Deane’s Domination: Behind The Scenes At FD LB
Patience

10 years, 6 months, 1 week, 5 hours, 31 minutes, 55 seconds. That’s how long it took for James Deane to go from his first competitive drift event as an amateur to the top step of the podium for the first time at Formula Drift in Long Beach.

Before last weekend, a lot of people would have said this victory, maybe the most significant of his career, was inevitable. I wouldn’t have argued with them, but I know from experience that victory in motorsport is never guaranteed. It certainly does not come easy.

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It was Wednesday, March 29th, when I finally caught up with James, Piotr and their crews at Bridges Racing in Huntington Beach, California. They had been in the United States for a couple of weeks at this point, having successfully tested the two cars in Poland and then flown them to the US, followed by one more test at Willow Springs.

I was in the midst of a 32-hour day, having spent 10 hours on a flight but arriving only two hours after I had departed, so my memory is a little hazy around this particular point in time.

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Bridges Racing is the home of Dean ‘Karnage’ Kearney, whom I still haven’t forgiven for driving over my camera case around a decade ago, and his Oracle-backed Vipers. Yes, Vipers, plural. Although his new car wouldn’t be ready for Long Beach, it is expected to line up in Orlando in a couple of weeks.

Bucking the trend of drifting being the form of last minute motorsport, both James and Piotr were surprisingly relaxed with only small jobs to be done, including fitting the rear wings to both of their cars. For Long Beach, they decided not to run the GT-style wing that was in the original renders of the cars, but smaller ducktails instead.

For something which they both knew would end up on the wall at some point, they put an almost alarming amount of thought and consideration into the wings’ positioning. It makes you think, if they care this much about a sacrificial panel, how much must they put into the rest of the two almost identical cars?

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Speaking of which, this was the first time I’d seen both cars together and finished. While we didn’t have time to shoot them before the event, we will make the time before Orlando to pore over them in detail for you. Honestly, I think they’re amazing and may be the best looking pro-spec cars around at the minute. They’ve managed to combine professional levels of function with street style, and topped it off with clean, sponsor-pleasing branding.

Gelo, Piotr’s chief mechanic and the ‘G’ in G-Garage, was performing a routine spanner check and fluid change on the red-roofed S15.

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At the same time, James and Michael, were making some suspension geometry changes to the blue-roofed car. While there had been long days and nights previous, both sides of the team were at the point where they could see the light at the end of the tunnel. All their months of incredibly hard work were about to bear fruit.

This was it.

Thursday
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I hadn’t even parked my humble Hyundai rental car inside the concrete parking structure at the back of the Formula D paddock in Long Beach, when I saw the familiar Oracle-branded trailer about to be unloaded. It was quiet, it was relatively early, and it was time for both Worthouse cars to be scrutinised at tech inspection.

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Although there was never any doubt that both cars would pass through, there is a fine balancing act involved to ensure the cars hit their target weight without being too far on the heavy side. As the cars can be subject to weight checks at any time, at their absolute lightest they must still meet the target weight. This includes a hypothetical situation where a car can be on the way back from a run, having lost a bumper and being low on fuel.

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While it’s a rule that I was aware of, I was surprised to see how strictly it was enforced. Both cars made their target weight which allows them to run their ideal 295/40R18 Falken RT615K+ tyre choice. There was only around 10lbs difference between the two cars, which is pretty impressive considering the weight includes the driver and the cars were built some 1,400 miles apart.

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2017 FD01 Long Beach Worthouse James Deane X Piotr Wiecek Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-31

It didn’t take long for both cars to be approved, logged and sent on their way. This was the final obstacle that needed to be hurdled before the cars and drivers were eligible to compete. The sense of relief and excitement at this point was palpable.

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Heading out into the Californian sunshine for the first time as Formula Drift cars was a significant moment. Not only were they eligible, but there was no turning back. All of a sudden, this was feeling very real.

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With that out of the way, there wasn’t much to do except breathe a sigh of relief, move the cars temporarily back into the trailer, and for the guys to take care of some errands.

