It was a week ago that the second Round of the G1-GP got under way at the Nishi Short course in Ebisu circuit. Tailored to the foreigners that every season flock to Fukushima-ken for the Drift Matsuri, the G1 is a competition organized by the guys at Team Orange and Powervehicles, an event that since it first started at the Autumn Matsuri last year has grown exponentially. There were a total of 30 entrants this time round, mostly drift crazy Aussies, a couple of Scotts, an Irish driver, a few Americans and a lonely Frenchman as we will see a little further down.
Like all things in Japan the day kicked off very early as the participants were asked to be in the Nishi pits with their cars by 7:30 am. Soon after registration it was all up to the meeting room above the main office for a quick talk with Suenaga and Kumakubo who explained what they were looking for from the drivers, a lot of whom had never driven on the Nishi Short course before. Alexi from Noriyaro was doing the translating as usual.
Not a bad turnout! After the short briefing everyone was allowed to go out for a nice long practice session to get used to the track, as well as their cars.
The resident Police team! It was up to Andrew Roney and John Dreyer to keep things under control with their Skyline patrol car, the car they were sharing for the competition.
We saw Benny Wilkinson's camo FC3S missile in the Summer Matsuri coverage. Gotta love the little toy shotgun taped to the A-pillar!
Richard Ryan even had the perfect Australian number plate to go along with his ECR33 Skyline!
Chris Conley's sky blue zenki S14 looked the part with both its bumpers fitted. If you recall from the Matsuri posts he was running without them throughout the weekend. Deep dish anyone?
Local Nihonmatsu resident, the famous Disco Stu Sterling, who since the last G1 got rid of his trusty Cefiro and replaced it with this S13 Silvia.
Another local is Chris DeJager, a well-known driver that used to compete in the Drift Australia series before its demise. Chris has recently made the move to Japan and can be found drifting his S14 every day at Ebisu.
Emily Loudon of Powervehicles with her D1-spec ex-Yashio Factory S14 Silvia, as she shoots up the hill after the main hairpin.
Here are Emily and Chris along with Andy, the complete Powervehicles crew. These guys really do live the Drift Life!
David Watson gets special mention, as he was probably one of the craziest guys there. This was only his second time drifting, and he didn't hang around with his very loud yellow AE86. This is his car being fork lifted back to the paddock after the rear wheel came off stopping the session for a few minutes. By the end of the Drift Matsuri weekend David had improved so much he was doing throttle lift-off initiated manji down the Kita straight (his handbrake wasn't even working!) and throwing in the car without any fear into the first hairpin!
Pickering's River Side S13, one of the coolest cars at the G1.
Alexi in his JZX100 getting some practice in.
Both Suenaga and Kumakubo were impressed by the very high level of talent most of the drivers showed.
And how could one ever forget the crazy Frenchman Jean-Christophe Pepino, the man behind the French magazine AutoWorks. Here he is on board his R32 Skyline GTS-T a short while after losing the baguette he had strapped to his hood.
Later on, back in the pits, he was very happy to have been reunited with the hard, stale piece of bread. JC was also sporting a very French attire in an attempt to lure all the women to his pits. Ladies watch out!
During the practice session both Kumakubo and Suenaga went out for a play in their roof-chopped S13s. The platform at the back, which was used for the girl dancers in the Odaiba round of D1 earlier in the year, came in handy as a place from which to sit and judge the competition!
Paul Austin's JZX81 missing a taillight.
This was Leighton Fine's a super clean JZX90 MarkII that actually used to belong to a friend of mine!
Andy made sure to bring some decorations for his pit where the trusty 450HP JZX90 Cresta "smoke-machine" was sitting.
Now this is what I call a cool and original set of stickers! Can't go wrong with carbon and chrome! I'll take a couple please…
Kaliko's hot JZX90 from the US base. Is it me or are there way too many people going the Toyota way with all these JXZ chassis?
I just had to get a shot of Alexi's choice of socks. Another great bargain picked up from Don Quijote. Too bad you can't see the toe wiggling that was going on!
Look at that determination. Chris before he heads out on track in his custom stickered S14
After the practice was over everyone had three runs to give it their best shot. Everyone was going to have a chance to go for a tandem run irrespective of their points.
After the qualifying was over the standings were read out by Suenaga who gave his English skills a good workout.
It was then time for a brake as the BBQ were lit up.
Look at that selection burgers and sausages especially cooked by the Team Orange drivers.
Suenaga's weapon of choice for those trying to eat too much food!
Next up will be a look at the track action and the best battles from the day. Stay tuned for more soon.
-Dino Dalle Carbonare