QLD Matsuri 2014

Matsuri: Japanese word for festival, “kono matsuri wa omoshiroi desu ne” translation: this festival is interesting isn’t it?

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It is interesting, having been to Japan and witnessed a Matsuri at Ebisu circuit, then twice here in QLD, I can honestly say its the closest version Australia has to the real thing.

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QLD Drift Matsuri encases everything I love about this sport, the cars, the people, the friendships and the fun times both behind the wheel and in the pits make it one of the best weekends on the drift calendar.

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For me it was a 26 Hour road trip up the East Coast, rolling the swags out onto of the trailer at the truck stop in between, the eagerness to roll the Hilux out of the trailer and use it for the purpose I intended grew with every kilometre.

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This year is far different from the last, the pressure of debuting an untested car was gone, it wasn’t a brand new car anymore, I had a small amount of confidence in it and was excited to let that confidence grow with every lap.

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After spending some time getting the wheels pointing in the right direction (a little out at the front and a little in at the rear) I was hopeful that it would be nicer to drive.

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After setting up the trade stand friday night and then sleeping inside the trailer saturday morning kicked off with the first session on track.

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Speaking of the trade stand I have to thank every single person who contributed to my weekend by picking up a shirt or a hat, it makes the world of difference and gives the weekend a positive vibe, thank you.

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With over 200 entries the track was busy, I headed out and immediately felt at home in the Hilux, I felt like the pressure was off and I was inside a totally different car. The power is impressive, the handling is next level and the feeling I get from driving what I built is beyond anything you could imagine.

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It wasn’t all smooth sailing, with a dead alternator after the first session I headed to the local town and picked up a generator to charge the battery in between sessions, It meant I could get five laps every couple of hours, but I was happy, its a laid back meeting and to mix driving and socialising with people who I had not seen for a few years was a good thing to do while the volts rose.

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As the weekend went on so did the driving, the Hilux felt incredible, I started to really feel what it wanted as a driver, adapt to that and then really work it into the areas of the track I wanted it to go.

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The power, the gearbox and the grip levels were so amazing, its such a solid thing to drive, I think some bigger front tyres would help, Josh from MCA Suspension had a play with the dampening adjusters on the shocks, then I tightened the sway bar on the rear to get the grippy twitch from the back end out of it, now its so smooth mid corner.

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There were so many other cool cars and drivers at this event though.

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Groups of friends collaborated with each other to setup 3 car teams adding a real flavour to the event.

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Small Toyota’s

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With aggression

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To large Toyota’s with aggressive wings.

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The large track was tyre destruction heaven.

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Relatively easy to drive.

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While short track favoured those with less power and larger balls.

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The walls make for some exciting action.

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TJ’s a super nice guy with a car to match, he’s been around the scene a while and has a great driving/ building style, always great to watch tear up short track.

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Photos of photos.

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Naoki Nakamura from team Burst in Japan is possibly the most renowned Japanese drifter, he has dedicated much of his life to driving sideways and it shows.

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He doesn’t mind two wheels either.

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He piloted the JDM Garage S14 that Erin built, its a great car with lots of history in the QLD scene, Erin and Shane bought Naoki out to the event and it was amazing to see him drive.

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Some people tap the wall, some people bash the wall, Naoki kisses it with precision.

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Both ways too.

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If you were on the wall while Naoki was driving you were in for a good time.

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Speaking of a good time, driver was happy!

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The car not so, but thats short track matsuri life for you!

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Back to the safety of long track.

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So many cars ran flawlessly all weekend, its a testament to the drivers and their skill in building cars up here in QLD.

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The Hit and Run crew from NSW are always up for a good time, their contribution to the Australian drift scene is always appreciated, the level these guys are on both in skill and style is all time.

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Its events like these that remind me why I love the sport, great cars, great people, relaxed atmosphere and pure excitement.

Big thanks to Dean for the photos Jess and Celia for helping all weekend, Leon, Joel, Kal and Jenny for the hospitality, all those people that came up to the trade stand, had a chat and bought something, the support I have in QLD is great to see, thanks to all the drivers and the QLD Raceway staff (Neil especially) for having me.

Next stop World Time Attack, see you all there!

Nigel.m4v from Engineered To Slide on Vimeo.