I took the opportunity to explore the paddock and check out both the regular and new FD machinery in person. Days like this rarely feel like work, but someone’s got to do it. I’ll give my thoughts on these in a separate post, as I’ve enough to try and get through in this as it is.

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With the sun slowly dropping towards the horizon, a track walk felt appropriate following dinner at a nearby restaurant. The FD Long Beach drift section felt much more claustrophobic in person than I had expected; the walls only adding to that.

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It’s amazing how much significance a sticker can have, but seeing the drivers putting their names on their cars was the icing on the cake. Again, an alarming amount of thought and care went into their positioning, along with consulting the FD team to ensure that their final position was okay.

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There was a steady stream of friendly faces all day to welcome the new team to the paddock, although some did keep their distance which I found curious on a couple of levels.

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We were really down to final checks and the last things on the to-do list heading into the night, including the fitting and adjustment of both drivers’ HANS devices, something neither had used before (that I can recall, at least). They’re a mandatory safety device in Formula D.

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Into the darkness, and with the Bridges Racing crew assembling the three-car pit area, it was time to call it a night. The wait was almost over.

Friday
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When I first started documenting this story back in October last year, I was committed to sharing all the nuances, both good and bad, of the adventure. So far though, it was pretty a pretty straightforward tale.

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As teammates, both James and Piotr work extraordinarily well together; they make decisions together, they can comfortably compromise on things, but always keep moving forward. They’re a remarkable unit who are both equals in the team. They are both human though, and I’m interested in seeing how this relationship will evolve over the course of the season.

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Of course, the most significant part of this particular morning was the first practice session of the 2017 season. These were the moments when dreams became reality.

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Needless to say, fun was had with both drivers returning with familiar looking scars on their cars. Well, they are twins after all.

While it wasn’t James’ first time driving in Formula D, it was his first time in a proper car. As even Chris Forsberg said, James’ last drive was so long ago that this might as well be the first time; the game has moved on so much. It was Piotr’s very first time, and as expected, he took to it like a duck to water.

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To make a good morning even better, their two brand new custom Sparco race suits had arrived.

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Along with the rest of the staff uniforms. I’m glad I didn’t have to wear one, as was probably everyone else in the paddock.

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2017 FD01 Long Beach Worthouse James Deane X Piotr Wiecek Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-103

There wasn’t much time to hang around as practice led straight into qualifying. Being newcomers to the series, Piotr would be the very first to qualify, with James running as third qualifier. Things were running full speed ahead at this point.

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Leading in as the first car, Piotr put in a run which could be best described as solid. The judges agreed, rewarding him with a 74 point score. Not a bad start to his Formula D career.

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Not to be outdone, James decided to herald his arrival with a stormer, which netted him 91 points and joint top qualifier after the first set of qualifying runs. His smoothness and ability to seamlessly go from lock-to-lock is a sight to behold.

Support was strong with both drivers, with even more fans watching on the livestream.

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For his second run, Piotr decided to turn it up a little bit more and boosted his score to 87 points and a 9th place qualifying position when the dust settled.

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Despite already sitting joint top of the leader board, James decided to push harder on his second run and received a 96 point score.

Because both their runs were so early in qualifying, it afforded James and Piotr the luxury to head to the stands and watch the rest of the field put their runs in. At this point, I think ‘elation’ would accurately describe both drivers mood. For both cars and drivers to be so strong out of the box, was enough reward in itself.

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The fairytale start to the weekend wasn’t to be though as Vaughn Gittin Jr. went a single point better to top qualifying. It was an extra point that was absolutely deserved, as he perfectly tagged the wall three times on his run. I thought it might have been a little bit of a sucker punch to James, but he took it in his stride and still remained happy, while praising JR’s run in the process.

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James has always been just about the most humble and respectful driver on any grid that I’ve seen him, so it wasn’t a surprise. Still, he knew that if he wanted to make an even bigger impact the next day, nothing could be left to chance. When all the other teams had gone home, James was still poring over his own car to make sure everything was perfect, while continuing to fine tune the setup.

He might have topped qualifying, but the next day was the one that really counted.

