Throwback: System Drift Lengthy Seaside 2014

2024 Intro

This coming weekend, the streets of Lengthy Seaside will come alive with all the color and pleasure of a brand new System Drift championship.

FD has been kicking off new seasons right here since 2006, and over that point, the difficult concrete barrier-lined avenue course has seen as a lot glory because it has heartache. Ten years in the past, Larry was on the bottom in Lengthy Seaside to seize all of the motion of the 2014 System Drift season opener, so for this week’s throwback put up, we’re revisiting that occasion protection. How a lot has skilled drifting within the USA modified over the past decade? Let’s discover out…

2014 Function

Irwindale will all the time be ‘The Home of Drift’ – the place the place essentially the most epic of occasions happen and System Drift champions are crown. However what about Spherical 1 on the streets of Lengthy Seaside, California?


I believe Lengthy Seaside is the right venue to showcase what drifting has turn into as an internationally acknowledged motorsport. It’s truthful to say that it needs to be dubbed ‘The Streets of Drift.’ Yearly I sit up for seeing the highest drifters from all around the world collect within the seventh largest metropolis in California and residential to virtually half 1,000,000 residents.


2014 marks the ninth season of System Drift competitors at Lengthy Seaside, and I’ve watched it evolve into what it’s right this moment from the very starting.


Regardless that I’m only a journalist trying in from the surface, I really feel like I’m part of the System Drift household. The game has advanced a lot over time, however all the folks nonetheless behind the wheel stay the identical. Drift Alliance could also be grown up now, however they’re nonetheless better of pals.


I remembered a time when there was nonetheless room within the stands throughout the High 16 introductions. Lately there’s standing room solely, and further house for essentially the most devoted of followers to get the VIP therapy and watch the formalities from the precise monitor.


I believe a part of the success of System Drift might be attributed to the town of Lengthy Seaside, and its willingness to not solely settle for, however welcome with open arms this superior type of motorsport.


Lengthy Seaside is the right place to kick off a brand new season, and the extent of dedication drivers must put in right here to do nicely, is in contrast to every other cease on the System Drift calendar.


Drifting continues to develop, as does the variety of licensed System Drift drivers. Nevertheless, for 2014’s inaugural occasion there have been much less drivers than final yr resulting from most of the groups not having their automobiles completed in time.


I assumed that was going to be the case for Michael Essa, as a result of lower than a month out from Lengthy Seaside his E46 M3 was sitting in his store as a naked chassis. I solely assume he completed in time as a result of he bought a clone to assist him out.


By now you in all probability heard that Chris Forsberg nabbed the win.


Final yr’s championship battle wore on him, as he was only a stone’s throw away from incomes his second title.


Chris was strolling on air when he received. There isn’t any higher option to begin off the season than with the highest step on the rostrum – particularly if you’re searching for a brand new title sponsor.


I suppose it was a bit overwhelming, however over the course of the low season numerous effort when into bettering his Nissan 370Z’s setup.


Ray Shake and Brian Wilkerson from MA Motorsports pushed arduous to construct a automobile with not solely extra energy than ever earlier than, however with elevated reliability too.


I do know Chris and the staff’s hearts dropped once they needed to name 5 minutes throughout competitors when the Nissan wouldn’t fireplace. But it surely simply turned out to be a free battery cable. Every part else throughout the occasion appeared to run easily, and if that’s saved up throughout the remainder of the season, Chris Forsberg Racing might be in with an excellent likelihood of incomes their second championship.


Our personal Vaughn Gittin Jr. is one other top-ranked System Drift driver working arduous to safe his second title, too.


I don’t assume there’s one other driver within the ranks of System Drift that’s extra invested on this sport than Vaughn. I actually do not know how he juggles so many issues directly. One week he’s in Europe and the subsequent week he’s in China – it’s infinite with this man.


Through the driver assembly he was reunited with Nobushige Kumakubo, whom he battled with again when D1 Grand Prix nonetheless had North America on its radar.


In fact, a lot has modified since then. Possibly Mr Group Orange will make the soar over to compete in System Drift, identical to Daigo Saito did in 2012.


I believe we’ll see an increasing number of Japanese drivers within the FD ranks, which needs to be nice for the game – and it’s largely due to this man. Nevertheless, the champion bumped into issues in Lengthy Seaside with a automobile that was affected by drivetrain points. Uncharacteristically, he was knocked out of rivalry within the High 32 consequently.


Our Scandinavian driver, Fredric Aasbø, is without doubt one of the few worldwide opponents in System Drift residing a dream. He got here to North America with nothing greater than a automobile and hopes of selecting up a significant sponsor.


He has gone from sharing a tiny resort room mattress together with his spotter/mechanic/greatest good friend and solely in a position to afford to run just a few rounds, to being sponsored by Toyota and having the chance to take his drifting skills all around the world.


He’s even changed Manabu Orido because the Group RS-R driver now, however the true problem for him is to win his first Professional Championship occasion. He has come shut a number of instances, so it’s only a matter of all his playing cards falling in the fitting place.


