The Drift Allstars round at Wembley Stadium is a drift event that doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s without a doubt one of the most well known and famous drift events in the UK, and every year since 2009 the series has brought drifting to the hustle and bustle of London.
I’ve missed a lot of events this year due to taking time out to prioritize other things, but there was no way I was missing Wembley. It’s the event that pretty much got me started in drift photography, and although I was initially going along just to watch the event and catch up with friends, once I heard that current Formula D leader Daijiro Yoshihara was driving for Driftworks, I couldn’t resist getting the camera out.
Fortunately for me I didn’t have to put up with my old and pretty battered camera at this event as Driftworks staff and Corolla Brotherhood member Bamber very kindly let me use his Canon 5D Mark II. I can’t thank him enough as it gave me a chance to really enjoy shooting again, thanks man!
The paddock was a pretty busy affair earlier on during the day, especially at the Driftworks pit area. The S15 had developed a problem with the alternator during practice the previous day and it needed replacing, but thankfully it was replaced and the car was soon ready for qualifying.
It must have been a pretty unusual feeling for Phil Morrison knowing he wasn’t going to be the one sitting in the drivers seat for this event, especially when you consider that no one has ever competed in it except for him.
But he seemed happy to entrust his baby to a driver as talented as Dai.
Dai seemed amazingly chill the whole weekend. Even after meeting hundreds of people, fans, and having the keys of the Driftworks S15 handed to him, he managed to remain calm and collected. One cool cat.
While qualifying was on I decided to go for a little wander around and check out what else the event had to offer besides drifting. Up at the Driftworks Clubstand there was a ton of forum members cars. The clubstand is great way to give those new to drifting a glimpse of the variety of cars you can use for drifting, and that it’s a lot more affordable than they might of first thought!
The London Motor Museum and been helping out advertise this round of Drift Allstars and even had Brad McQueen’s OUCH Tattoo S14 displayed in the museum. They had a little stand at the event and brought out their classic Z31 Nissan 300zx and this Bosozoku inspired kei car… thing? Anyone know what it is?
Drift Allstars had also teamed up with Fatlace to run Hellaflush UK alongside the event. Bon Bon knows how to get down with the fitment kids.
I won’t spend too long focusing on the show as this is a drifting website but some of the cars on display were simply jaw-dropping. I couldn’t take my eyes of this Audi RS4 Avant which was rolling on Rotiform’s latest wheel – the SNA. Apparently there’s only two sets of these wheels in the world at the moment – one here and the other in the USA.
OMGDRIFT photographer Stew Noble knows how to build a cool Honda, and his Civic Coupe is spot on.
As his wheel choice. Stew’s Civic runs a seriously sized and seriously sexy set of SSR MKIs with extended gold bolts – nice!
A lot of the cars weren’t just pretty on the outside either, some have had an amazing amount of attention to detail put into them. This MK1 Golf engine bay and setup was beautiful.
Driftworks forum member Daze had his Type-X kitted S13 parked up at the show too. Clean styling and a sweet set of Enkei RPF1s make Daze’s one of the better looking S13s rolling around on the streets in England at the moment. You can check out his build thread here!
Former drifting superstar Dan Chapman has broken and sold his street S13 and got himself a creamy white Lexus GS300 – perfect for those cushy trips to KFC to feed his chicken bucket addiction.
I know there’s a lot of hate on the (dare I say the word) “stance” scene from some of those within the drift scene, but frankly I’ve never understood why. Sure it get’s a bit silly now and again when it comes to how tastefully it’s been executed, but in my eyes drifting is just as much about style as it is performance, and it’s very possible to have a good balance between the two. Good wheel fitment is nothing new, and throw in the fact that the boundaries of what’s possible, and new trends with wheel fitment have actually been pushed BY drifters, I don’t really get where the hate comes from? Personally I think it’s cool to see shows like Hellaflush running in conjunction with Drift Allstars, and it adds something extra to the event.
At the end of the day it’s different strokes for different folks, but you gotta appreciate some of the care and work people put into their cars, no matter what “scene” it is. Anyway, BACK TO DRIFTING.
As I headed back to the pits I couldn’t help but notice the amount of dudes under the back of the Driftworks S15. Dai had said that during practice the back of the car felt juttery, it turns out the backplate of the diff had cracked! The team got on with repairing it and the car was back up and working in time for the Top 32.
It’d been a while since I shot anything drift related so I felt a bit rusty, but I wanted to give it my best shot. So I manned up and got trackside just in time to have Tom Yates and Dai swing into my view finder. I felt a little sorry for Tom as on the previous day during practice he’d ended up rear ending his freshly painted S13 into the wall, and now he was up against the current championship points leader in Formula D! It was seriously cool seeing Dai in action – his driving style is silky smooth but it still retains enough aggression to not be boring.
Needless to say he won his battle against Tom and went onto the Top 16.
A driver who’s been consistently on it all season is Walton Smith in the Japanese Performance Parts RB25 Subaru Impreza. Walton’s come a long way since those early days, battling it out for victory at Rockingham in his slightly battered Ford Sierra pickup against top spec cars. Now he has a fantastic team behind him and a media crew that have helped him, the team, and the car get worldwide coverage!
Walton was running in the Top 3 in the championship standings, and his aggressive driving at Wembley showed why. He moved onto the Top 16 after taking down Fillipo Pirini and his ridiculously loud turbocharged MX-5.