Saturday
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There’s a distinctively different atmosphere in the Formula Drift paddock on the day of the main event. I don’t think ‘foreboding’ is the right word, but there’s definitely a feeling of anxiousness about the day ahead. There are less smiles, less small talk, and lots more focus.

Like Friday, Saturday starts with practice, although even that feels different as there’s more purpose to it than just getting seat time. With qualifying out of the way, everyone wants to chase to learn their fellow competitor’s traits. Those leading, are trying to throw off the chase cars or at least leave a little something in reserve.

The pace of practice was furious, with the cars returning to the start line time and time again in the hopes of running against different lead and chase drivers. It might not have been competitive, but it bloody well felt like it. There wasn’t the usual smiles and joking around between drivers that I’ve come to be familiar with at the likes of IDC. There’s a lot more at stake here.

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It wasn’t without incident though, as James had an uncharacteristic coming together with Kristaps Bluss, out of sight of my camera at least. By James’ description, Bluss came to a practical halt in the middle of the course, which left him with no where to go. The front right corner of the car took the brunt of the impact. The bumper was damaged and a boost pipe was pierced, but that was the extent of it.

James also complained about the car being slightly down on power when chasing – where he is constantly adjusting the throttle, rather than flat out when leading – which was traced to a gasket between the turbo and exhaust manifold leaking. Relatively straightforward fixes were deployed and all was good again.

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I didn’t have much time to hang around the pits as, once again, practice led straight into competition. The first battle of Piotr’s season would be against last season’s opening round winner, Chelsea Denofa, in his new Ford Mustang RTR. Denofa was absolutely slaying it in practice, so this was always going to be difficult.

As the higher qualifier, Piotr would lead on the first run. Nailing the touch and go, before transitioning back to the first outer zone, Piotr was on an absolute stormer. Looking straight up the track through my lens, I could see the chasing Mustang begin to over-rotate in Piotr’s smoke, before heading backwards into the tyres in front of me. For his chase run, Piotr just had to follow Denofa around and minimise any mistakes.

First battle and first win for Więcek.

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James’ first battle was against himself, as he had a bye run into the Top 16. He did have to complete a lap, which almost caught the team by surprise as they were unaware one was required in Formula D, as a bye means you can usually sit out that battle in Europe.

That could have been a pretty awkward start to the season.

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With both drivers through to the Top 16 completely unscathed, it made for an enjoyable lunch break of meeting with fans and generally relaxing over some good food.

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I can’t even to begin to imagine how this sight must have felt for both drivers, because it put the hairs standing on my neck. The entire course was jammed with spectators; I can’t recall ever seeing a crowd this big at a drift event before. Truly, this is the big leagues.

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The US national anthem, which might not be the anthem of James or Piotr, still has a certain power to it which perfectly builds the occasion.

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There was little time for sentimentality, however, as we ploughed straight into the Top 16 battles with both drivers still facing tough opposition from the off. For Piotr, he would chase Odi Bakchis into the course.

His run started brilliantly, with an insane transition between the touch and go and OZ1, which preempted Odi’s. Pushing through OZ2, Piotr went too aggressive and made contact with with the Falken S14, the result of which threw Piotr off line and eventually resulted in a stall coming out of the hairpin.

For his lead run, there was little Piotr could do as Odi kept his distance and maintained an easy and without risk chase. Odi went through, Piotr was out.

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James would lead former champion Michael Essa for his Top 16 battle. It would be an uneventful pair of runs for James, as he was able to put down a lead run which Essa just had no answer for. This would become a recurring theme.

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Into the Great 8, James would face former and reigning champion Chris Forsberg. I hold Forsberg in the highest regard, but I knew that if James could beat him, he would stand every chance of winning the event. From where I was shooting, it looked an incredibly tight battle. Re-watching it on the livestream, I didn’t realise just how tough a job the judges had.

Forsberg would later complain that James made contact with him on entry, which it appears that he did when looking at the replay. I personally don’t think it was enough to throw Forsberg so far off line for the rest of his lead, and it certainly doesn’t explain him throwing the anchor out after OZ2, which somehow James adapted to without making contact.

It could have gone OMT, but the judges decided that James’ superior lead run was enough for him to advance. Two battles, two champions down.