There’s one thing about these Norwegians that maintain them pushing arduous each single time they go to battle. Possibly it’s the Viking spirit of their blood?


After a few years of heartbreak and up-close-and-personal encounters with the wall, Kenny Moen lastly earned his very first System Drift podium at Spherical 1.


He’s in an incredible place to win the championship this yr, however he simply has to stay constant sufficient all through the remainder of the season.


I’ve talked about just a few worldwide drivers, however we will’t overlook about our pals to the North both. System Drift’s 2013 Rookie of the 12 months, Mats Baribeau, continues to impress me everytime he hits the monitor. He certified excessive at Lengthy Seaside and made it into the High 16, which is fairly wonderful when you think about it was his very first time competing on the road course.


There at the moment are three Canadian drivers competing within the Professional ranks, together with Dave Briggs and Marc Landreville. It in all probability helps that FD is planning an exhibition spherical in Canada later this yr too.


Discuss of System Drift holding worldwide championship has been out for some time, but it surely didn’t actually hit me till I bit into an FD cookie over the weekend.


System Drift’s president and co-founder, Jim Liaw, is placing every part into the game to assist take it to the subsequent stage. A global competitors is a large step.


Co-founder Ryan Sage and a small crew from North America has been serving to plan occasions in South-East Asia for years, and extra lately in Australia. So it solely is sensible to increase to Europe and past.


A part of that worldwide crew is Jarod DeAnda – the person who has introduced each single FD competitors since day one. When he’s not on the mic, he works very arduous behind-the-scenes to accumulate extra sponsors, which after all advantages everybody in the long term. He helped to debut the REV’D award this spherical, which will likely be granted to essentially the most deserving driver of the 2014 season.


It wouldn’t be Lengthy Seaside and not using a few nasty wrecks. In my first put up from the occasion I touched on Joon Maeng’s crash, which was one of many worst I’ve seen shortly.


Probably the most notable incident throughout competitors although, was positively the one involving Kyle Mohan throughout a battle with Robbie Nishida.


The Lengthy Seaside native hit the clipping level wall arduous, shattering one in every of his wheels within the course of. You could possibly truly see components of the damaged middle and spokes overtake the automobile as a result of large influence.


It didn’t look good, and I assumed the automobile was finished for certain. Then they introduced that Kyle had received as a result of Robbie spun independently to Kyle’s wreck. How loopy is that? Solely in drifting I suppose…


So the staff spent all the half time break borrowing components off different RX-8s within the paddock to get the Mazda again collectively in time for the High 16.


Though it appeared somewhat worse for put on, the automobile was largely collectively for Kyle’s tandem with Kenny Moen. The body was tweaked nonetheless, so the Mazda didn’t drive the way in which it ought to.


It was unlucky for Kyle, however he put up an actual good struggle within the circumstances.


Contemplating he misplaced his tire sponsor simply days out from Lengthy Seaside as nicely, I don’t assume he’ll be forgetting this spherical in hurry. Fortunately for him, GT Radial got here to the rescue within the eleventh hour, leaving simply sufficient time for just a few laps of testing earlier than heading into competitors.


It takes a lot ability to have the ability to drive the course and never stuff your automobile right into a concrete wall. Forest Wang demonstrates this completely.


Lengthy Seaside could be very robust for the rookies. It’s the harshest monitor within the collection.


Matt Coffman got here in charging arduous and ended up within the tire boundaries throughout qualifying. The model new staff will likely be again to struggle one other day at Spherical 2 at Street Atlanta subsequent month.


Kyle Mohan’s teammate, Tyler Wolfson, can be driving for GT Radial this yr in one other rotary-powered Mazda.


He’s additionally a rookie, and working the least quantity of horsepower out of your complete grid. It’s going to be a troublesome street forward for him to earn Rookie of the 12 months, however actually, just a few good qualifying runs and he’d be in with an opportunity on the coveted title.


The drifting fan base on the whole has turn into so large. I’ve by no means seen so many individuals on the autograph session as I did this spherical.


It’s wonderful {that a} driver like Danny George can run a program that’s completely funded by followers. They simply love being part of one thing wonderful.


That is as a result of absolute dedication that every particular person within the collection provides to the game.


Every employees member; whether or not or not it’s the starter, the judges, or the groups, wholeheartedly consider on this sport with each fiber of their existence. They adore it simply as a lot as I do.


The drivers adore it too, after all. That’s why they maintain coming again year-after-year, wreck-after-wreck. A number of encounters with a concrete Ok-rail by no means stopped anybody.


Subsequent time you guys come to System Drift, strike up a dialog with one of many drivers – you’ll see how a lot they love what they do.


Chris Forsberg could have gone to the darkish facet with a blacked out automobile and matching race go well with, however he’s nonetheless one of many nicest and most devoted drivers within the sport. On numerous events I’ve seen him cease no matter he was doing simply to say hi there to his followers.


It’s going to be enjoyable to observe him push arduous for the remainder of the season.


Congratulations to Chris Forsberg for such an ideal begin of the season. I simply can’t wait to see what’s going to unfold for the remainder of the eleventh yr of System Drift.

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto

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