get out there next year with these guys and be having a blast ON-track.


And I'd say that many of the drivers there appreciate that Ben and Jon sacrifice their own seat time to keep the day running smoothly.


There were some unfamiliar faces around this time, which was cool to break-up the normal mix of cars that are usually there.


And it really seemed like everyone was on point that day. . .


Adam was really getting comfortable in his 180, and ended up cuddling up to the wall several times, run after run.


Kyle apparently has been out to more DV events than any other driver, and it's really showing.  Watching him throughout the day, he was closing in while following other drivers on tandem runs. . .



And this photo of Ivan and Kyle just totally blows my mind.


First-timer, Juan, was having a BLAST in his coupe with welded diff, coils, and bucket seat.


And Nick's hatch continues to catch everyone's attention.


Scraping its way through the pits and out on the track.


Some people just have to feel for themselves. . .



The track layout this time was a bit different, and included a carousel which gave everyone a nice chance to roast their tires going from the bank to the infield, and back out to the bank again.


Running tires down to the cords seemed to be a trend that day.


This is Ben's legit RHD S13, and the thing is just cherry.


Not much to say about this one, except can't wait til next year to see it all as one color!


Two Z's showed up to this event, which really had me regretting not bringing my own car and at least getting out on the track to mess around a bit.


The entry comp was a bit interesting, and I thought I was gonna lose my toes a few times. . .


Seth, in the S14 looking spot-on.


Derek!  Runnin on 5 cylinders that day. . .


And Bellomo pushing the barrel out of his way to win the best entry.


I really enjoyed standing just a few feet away from everyone though, trying some different settings on my cameras throughout the day.


One more of Mr. Kyle.


And Derek giving us what we like to see!


Wildman Dylan was getting crazy, and kissed the wall just a little too hard.  Luckily that rear crash bar did it's job.


Should be cool to see where his car takes him, with talk of a V8 next year maybe..?


This vert was looking pretty cool, and really popped out.


G, having a blast as always.


Having folks enter and exit the track from a different point this time gave us all in the paddock a good chance to see more cars rolling by.


And this was probably the most populated event that I've been to thus far, which was awesome.


Kaffl, lending a hand and sending drivers off for their runs.


Progressively throughout the day, everyone was clearly warming up and becoming more comfortable with the track layout.


And even Jon had to test it for himself a couple of times.


Giving his passenger what looks to be one of the biggest smiles she could fit inside that helmet.


Always coming through with loudest Bimmer at the event!


As one of the last events of the season, I think the driver list got completely filled up.


And everyone got as much tandem in as possible.


Jarret, Adam and Derek were real fun to watch try and get closer and closer to each other.


And Adam, filling the hatch with the good ol' white stuff.


Meanwhile, Rich from Maverick was out there doing chase-car footage which came out AWESOME.






This thing. . .


And Dave again, getting me coated in rubber bits.



Got a close-up of this dude's car and you could tell that a lot of time and detail went into actually painting it and giving it this look, which I respect.  He seemed to be having a real good time.


Time and time again, you'll see this RX-7 at many Drift Valley events blasting peoples' ear drums out :)


Sarli brought his 4-seater drift taxi out.  This BMW sounds MEAN, but after his first few warm-up laps he seemed to be slightly off with the car all loaded up with passengers.


Shenandoah Speedway gives so many nice viewing locations and perspectives.  It's cool that the track is so open, so you don't need to fight to try and find a comfortable spot to see someone's entire run.


This car is coming together real cool, and Derek's getting really good.  Time to play catch-up!


This was my first event seeing Seth drive, and the way those wheels pop make for pretty cool photos!



Another cool factor, is that this track is just minutes from Skyline Drive and Luray Caverns.  At this time of the year, the leaves were changing and just right.  I tried so hard to get as many photos as I could with the different colored trees and mountains in the background.



The infield is a nice 2nd gear area, and I have a feeling that's where I'll be starting to get comfortable before I choose to ride the bank too much or hit 3rd gear.

What an awesome year it was to see the changes, improvements, struggles and comebacks.  It's definitely weird to look back to the first Drift Valley post, then to this one.  But I can only imagine what happenings will occur next year, and see where Fresh Roots goes with this event.  As for me, I will continue to show up, whether it be to spectate and capture the event - or hopefully actually get out and drive as anticipated.  But either way, I hope this place keeps the charm and feel that it currently has, as I think many of us feel that it's something special.
武士道 - B U S H I D O !