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Up next? Ryan Tuerck.

Beforehand, I had looked at the brackets for the entire Top 32 and come to the stark realisation that there were no easy routes to the final in Formula Drift. Any of the Top 16 can comfortably win an event. But this is what appeals to the drivers the most, the opportunity to drive against the very best, win or lose.

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With another solid lead run in the bag, it was Deane’s chase run that would ultimately give him the win over Tuerck. His ability to transition in space which does’t exist when he beings the manoeuvre, is something I’ve seen him do countless times over the years. It’s staggering to watch, and when he did it heading into the hairpin before promptly sticking his car back on Tuerck’s door, he made the judges’ minds up for them.

It was a masterclass in chase driving, behind what was a superb lead run by Tuerck. If you’re going to be beaten, this is how you want to lose, giving it your all but ultimately being pipped at the post. No cynical tactics, just flat-out, good driving.

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For the final, it would be an international affair against Peruvian Alex Heilbrunn in the Nitto Tire BMW E46. Heilbrunn was on fire all weekend, something you could see as he cut through the field to make the final. Like James, he was winning by going hard.

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I couldn’t have called the decision watching trackside, but the judges decided a winner after just one battle and had the cars return to in front of the judging stand.

Sometimes it’s impossible to capture those micro expressions that tell you precisely how a driver feels. As he stepped out of the car and waved to the crowd, there was the briefest of moments of recollection before James warmly embraced Alex with the sincerest of hugs. No matter the result, James was a winner.

2017 FD01 James Deane History-1

Ten years.

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Six months.

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One week.

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Five hours.

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Thirty one minutes.

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Fifty five seconds.

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“Your winner here, on the streets of Long Beach…”

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“…from Ireland, James Deane.”

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It turns out he was the actual winner, too.

There really isn’t a whole lot that I can add to that other than the absolute level of pride that I have for James, his family, his team and everyone who helped this kid from Cork achieve his dream. Few were as happy as his team mate, and maybe the man most responsible for this victory, Piotr. It was Piotr who had the idea of bringing a team to Formula Drift, but only if they could prepare the perfect package.

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There are few better endorsements than a win first time out.

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However, to try and keep a lid on emotions, there are still seven rounds left of the 2017 Formula Drift championship. The euphoria of this victory will fade, and will be replaced with a renewed sense of determination for Round 2 in Orlando in a few weeks. Some have already begun to talk this victory down claiming that Long Beach isn’t a big power track, and that it favours right-hand drive vehicles, so it’s not representative of the rest of the courses on the FD calendar. When people start moving the goal posts, you know that you’re doing something right.

Still, as strange as this might sound, I don’t think the Formula Drift roster has seen James at his very best yet. They definitely haven’t seen what Piotr is capable of, so he remains the dark horse of the Worthouse Drift Team, for now at least. Just don’t be surprised when he reaches the top step of the podium.

One down, seven to go. See you in Orlando.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos
Facebook: Paddy McGrath
paddy@speedhunters.com

Cutting Room Floor
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66 comments

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1

Awesome article! "I can’t recall ever seeing a crowd this big at a drift event before" Bro you should definitely make it to ATL

2

Montreal also has a wicked crowd.

3

ATL is lit

Author4

That's the one I'm looking forward to the most, I think. Except for the heat and humidity.

5

You will have an absolute blast in ATL!!! it is hands down the best event all season. The next one is probably Texas since they generally have a large crowd as well. You will have an eye opener in Atlanta and you will absolutely fall in love with not only the track but the atmosphere as well. One piece of advice... Bring plenty of sunblock and if you experience alot of allergies to pollen you might want to back something for that as well. ATL is "in the woods" afterall...

Lastly... AWESOME article and thanks for all of the shots taken. The best article in a while IMO

6

Stop by the Team Rowdy area and we usually have refreshments for staff and photographers.

Author7

My love can be bought with refreshments.

8

Should have slapped on one of those jumpsuits and repped the team, Paddy!

Author9

Even I shudder at the thought of it.

