Ed note: Just how big of a drifting fanatic are you?
Probably not as much as Antonio Alvendia is. This guy lives, breathes and would die for drifting--after all, it did change his life. Having attended nearly every U.S. event ever conceived, from D1 to Formula D, the funky Filipino also managed to put together a book dedicated solely to drifting, and he titled it--yep, you guessed it--Drifting. His recent travels took him all over the world, from Japan's familiar stomping grounds to the Parthenon in Greece to the glamorous realm of Compton. We asked Antonio to throw down a blog for us, highlighting his favorite moments.
WTF! Leah Dizon's blowing up in Japan!
My friend Shinji Minowa is well known in Japan for driving his blue AE86 in the D1 Series. He and Robbie Nishida are both from a well-known drift team called "Hey Man" and Shinji has a tuning shop in the Yokota area called Hey Man Products. Shinji's girl, Masayo, was looking through their magazine rack, when I spotted a magazine with Leah Dizon on the cover! For those who don't know, Leah started as an import model, and was featured in Super Street, Import Tuner, and other mags. But now she's blowing up with a professional singing and modeling career in Japan! Congrats, Leah! I was trippin, that's crazy! See ladies? Don't be shy next time you see us taking photos of you! We'll make you famous!
Destination: JapanGetting schooled by Kumakubo at Ebisu
First stop on the agenda was Dori-Goya, D1 Series Champion Nobushige Kumakubo's drifting school at Japan's legendary Ebisu Circuit. My good friends Robbie Nishida, Calvin Wan and Ben Schwartz, professional drifters from America's Formula D series, went to Ebisu for higher learning. Here, they were able to get drifting practice with tutorials from Kumakubo and Team Orange, ho are world renowned for their tandem drifting ability.
We had the unique opportunity to check out the Kumakubo family's Tohoku Safari Park, which is on the same mountain, adjacent to Ebisu Circuit. Crazy! It was like Jurassic Park... but instead of driving jeeps or the normal Safari buses, Kumakubo let us drive RHD Nissan Laurels in there! You go through two humongous sets of gates, and then you're out in the open, driving through the wilderness with random lions, tigers, elephants, zebras, giraffes and, ahem... llamas. It was funny...when we were driving through the llama area, Calvin decided it was a good idea to feed the llamassome animal crackers. I was totally against it cause I think wild animals are dirty, but Calvin insisted "Naw man, it's cute! I'mma feed it!" So Calvin rolls down the window, and the llama starts chomping away... chomp, chomp, chomp...blehhh!!! The stupid thing threw up all over Calvin! LOL! It was gross! It looked like brains and guts splattered all over the inside of the car, it was nasty as hell! Calvin was pissed at the llama ruining his new Sparco hat, but I was even more pissed because I told him not to feed it, and llama vomit smells nasty as hell! We had to smell the vomitINSIDE the car the entire time we drove through the Safari Park, because Calvin decided to feed the stupid llama at the beginning of our Safari Park tour. Good job, Calvin.
Destination: GreeceTeam Orange Tandems in Greece!
Tandem drift master Kumakubo recently had an orange R33 Skyline built with all Blitz performance parts, so that his friend, D1's famous Nomuken, could join Team Orange to do drifting demos outside of Japan. Shortly after, the organizers of the Athens Tuning Show arranged for Team Orange to come out to Greece to have them perform tandem drift demos, using Kumakubo and Tanaka's famous D1 S15 Silvias, and the new pair of orange R33 Skylines, driven by Nomuken and Team Orange's youngest member, Naoto Suenaga. Together, the four drivers performed precisely choreographed tandem drift demos at Greece's Megara Circuit during the Power 100 Speed Festival.
A few days after the Power 100 Speed Festival, Team Orange held a drifting school in Greece, giving the top Greek drifters tips on how to improve their car control and entry speeds. We saw several S13s (in Greece they're called 200SXs and they come with SR20s), but AE86s were a very rare sight. We did, however, get to see some super cool vintage Mark 1 Ford Escorts out there tearing up the track!