This past weekend myself and Tim Walsh attended the first round of the VegasDrift series based, quite obviously, in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was my first time attending VegasDrift and I hope to be bringing you more of the series along with Tim in the year to come as I have now moved from Ireland to the States. If you are interested you can check out my article on Autolifers about my thoughts on the event. On OMGdrift we are going to look at the battles!!
This young lady was getting a passenger run with Brandon Wicknick – Nice sticker!
Mikey Stark was one of the many locals who brought the thunder
Kasey King of Fort Collins, Colorado was out representing the TC Drift crew
TIM:Being behind the camera at drifting events gives you a unique perspective on driver’s styles and strategies, which really helps us media folks see a driver’s personality closer than most get to experience. While this was my first Vegas Drift event I went in to it with high expectations because in seasons past I have seen Las Vegas veterans Danny George and Forrest Wang compete and win with a style and flair that is indicative of the Sin City. It’s a unique blend of ambition and aggressiveness as well as technique and showmanship that this desert paradise seems to foster.
TIM:My expectations were met and then exceeded during the first few practice sessions of the day. Even out-of-state drivers that I have seen compete throughout the Southwest were on their A game.
PATRICK:Now, you guys are going to have to forgive me a little, with me being so new to the series I simply do not know who is who. Still suffering from jetlag I wasn't really able to keep pace with what was actually happening so please bare with me :)
First up in the Top 16 was Alex Heilbrunn in his s13.4a versus the Toyota Soarer/Lexus SC of Kasey King. After a tough battle Kasey brought his car through.
The next battle would be over before it even got started. It was very obvious that Joe Tardiff in the PS13 was having technical issues which allowed Mike Fulkerson to progress. A frustrating end to the day for Joe no doubt.
Our first OMT of the day came in the shape of the hard charging Mauricio Ornelas in the Green S14 and Ethan Hunter in his 350z. On Ethan's OMT lead run he was able to pull a consistent gap to Mauricio allowing him to get through to the Top 8.
The blue S-bodies were up next and some great action from both Riley Fremont in the S14a and Brian Saip in his S13. Despite some close following from Brian he was unable to beat Riley and the blue S14a got the nod.
The Get Nuts Lab S14 of AJ Gallant went up against the similarly mounted S14a of Brian Patterson and...
... despite the **cough** "Gallant" efforts of the Get Nuts Lab fans to call for an OMT, the white S14a of Brandon Patterson managed to get through to the next stage.
Faruk Kugay and George Kiriakopolos were up next in yet another S-body battle! Faruk followed very closely in the S14a getting him the win over Kiriakopolos in the STR Racing S13
Three OMT's to separate these two lunatics. All day the PS13.4a (mouthful) of Mikey Stark and the Toyota Soarer/Lexus SC of Cameron Moore laid down serious entries and smoke. It was great that both of them met in the competition because even though this was a Top 16 battle it could have easily been a final. Very impressive work from both drivers but it was the Wasington native, Cameron Moore who progressed.
The final battle in the Top 16 was the super-charged S13 of Spike Chen and the S14 of Josh Mcguire. Spike was able to whistle his way into the Top 8 by staying closer to Josh during his chase run.
Mike Fulkerson met Kasey King in the first of the Top 8 battles and Mike stuck to Kasey throughout his chase run and suitably continued on.
Riley Fremont and Ethan Hunter took to the course. Riley ended up straightening on the second right hand bend and Ethan did well to miss crashing into him and as a result only had to play safe on his lead run... which he did.
More S-bodies, More 14a's - Faruk Kugay and Brandon Patterson battled it out quite closely with Brandon getting the win and moving on.
The Spike Chen and Cameron Moore battle was seemingly over very quickly which would have been unfortunate as I think Spike deserved more from his days drifting. Entering the first corner some contact was made and flicking through the transition, Chen ended up off the course and then washed out in the first left hand bend. Chen battle back during the OMT to take the heat with Moore suffering from a mechanical issue.
The Top 4 shoot out was next. Both Fulkerson and Hunter had been driving really hard all day and it would take a OMT for Fulkerson to take down Hunter in the 350z.
The whistling super-charger of Spike Chen had Brandon Patterson in the white S14a standing between him and a place in the final. After his epic battle against Camron Moore in the Soarer/SC it was looking like Spike was the man to beat but Brandon Patterson hadn't read the script and duly marched on to the final.
Spike Chen and Ethan Hunter battled for 3rd place with Spike coming through to take that, by now, coveted third spot.
So as the light faded fast we had reached the final. Brian Patterson in his S14a versus Mike Fulkerson in the S13 hatch. Both drivers fought hard but it was the bright white S14a of Patterson that came through in the increasingly darkening light at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
PATRICK: I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Vegas Drift staff and to Tim Walsh, my cohort for the day. I am really looking forward to Round 2!!
OMGPatrick and OMGTim
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