10
ThosePeskySkids

As a proud Irishman, and therefore not biased at all, I think it's fair to say that the hardest route to a Formula D final is/will be actually to get past James by skill alone. Simply one of the best and most naturally talented drifters out there.
Most motorsports have at least one stand-out performer/talent amongst them; think McCrae, Schumacher, Hamilton, Alonso, Rossi, Martin, Marquez - James Deane is one of those types of names (or deserves to be).

Overkill? Not if you've seen him drive.

11

watching Dean pull up close on the chase was epic.

Author12

The 'by skill alone' caveat is a pretty accurate one.

13

This is such an inspirational story and a great write up! I've even changed my s15 in forza horizon to look like his livery, best I can do to experiencing anything close to this on a budget.

Author14

Glad you enjoyed it!

15

This was an AMAZING STORY! That moment of winning!

16

Best article ever :) Perfect way to understand all :)

17
Garrett Palmer

The Forsberg sandbagging out of Outer Zone 3 was totally uncharacteristic of him and just shows just how intimidating Deane's skill is to FD's veterans. I do however somewhat agree that Long Beach is a track much more suited to that of James Deane than Orlando is. Watching his driving live at Long Beach has made me think that there is a real possibility of a Deane Championship, but it is all dependent on how he can adapt to the big power tracks which make up most of the season.

18
BEN SOMERVILLE

This is true but, don't forget, James was running the walls of Irwindale better than the large majority of the field in a borrowed, not-terribly-competitive S15 7 years ago. It's easy to forget that and focus on everything since but, in my book, if he can do that in something distinctly average back then I'd expect him to have no problem in something built specifically for this championship and clearly very capable this year. These guys know full well what they're up against and they've got the extra benefit of consulting with, and being crewed by, a pit team who've plenty of experience of those tracks in FD in recent years.

Author19

I know he's been getting a lot of shit for it online after the event, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he made a mistake rather than anything malicious. Same for Aasbo, too.

It's a long season, and I too am interested in how James & Piotr will evolve as it progresses. It's worth noting though that both drivers always seem to have the answer when faced with a new challenge.

20
Christian Clark

I've never seen either purposely sandbag another driver or play "dirty". If you watch Aasbo's other battles/runs, he pulls up every time at that same point. I love Kristaps, but his spotter should have been on that and made him aware. It was, after all, a braking zone. If he hadn't ran that same line all night I would possibly be thinking otherwise.

21

What a fantastic article! Congratulations to James. And to you, Paddy, for this masterpiece!

Author22

Thanks, Max.

23
Adam Komorowski

Great read. It was almost like reading some good thriller novel.

Also, congratulations to James and to Piotr, my fellow Polishman :)

24

Thank you for the superb coverage as always Paddy. Such a great insight to the weekend and build up. You're the storyteller of the Irish drift scene and always produce top quality content across all the native drivers and beyond. Looking forward to the continued write-ups and photographs.

Author25

Appreciate that, Cian. Thank you.

26
David Moynihan

Fantastic article. Really good read and as they say a photo speaks a thousand words. Well Done

Author27

Cheers, David.

28

noce

29

Dammit paddy, that time caption with all those historic photos was hair raisingly good.

Good on you!

Author30

Glad you enjoyed it, it was a PITA in to figure out and put together XD

31

Paddy when i SAW that part it genuinely brought a tear to my eyes just inspiring. Damn Congrats to the team but i am sure Poitr will come back fighting looking forward to the next one!

32
Trevor Coulston

This has to be the best article I have ever read on this site. Truly amazing work!

33

Maybe it's just me, but this is Paddy's best article yet. Great snaps and story coverage since its start. Great job! Is James gonna be present at IDC also? Heard he wants to get back in there...

Author34

You'd have to ask him yourself, but he has a pretty hectic schedule for this year.

35

Well I'm stuck for the 1st round, I've called the first two pages on Google of insurance companies in Ireland for the PLI requested by IDC and none offer that to an outsider. Do hope to clear that out until the round at Dun port. Keep it up Paddy, this articles and James' road, are fresh breaths for us.

