All Star Bash Details:
Horsepower, spent tires and trackside campsites laden with tools/parts, adult beverages and audio equipment rang in All Star Bash 2013. Just a week after the 2013 Formula Drift season eclipsed 125 drift cars and an estimated 1,700 spectators from around the world converged at Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, CA for JustDrift’s annual grassroots event. Formula Drift pros such as champion Michael Essa, Matt Field, Dai Yoshihara and rookie Nate Hamilton kicked it alongside Top Drift series drivers and local enthusiasts. It was the biggest ASB meeting to date and a total blast.
Paul Lopez, JustDrift media relations rep. said, “This is one of our biggest events of the year. We are running four different groups today – some amateurs, Top Drift pros and a bunch of Formula Drift professionals who 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.
This is our seventh one and every year it has grown bigger and bigger. Before it was half full but drifting is just getting more popular in general and us being a Formula D Pro-Am helps. We’ve had a lot of people like JTP and Matt Powers come through us so there is a draw with that too. There has also been a major influx in our Top Drift series and the fact that ASB is now in October instead of July so pros can hang around a week after the FD finale and make it.”
Session after amateur, expert, pro-am and pro class session commenced on the morning of October 19th and continued into Sunday, October 20th. Whether just practicing, participating in the nighttime tandem battle competition or spectating with a cold lager in hand it was a laid back experience rooted in what the sport is all about – having fun.
Dai Yoshihara, Formula Drift Discount Tire/Falken Tire Nissan S13 240SX driver commented:
“This is the first time in a long time coming to this type of event. 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.”
Driving a near stock E36 BMW M3 with cage and upgraded clutch, Michael Essa, Formula Drift GSR Autosport / Yokohama E46 BMW M3 driver commented, “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 track just tearing it up, it’s tons of fun. People are going off in the dirt, spinning, laughing about it, it’s a giant party.”
As drivers at a Global Time Attack and Shift-S3ctor pro-am event searched for traction at Big Willow drifters at the neighboring track worked to lose it sideways across the smaller Streets of Willow. The acoustics of countless LS motor swaps to boosted JDM rides set the tone across the sunny desert landscape. One thing became blatantly obvious during this year’s ASB, the drift community has become obsessed with horsepower. Gone are the days of modified 240SXs rocking a mere SR swap. 450+ horsepower has become the norm for kids that hardly look old enough to bar hop.
Essa agreed, “The whole drifting scene has gotten a lot of power lately. Everybody has V8, 2J or RB26 swaps. I don’t think I’ve even seen one SR out here.”
Yoshihara continued, “It’s kind of getting horsepower hungry these days. My S13 [stock SR20, KW suspension, welded differential] here doesn’t have very much power – like 190hp right now. 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. Big horsepower cars kill a lot of tires so it’s expensive. I just don’t think it is the right movement.”
Blowing your budget on rubber via a big motor aside, the continuous clouds of smoke wafted into a mid-day official Guinness World Record attempt [official result and feature to come] for the most tandem cars drifting. Unofficially 58 cars took part in what was first a massive 30-second burnout display that smoked the main straight to skid pad before tandem sliding began. The train of drift cars killed the track in a spectacle unlike anything we’ve ever seen. 1st Lt. Jeff Guillotte, pilot of the 729th Airlift Squadron stationed out of March AFB [who also enjoys drifting] circled overhead to help capture stunning aerial photography of the record attempt.
After sunset a two-hour break made way for a nighttime team tandem competition. Flood lights illuminated portions of the track and media congregated on the infield around Street’s skid pad. When the drifting shut down for the night heavy electronic bass from trackside DJ setups kept the party going. Beer pong, debatable dance moves, kicking back and enjoying one to thirteen brewskies concluded day 1 of ASB 13.
The following Sunday offered drivers access to the major elevation changes of Willow’s smaller Horse Thief Mile circuit – Streets of Willow was also open for drifting. More runoffs, lost bumpers and slideways antics ran through the final day of what was a very cool, very exciting weekend of getting loose.
Charlie Ongsingco, JustDrift president concluded, “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.”
Big thanks to the JustDrift organization. See you next year!