All Star Bash Details:
Drifting at its core is a grassroots movement focused on the fun of controlled chaos. Outside of the big budget production known as Formula Drift and any other competitive slide series there are those pressure-free “bashes” where rubber is wasted among friends that share a common passion - where the only thing at stake is the car you brought. That is JustDrift’s All Star Bash (ASB).
ASB is what embodies drifting. This is what drifting really is.
This annual west coast event broke records this year with 125 participating cars and an estimated 1,700 spectators over the Oct. 20-21st weekend event. Formula Drift pros in attendance were many and included: Dai Yoshihara, Forrest Wang, Justin Pawlak, Matt Field, Mike Essa, Taka Aono, Nate Hamilton, Ryan Kado and more. There are few motorsports that level the playing field of talent like a proper drift bash.
Paul Lopez, media relations representative for JustDrift organization said, “We are running four different groups today and Formula Drift (FD) professionals can run in any group. Some of the newer guys get the experience of seeing a FD driver run up on them. We’re out here to drift for the fun of it, no worry about competition.”
In its seventh year, the heightened ASB attendance is attributed to overall gains in drift popularity, its Top Drift series now being a pro-am feeder for FD and the fact that it occurred a week after the FD season finale. Camping trackside is recommended as the moonlit partying with Formula Drift to pro-am and assorted enthusiasts from around the world only adds to days full of shredding tires.
The weekend event is broken into sessions defined by multiple classes (amateur, expert, pro-am, pro) with the first day centered around the Streets of Willow circuit before the smaller Horse Thief Mile track at Willow was opened on the final Sunday of the event. A nighttime tandem team battle and unofficial 58-car Guinness World Record attempt for most tandem cars drifting were also highlights of ASB 13 – word on whether or not the record was broken is still out.
Charlie Ongsingco, JustDrift president summed up the event, “This was the biggest ASB so far so we are going to keep expanding racetracks next year. The season is over, we got the stars, we got the bash and we put them together to have some fun.”
The real story at any one of these grassroots meetings are the drivers so we set out to speak with a range of ASB 13 participants – from the 2013 Formula Drift champion to a talented driver uninterested in competition but deep into the scene all of the same.
MICHAEL ESSA - 2013 FORMULA DRIFT CHAMPION
ASB 13 car: E36 BMW M3
People are going off in the dirt, spinning, laughing about it, it’s just a giant party.
“I’m driving an E36 BMW M3 here, basically stock just a roll cage and clutch – that’s it. This kind of event is really what I love about drifting. I love the competition aspect but just being out here with over 100 other cars and everyone out there on the track just tearing it up, it’s tons of fun. People are going off in the dirt, spinning, laughing about it, it’s just a giant party.
Right now my car here is really slow so I’m running with a lot of pro-am level guys because I can’t keep up with the FD guys in my missile car. Just watching six FD guys in a tandem train is pretty awesome.
The whole drifting scene has gotten a lot of power lately and you see that here. Everybody has V8, 2J or RB26 swaps. I don’t think I’ve even seen one SR out here.”
DAI YOSHIHARA - FORMULA DRIFT DRIVER
ASB 13 car: S13 Nissan 240SX
“This is the first time in a long time coming to this type of event. Schedule wise traveling around usually doesn’t allow me to go but this happened to be an open weekend so I said, ‘Why not?’ All Star Bash and FD competition is like two opposite things for me. Drifting is fun no matter what but professional competition is different because of sponsors and a lot of pressures. FD is fun but it is more like an achievement type of thing. This kind of event is just for having fun - there is no stress. I get to see people I normally don’t see and old-time friends, it’s good practice. Normally, you don’t get to tandem a whole f***ing track or drift Streets, which is what makes this event so special.
It’s kind of getting horsepower hungry these days. It’s not a good thing.
My S13 [stock SR20, KW suspension, welded differential] here doesn’t have very much power – its really cheap stuff. So I can’t keep up with many pros here but at least I can act as bait and they can go close to me.
I had a really tough FD season. 2013 season was one of my worst seasons – my driving wasn’t great and the changed qualifying system didn’t work for me. To do well in Formula Drift you have to have everything: good team, good car, good driver and good luck. This year I was missing little portions of each category I guess. Next year we are going to have the new car, BRZ with a V8 (maybe turbo).