36

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who noticed Forsberg trying to pull a fast one on J. Deane by slowing down his line abruptly mid lead run. Drift Alliance at it with their tricks again. Don't get me wrong, Forsberg can drive, I'd just have more respect for the DA guys' competition driving without those antics. Nonetheless, there's nothing anyone can do about that. I couldn't have been more stoked to see James not only adapt but overcome the figurative "curve ball"

Author37

I really don't think it was on purpose, it sounded like he missed a gear or downshifted when he shouldn't have. You can hear him ride the limiter before he lifts.

38

Drifting is not a sport. It's automotive ice skating.

This is not real drifting either. Real drifting is always at night, and always ends with an escape from the police.

39

You're right and wrong... This coin has two very different faces. Whether you're delivering moonshine or tofu it's a world away from Nascar and FD.

Author40

You're an idiot.

41

Crikey, what an epic, Paddy. Thoroughly enjoyed reading through that!

Author42

Cheers, Rich.

43
Mohamed Sheikhaldeen

Fantastic article, fantastic photography! absolutely loved it, specially the final sequence of his older shots! BRILLIANT!

44

Paddy, that was an amazing write up!
How much FD are you covering this year?
I'll be nice to read you opinions on everything since you tell it how it is.
Also, why do you think some of the drivers didn't stop by?

Author45

I should make every round, Brett. Worthouse are bringing me with no conditions on saying nice things, which is amazing.

I think a little bit of it was mind games, some ignorance and some just not having the time. It's worth saying that a lot did come and say hello and congratulated James after the event.

46
Overdrive Media

Fantastic article Paddy! I loved the time sequence towards the end, and there is some cracking shots in here! I haven't been following James Deane too closely, but from what I have seen I had no doubt in my mind that he had a very good chance of taking the win, and was not surprised to see him take it out. Watching him drive is the most hyped I have been watching the FD livestream in a long time, he was on fire all weekend long!

47
Dino Dalle Carbonare

So much win here. Top article Paddy! High 5s all round

48
Christian Clark

Your turn next year ;)

49
Brett Williams

What a brilliant execution of a clearly well thought out plan. Huge respect to the team, the sponsors and to the rest of the field in embracing and welcoming two fresh faces into the paddock whilst knowing full well what a threat they pose to the current standing of competitors. This speaks volumes for the Formula D and drifting communities on a whole. I hope the Australian drift scene can start to build up and have an influence in Formula in the future.

Well done on such a great article Paddy, And also on the comprehensive coverage of the event and the lead up to the event. You're a true professional.

Congratulations to all

50
Jeremie Sunico

The turn out for the event was great and these guys shredded! I've only heard of them a few times whenever articles popped up about them across the sea. Now I understand the hype around them, a well deserved victory for a hard working driver. These two are definitely gonna shake the competition this season and hopefully inspire anew after.

51

I was drifting back in the day, before all the money and sponsorships. Drifting was life. It wasn't a competition. It was a tribe. Paddy, you can call me names and delete my comments all you want - that doesn't change the fact of where drifting came from. Its history. Or the fact that all the money and sponsorships is ridiculous. It's like WWE wrestling now. Bunch of rich kids patting each other's backs. Don't even know what real drifting feels like. Idiot yourself!

52
Johnny Sheridan

"Rich kids" haha...I hate to share any identification with the drivers on the professional circuit and the likes of YOU Bakayaru,but sadly there is a SMALL similarity in the sense of each of these drivers,if not ALL learned their trade,like you, on a low/non budget scale,did you even take note of the estate Sierra James first used?..no the difference is you bafoon is these guys poured their heart and souls into the sport they loved,when you smacked your rim of the kerb and closed up shop like the whining moron you are,these guys happily powered through,and gradually got 'reconition' from SPONSORS for there talents and efforts.even if you possed the skill (which I doubt you do), your temperament as a human alone would be enough to detour anyone away from you!. And that's all it comes down to,your bitterness and JELOUSY hahaha...So you go back to your 'skids on the streets',and get off this page that's full of 'rich kids blah blah'.
"BACK IN THE DAY"...pretty much says it all about ye!,...