Another driver I’ve loved seeing develop over the years is Brad McQueen. Brad has always been one of the more grassroots drivers in the series, but for that reason it’s always made him a crowd favourite. Especially at Wembley back in 2009 where he stepped his game up with some amazing wall rubbing! It’s great to see that OUCH Tattoo have got on board to help Brad compete, and I love seeing how his crew of friends and sponsors are tight nit like a family. Brad was sadly knocked out in the Top 32, but I’m sure he’ll be back fighting next year.
I noticed Paul Howard from JDM Garage has really stepped up his driving lately, and the new look Angry Pirate S13.5 looks pretty awesome in action!
I gotta give a shoutout to Mr. Jordan Butters from Drifted for the lift up to the event, and for letting me use his fantastic 135mm Canon L glass lens so I could take super close ups of his happy face!
After over a decade in the drift photography business Speedhunters’ Ross Ianson had finally snapped and turned to wildlife photography.
Just as the Top 32 wrapped up I was called back to the Driftworks tent because apparently I was needed for some reason?
It turned out Dai needed a pen to sign the inside of the roof on the S15 – fortunately I had a black marker spare!
Dai’s also signed the S15’s c-pillar. His autograph is pretty badass.
After a while the forecast rain finally made it’s appearance, leaving everyone feeling a little damp. It also meant we were in for a slippery Top 16!
With all the dark stormy rain clouds and the sun starting to set on Wembley it made for a truly stunning backdrop as the procession of cars lined up before the Top 16.
I always love seeing the line-up of cars before the battles start, it’s a great chance to get up close and personal with some of these incredible machines.
The voice of Drift Allstars Bryn Musselwhite got down to business interviewing the drivers one by one.
Soon enough it was time to get on with the show!
From the off James Deane and the Low-Brain Drifters PS13 was an unstoppable force, taking out fellow Irish man Wes Keating in the WKD Imports S13.5.
Nigel Colfer in the Marangoni S13.5 went up against 3rd place qualifier Gavin Lenihen and his S13. Gavin had some great entries into the first corner but with the championship in his sights Nigel wasn’t about to be beaten that easy. Nigel moved on to the Top 8!
Prodrift champion Alan Sinnott and his awesome SR20DET powered Toyota Corolla AE86 faced off against another Irish driver Dan Moorhead. Alan’s lightweight Corolla helped him carry a lot of speed through the course and left a big enough gap between Dan to claim the win.
Spanish champion Lluis Lopez had been wowing the crowd with some spectacular driving in his S13 all weekend, even running the wall in his Top 16 battle against Grant Laker! Grant couldn’t match his performance and Lluis went through to the Top 8.
Team Falken’s Matt Carter went up against Michael Marshall in the MnM Engineering S15 Silvia. This was a super tight battle on both runs, but on Matt’s chase run he span on the final transition and the win went to Marshall!
I have to say, I’ve never quite seen a drift series with as many front end conversions on S13s as Drift Allstars. Here we have the Paul Howard’s JDM Garage S15 fronted S13 against Mike Deane’s kouki S14 fronted PS13! Both drivers put on a great show but Paul had the edge over Mike and went onto the Top 8.
Now this was a battle that was set to be pretty exciting! Dai Yoshihara in the Driftworks S15 faced off against Walton Smith and the JPP Subaru Impreza!
On Dai’s lead run he managed to pull a nice gap ahead of Walton and already gain an advantage. On the chase run he was all over Walton’s rear quarter. Apparently the driveshaft had broken in Walton’s Subaru and he sadly had to retire.
The final Top 16 battle was between Christy Carpenter and the Bulgarian driver Todor Dunev. The battle was going well until Christy had a mechanical problem, locked up all 4 wheels, and nearly ended up veering straight into the wall on the first corner! Fortunately he just about missed it and his beautiful S15 Silvia was left unscathed. Sadly for Christy however this meant Tordor moved on to the Top 8.
Into the Top 8 and Daijiro Yoshihara faced off against Tordor Dunev. Unfortunately Dai straightened up twice during his chase run and the win went to Tordor. Despite being knocked out in the Top 8, it seemed like Dai enjoyed his time driving the Driftworks S15. He did us proud and we definitely enjoyed seeing him drive!
The Top 8 saw some tight battles, but the most important was between Nigel Colfer and James Deane. This was the championship decider, and they weren’t about to let it go without a fight.
Both drivers were pretty much flawless in their runs, but the judges decided that James had a slight edge over Nigel. James took the win and in turn the 2011 championship title!
The final had boiled down to a battle between James Deane and suprise finalist Michael Marshall. Michael and his S15 did a great job of fighting against the new champion, but would it be enough?
As the cars parked upon the track and the crowds flocked around, the results were announced…
First place went to James Deane in the Low-Brain Drifters PS13 Silvia, second place went to Michael Marshall in the MnM Engineering S15 Silvia, and third place went to Alan Sinnott in the Hankook Tire SR20 AE86!
The overall championship results were announced last. Third place was awarded to Walton Smith in the Japanese Performance Parts Subaru Impreza, second place went to Nigel Colfer in the Marangoni Tyre S13.5, and first place, as you already know by now, James Deane.
As always, Wembley was an awesome event, and a very fitting end to what was a great season for Drift Allstars and it’s drivers. I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out next year, and by the look Nigel and Walton are giving James in this photo I’m sure they’ll be back fighting to claim the championship title for themselves!