To start with: If you are a fan of drifting, and you weren’t there, then man did you miss out! JDM Allstars at Wembley 2009, was in my opinion one of the best events in the history of drifting in Europe.
A field of 50+ drivers from the UK, Ireland, Holland, Japan, The Czech Republic, and even Australia, made for some seriously intense driving. And then there was the track, situated under the watchful eye of Wembley stadium and half of Londons passing traffic scaling the walls to get a look in..
The Track It was a street course laid out with a run up between buildings, into a left hand turn with a little bump where you initiated the drift, then into a huge right hander, with the clipping zone on the outer edge of a solid concrete wall, leading into a tight section of three clipping points, that crossed over a raised section of tarmac which actually caused the cars to fly as they transitioned from one direction to the next. It’s not like an aggressive compressive bump like Santapod. It was like a launch ramp. When drivers got this section wrong we actually saw occasions where all four wheels of the car would leave the ground by over 30cm. From a spectators perspective it looked awesome, and from a drivers perspective it turned a relatively simple track layout into a highly technical, hugely enjoyable and challenging track.
Team Driftworks attended in full force, with myself and Bonbon representing the dark side of Driftworks in the 666 horsepower S15 Silvia, and the 550 horsepower Skyline, and Dan Chapman in his newly rebuilt and individually painted S13 Silvia, now running a Holset turbo and 450bhp.
As usual the word of the day from the people we spoke to was ‘smoke’. All three of us used the Federal 595RSR tyre, and thanks to the nature of the fast hairpin up against the wall, for the record, if they do the event again I think gas masks should be handed out on the gate.
Saturday The event already had 16 pre qualified (or seeded) drivers, so Saturday was qualifying for those that wanted a spot in the top 32 competition on the Sunday.
Even at this stage the competition was absolutely fierce. Everyone going for the perfect line up against the wall. A few people were pushing just that little bit to far resulting in less of the desired healthy glance type contact, and more of a hefty smash, turning fiberglass, metal and rear lights into shrapnel.
Sunday was the day of the main competition. Starting first with the Superlap to decide a qualifying position for the whole group of pre qualified drivers and those that had got through from the Saturday.
Superlap is one run, no warm up. Just go for it as hard as you dare. It’s an all or nothing type affair particularly when there’s a massive concrete wall to contend with.
I think of the 32 drivers around 10 scored 0 points through trying too hard and spinning or hitting the wall. My superlap was more than a little frustrating. I’d set myself the goal of knocking the clipping zone cones off the top the wall with my wing, and I’d pulled an extra gear to bring the smoke to a new level. Unfortunately just as I set my line and eyed Dan Joyce tapping the wall for me to start the contact, the stupid electronic battery cut off decided to kill all power to everything in the car… It’s never done it before, so maybe the car was under the impression I was about to write it off , and decided to go into self preservation mode. I was gutted though, and the only way to cure my rage was to do a 3rd gear donut and kill a brand new set of tyres in one go.. In retrospect it didn’t help the stress levels that much, and just further hindered our rapidly dwindling tyre stock.
Let Battle Commence
So onto the battles. These started great with all three Driftworks cars moving onto the top 16, then in the battles to get into the top eight Bon lost out to Luney whilst throwing down the most almighty smoke cloud of the event. Then in the battles for the top four I lost out to Paul Vlasblom by making a really stupid mistake crashing into him on the last corner. Particularly frustrating as I really didn’t need to be that close to him to win.
Dan however went on to the top four, then onto the finals where he also met Paul Vlasblom. The battle went to one more time, and Dan kicked it up a gear. Getting right up on his door the whole way around the course, and giving absolutely nothing away when Vlasblom was chasing.
So the winner of JDM Allstars Wembley 2009: Dan Chapman. Our up and coming choice to sponsor in 2008, is now very definitely firmly ‘up’ and ‘there’!
Well done dude! You worked so hard to get your car there, and dominated every battle on the day. You thoroughly deserve the win, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching you do it.
All Pictures courtesy of Ross from Doristars. Check out www.doristars.com for the full gallery, and more amazing drifting photography.
I’d also like to personally thank Niall and his team from JDM Allstars. I think you have now established Wembley as a defining event for all serious drivers.
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