It’s kind of getting horsepower hungry these days. It’s not a good thing. It kind of sucks, I think they should restrict the power or something otherwise it will be crazy. 700hp was about it three to four years ago but now it’s not enough. My ASB car is like 190hp right now. Big horsepower cars kill a lot of tires so its expensive. I just don’t think it is the right movement.”
HERT EUGENE JR. - LOCAL HOONIGAN
ASB 13 car: 1989 Mazda RX-7
*Featured in above video
“I drive a 1989 Mazda RX-7. It's currently fitted with a junkyard spec 5.3L Chevy V8 (150k miles), comp cam and Fast 78 intake manifold with a Hinson Super Cars swap kit and supporting mods (headers). I'm running Stance Pro-Comp coilovers, Blue Star Fab knuckles, PSM suspension arms and diff bushings. The car is a pretty simple build right now, only making about 350rwhp.
Initially, I didn't like the way ASB was set up due to the color banner run groups. East Coast Bash has three to four run groups all oriented around driver skill levels - that way you can drive with your friends even if you don't have a matching color banner. But on Sunday that went out the window and you could drive with whomever on Horse Thief Mile or Streets, which was awesome.
I love watching the pros go at it in their amazing machines, but when drama & 'politics' take course, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
I love watching the pros go at it in their amazing machines, but when drama and 'politics' take course, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Getting to drive with JTP in his FC has always been a nerdy dream of mine since 2007 and even though he gets to pilot one of the most amazing cars in Formula Drift, he said our three car FC tandem train sessions were some of the most fun he's had in years. With that being said, keep drifting fun!
The event was well-run and SUPER fun to be a part of! I personally don't compete, or have any desire to compete. I'd rather spend my weekend at a Bash event opposed to a professional event. This is one of the best events I've ever been a part of."
DAN BROCKETT – 2012 TOP DRIFT WINNER
ASB 13 car: S13 Nissan 240SX
*Icon Motosport Motorcycle vs. Car video driver
“I’m from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I got second place overall in the 2012 Top Drift series – this is my firth year drifting. I got my pro license and decided to wait a season before jumping into Formula Drift to get my ducks in a row and now I’m here for my first ASB for having a good time. Hopefully, we’ll be running the full season of Formula D next year. I may run the S13 chassis, it’s comfortable to me.
We get loose and shoot off fireworks at each other, all the stuff you can’t do at a professional event.
Today, I’m driving a Plasti Dip black Nissan 240SX with faded Chartreuse interior that is powered by an RB25 with some goodies like a Garrett GTX30R. It is running close to 500hp here. I hopped on board with the Triple Crown guys and they trailered the car up here for me – major props to them for helping me out with that.
I think ASB is what embodies drifting. This is what drifting really is. You come out here and have a good time with everybody. There is no pressure to compete, it’s just everybody does a badass job and we all have fun. We get loose and shoot off fireworks at each other, all the stuff you can’t do at a professional event. I didn’t realize there was going to be this many people driving, it’s outstanding.
PABLO CABRERA - TOP DRIFT SERIES DRIVER
ASB 13 car: S13 Nissan 240SX
“I’m running a 240SX with KA turbo. It’s a Garrett T3 turbo with a custom turbo manifold, custom intake, Q45 throttle body, MegaSquirt standalone ECU, and coil packs – making about 300hp. Out back is a welded differential and stock axles with solid mounts. I’ve been drifting for about six years with a lot of it on the street.
This is a totally different atmosphere, it’s fun.
This is my first ASB. Prior I competed in round two through four of the Top Drift series. ASB has been something I’ve wanted to do but just hadn’t gotten around to it so this year I just got everything ready and did it. This is a totally different atmosphere, it’s fun. I’ve seen a lot people here around but never really knew them but out here I now get to talk to those people. If everybody stays inline and doesn’t f***k around I think you can keep it going – right now it is sort of endangered because if you mess up they can kick you out and not have any events anymore. Stay inline and I think the sport is going to keep moving forward.”
Professional or drifting for only yourself, the overall theme of ASB 13 was keeping it fun. The gamete of skill levels and car quality arrived at Willow Springs for this event. Run what ya brung and keep the attitude light was all that mattered. It is no wonder there was a waiting list of 30+ cars that couldn’t make the schedule. Next year though!
Big thanks to the JustDrift organization for running a bash like this on the west coast.