When it comes to drifting, there's far more to look forward to than just the professional realm. Sure, high speeds, loud V8s and smokey runs are no doubt exciting, but there are still plenty of fans and intense competition in the equally entertaining setting of grassroots drifting. These are the type of events and people who romanticize the Japanese drifting spirit. Take the inaugural Low Style Heroes Volume One weekend event that went down in Virginia, for example; the vibes were grassroots, but you still had pro drifters such as Forrest Wang, Cameron Moore, Ryan Litteral, and Jeff Jones shredding Shenandoah Speedway that's suspiciously similar to Irwindale Speedway's layout. But the true highlight of the event was no doubt J pilot Akinobu Satsukawa, also known as Abo, and his four-door Nissan Skyline R32.
One of the major players hosting the event was Zestino Tyres. Brand manager Ernie Gonzalez says, "The aim and purpose of our events is to unite all who share the understanding of personal car and driving style, in hopes that it may rub off on others who may not agree or have never experienced it first hand, by providing a place to display style." Style is the name of the game and Abo is a person who cares about style almost as much as drifting. From the streets of Japan, Abo was flown in to drift on US soil and pitted against Forrest Wang and his menacing Nissan Silvia S15. Amateur drivers had the opportunity to tandem and learn from Abo the correct lines to take throughout the course. Additionally, Abo had duties with Officer Dan Brockett walking through the pit area slapping "No Style" stickers to cars that weren't low enough or were straight up ugly. Abo's simple test of stance involved sticking his pack of cigarettes between the tires and fenders.
At the end of the two-day event, everyone was invited inside the track to vote for the driver with the best style, either Forrest Wang or Abo. The winner was determined with the loudest cheer and was so close that a "one more time" was issued. However, by the second cheer test there was a clear and definitive winner and Abo was crowned the first champion of Low Style Heroes.
The event is definitely an experience where you embrace the chaos. For those of you who have only been exposed to professional drifting and might want to do more than just spectate, you'll want to check out a grassroots drifting event like Low Style Heroes. You don't need millions of sponsorship dollars to drift; just a rear wheel drive car and a good attitude will get you pretty far. After all, that's what Abo and his crew did back in Japan, right?