June 6th dawned a gray and rainy Seattle day. The prospect of poor conditions did little to deter the die hard Northwest drifters and fans. Thirty drifters from BC, Oregon, and Washington showed up to compete in the first of three rounds in the Evergreen Drift Grassroots Championship and over 100 spectators came to cheer on the drivers.
With competition rules that allow all skill levels and modification levels compete head to head drivers ranged from beginner to ProAm. All had one goal; to give it their all and see how far they could go.
Drivers had four practice runs before going into qualifying. The track was wet from morning showers and dusty from a monster truck event the weekend before making traction very hard to find. Drivers were getting warmed up and several got real close looks at the wall stopping mere feet from disaster. Others had fun punting the clipping point traffic barrels in spectacular fashion!
Hit the jump for the rest of the recap and tons more pictures!
In addition to the competitors Andrew Coomes and Wyatt Sloan showed up for 5/8ths test and tune to prepare for the rapidly approaching ProAm rounds #2 and #3. Unfortunately Wyatt had mechanical issues and never got out on track. Andrew however, showed that his seat time has been paying off and put on a clinic on how to ride the wall on the 5/8ths bank.
Andrew entertained the crowd by skimming mere feet away from the wall with runs that would fit in with the FD Pros. With a new chassis getting prepped he had nothing to lose. After a dozen or so consistent runs Andrew attempted to do a wall ride but ended up hitting too hard causing the front end to swing around and snapped his tie rod. He was towed off the track to the cheers of approval from the crowd for the crazy show he put on. Now he is rushing to get his new LS V8 powered 240sx finished and tested in time for ProAm Round #2 only 3 short weeks away.
The rain held off and the line got dried by all the practice runs to improve conditions for qualifying.
Competitors had 3 chances to put down their best run for the judges. With a top 32 bracket and only 30 drivers everyone was guaranteed a spot in the bracket eliminations. The drivers that emerged as top contenders were Miata Mike Lukomskiy, Canadian DMCC veteran Kohei Nakamura, Chris Armstrong, and ProAm driver Nik Jimenez who qualified 1st through 4th respectively. Mike was going to be hard to beat with his lines high on the bank and bantamweight Miata handling the slippery conditions well.
Pretty much as soon as the top 32 round started the showers came erasing all the grip again. Tire smoke turned into rooster tails
Evergreen turns into an ice rink when wet so the top 32 was a contest of who didn't spin.
If both drivers don't meet the Tandem roll cage requirements a "Pseudo Tandem" format is used where both drivers take 2 alternating solo runs. They are competing heads up and the judges use the FD style Driver A, Driver B, or One More Time ruling to determine which driver advances. This gives everyone a chance to compete and experience the pressure and excitement of drifting competition.
The rounds progressed and by the time the top 8 came up almost all the pairs were tandem drivers which stepped up the excitement level. Nick Schnell in the Almond colored Drift Office S13 Coupe and Kohei Nakamura got the first One More Time decision from the judges. Kohei was able to get the pass to the top 4.
It was also around this time that the drivers started pushing harder and carrying more speed in the the final hairpin. This resulted in several wall taps and battle scars to the driver's bumper and quarterpanel.
Clockwise: Ronin Kaplan, Kohei Nakamura, Chris Armstrong, Mike Lukomskiy
The Round of 4 saw Miata Mike paired up with Mike Phillips of KP Race and on the other side Kohei (OZ Designs and Neptune Drift) paired with Chris Armstrong (UP Garage and Sugoi Style).
Miata and Phillip's first set of runs both had errors so the Judges ordered a OMT. In the second set of runs Miata put the pressure on Mike and ran cleaner earning the advance to the final round.
Kohei and Chris Armstrong were up next. Chris was able to take the DMCC veteran to a OMT. In one of the more exciting moves of the day Kohei was able to make a clean pass in the power alley when Chris went wide off line exiting the bank. Kohei stayed on the qualifying line and sailed pass taking the lead and the win from the judges.
Chris and Mike Phillips went at it for 3rd place. The first set had equal errors from both drivers so the Judges ordered yet another One More Time. In the second round Mike had a big spin of the bank and made contact with the wall. Mike suffered a a broken tie rod and Chris Armstrong secured 3rd place.
After 4 hours of competition we finally reached the final round. Mike Lukomskiy, the #1 qualifier in the Miata verses Kohei Nakamura the #2 qualifier in the gold zombie S13. Mike led the first round but Kohei had the stronger run with plenty of pressure following from behind. When positions reversed Mike made a mistake on the 2nd run and the Judges announced Kohei the winner of Grassroots Championship Round #1.
At the Podium trophies, prizes, and money were awarded to the victors.
1st - Kohei Nakamura 2nd - 'Miata' Mike Lukomskiy (+ Top Qualifer) 3rd - Chris Armstrong
With 3 minutes left before the noise curfew Rob jumped in his 180sx for a final signature "Primo Rodeo"
This competition highlighted the best that grassroots drifting has to offer. 30 locals of all different experience and car prep levels competed in a heads up battle for the thrill of competition and a lot of fun. Just hanging out at the track with friends and sliding cars sideways.
Event results for all drivers can be found here.
Thanks to all the drivers, fans, and especially the workers who soldiered through rain showers so we could drift.
And thanks to all the photographers and media. Check out these galleries for more action and check back for video as it gets finished!
Next up: ProAm Round #2 on Friday 6/25. See you there!