(On a side note!..PADDY KEEP KILLING IT OVER THERE MAN,SHOW THE WORLD WHAT THIS SMALL EMMERALD ISLE IS ALL ABOUT)

53

There ya go! All your insults - I'll take 'em.

It's funny, how the world is filled with black rappers, but they worship eminem. MMA is filled with great fighters of all colors, but they NEED Rousey and Mcgregor to get ratings.

Blather all you want about passion. Sponsorships are for WHITE people.

And yes, I'm a buffoon that STILL skids for FREE on the streets.

Cheers

Author54

I didn't delete any of your comments, I still think you're a narrow minded fool.

(I'm going off your past comments, too)

55

Don't worry, there will always be a few who search it out. It's not for the masses anyway.

56
Brett Williams

Nothing stays underground forever unless it's bred from ignorance and selfishness. Circuit racing, Drag racing, Desert racing, motocross, Oval and dirt track racing....... all have their hallmark events at their respective pinnacles but can also be accessed at a grassroots level and so can the sport and lifestyle of drifting. You can go to a skidpan practice session on your way to a mountain pass so you can live stream a Formula D round at the top of the hill...... imagine that, embracing all aspects of a sport and not just the portion of it that you enjoy..

Get out from under your rock and try to share your love of drifting instead of bringing others down.

I wish you nothing but the best.

57
Conor McAuliffe

Thats a brilliant write up! Fantastic achievement for James . I remember seeing him drifting at 16 years of age in Watergrasshill track, he is a very talented driver. He really is living the dream!

58

Paddy another amazing piece from yourself there! i really hope you will be documenting the rest of the campaign of these two fantastic additions to the FD roster!
your writing and photography style is something i find so refreshing on SH. keep up the amazing work and great to see 2 fresh faces making such a big impact in a short time for FD.

59

Great write up, Paddy! I had goosebumps while reading the article even though I was there at the event, witnessing it. Haha!!

60

this article was magic Paddy, eager to see what Deane's capable of in Orlando, this is gonna be a great season

61

Damn Paddy. Got me choked up over here. You following the entire season this year?? Can't wait to see Deane in action when the event hits Seattle.

62

Paddy this is honestly the best article I have read in my 5+ years of reading Speedhunters. I might be slightly biased as a James Deane fan. Great work, honestly. Come stop by the Team Rowdy tent in ATL if you want the full FD ATL experience.

63

Nice one!

I hope they can bring a little more friendliness in FD... remember how surprised commentators were when James and Piotr got out of their cars and congratulated battle rivals after tandem’s before winner announcements. Staying humble and modest.

64
Novac Darius-Fabian

Forgsberg whining as usual, what a surprise.

Really great job on the article though !

65
Johnny Sheridan

Just getting around to the read Paddy!.....just as equal as the performance on track from the lads!...sadly not just in Motorsport,but many other forms,you do not get World reconition until you prove yourself on U.S soil sadly,I'm only happy that James and Piotr were finally able to make it over and stamp their name. It's nothing we weren't expecting back here in Ireland or Europe, I don't think many U.S based fans would be too familiar that we have hosted some of their best FD drivers on our little corner of the world,and not a single one could overpower the part-time Irish drivers & 15 year old wonder kids who were wiping out the likes of saito, Nashida,wang,(Forsberg was unfortunate with engine issues,but was meeting Deane in his own domain anyway,so). Our guys learned their trade on beat up mountainous broken roads,terrterious constant 'rainy conditions',it's our genetics,like the founding country of the sport, Japan and it shows,not just in Deane (who's family's racing legecy speaks for itself) but The Irish drifting community as a whole. We might not have the big corporate funding or global media raining down on us,but by god are we just as good and able! Hopefully with Deane and Kearney on track,and your 'Gospel' off-track,opens more eyes state-side,to the talent we posses here, Deane is at the level he's at,because of the competition he's being racing all his life.. I genuinely take more pride in you lads over there than any other Irish affiliated icons we have based on U.S soil.

note:, you guys want to see Deanes real skills??? haha...for you're sakes,just pray it doesn't 'rain' on any of remaining rounds ;)

66

The last aritcle in the world where I would expect Ford Sierra 2.0. Maybe I can still hope that one day.....

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