Spring Matsuri 2020 – Sunday

If you’ve read any of my road trip articles from Japan, you’d know that I love being uncomfortable while sleeping in my car. Well not really, but it’s cheap, right? Now that I’m back in New Zealand, and owning two cars is much more manageable than in Japan, uncomfortable has been thrown out the window.

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I now sleep in a very luxurious 08 Honda Odyssey. Not the USA version, but the Japanese one. I can fold down the rear 5 seats, and sleep through the night. I awoke on Sunday morning, fresh, and ready for another day of drifting at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park.

I had a short rest in front of Lake Taupo, then headed to Track 3. Arriving around 9:30 am meant that everybody was already there, ready to be photographed. Especially these two old Toyotas.

Some drivers attended both days, and some only did one day. This meant that Sunday had a whole new pool of cars to get in front of my lens. These four cars here are not that common to see drifting on the tracks around New Zealand. A Sileighty, a JZX81, and two BMWs (excuse my nonexistent knowledge of BMWs).

You definitely know you’re back in New Zealand when things like this are plastered over some of the cars. Some kind of half effort Itasha theme, and the iconic RfuckinB sticker that represents all RB cars on these two little islands underneath Australia.

Thankfully Jamie Allen managed to put in a new gearbox and get out on the track for most of the day. Have a scroll back through our website to see a little piece we put together of it. One of the cooler cars in attendance on Sunday, just wait until the body kit gets zipped on.

A few hours in I headed around the back of the track to see what was going down at Track 2. A bunch of new cars there too! And some from Saturday as well.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen any D1NZ cars, as there are non in Japan, obviously. I can vividly remember shooting Adam and Dave’s cars over the few years I covered D1NZ. Always well-presented cars that come out great in photos. No black anywhere to fall away into the shadows.

Yes! Street registered! This is cool. In the sense that if you fudge it, you’re stuck, so you can’t. Just like every time drifting at Bihoku, didn’t stop me sending it though.

As you can see, we have http://www.326power.co.nz advertising on our photos, and they were a major sponsor for the event. I run their coilovers in my Silvia, and they are great for drifting and going super low! So if you need new coilovers and want the extra ‘street cred’, head over to their website to see what they stock.

The corner before the front straight was where all the action happened. Lots of people encouraging the drivers to smoke it up going out of the corner. You could either finish drifting and grip up or go for the extra manji to maximize smiles in the crowd.

A long corner also meant that it was easy to creep up to the driver you were chasing.

On Sunday I didn’t bother going into the centre of Track 2, mainly because I wanted to spend more time on Track 3. And once you’re in the middle of the track, who knows how long before a red flag is waved so you can cross. Could be minutes, could be hours.

Back at Track 3 things were going smoothly. The pits were lively, plenty of cars were on the track. A good atmosphere all round. The sun was now behind us, meaning taking photos like this was possible. Whereas in the morning, the sun is in front of the cars, making everything dark and shadowy.

The more time I spent at Track 3, the more I wanted to drive it myself. No concrete walls anywhere, just grass runoff, and a few tyres to avoid, at all costs.

In the afternoon Jamie chucked the bumpers and skirts on his 200SX. Doesn’t it look crisp? I spent a few minutes taking some extra photos in the pits.

Big wheels, colour matching green and gold. 10/10 really. What else could you want in a drift car? This was Jamie’s first event in the new car, and he seemed to be exceptionally happy with how well it performed.

The weekend was now nearly over. The sun was setting, and before heading back to Track 2 I waited around the back end of Track 3 to watch some solo runs and tandems. These cars gave off a very Ebisu vibe. Missiles with missing panels and mismatched paint. But I suppose that means getting close and nudging the car in front doesn’t matter.

Back on Track 2, most people had already packed up. Cars were on trailers, hooked up to their respective tow cars. That left the dedicated few left on the track. For the last set of photos, I hid from the sun behind a big billboard, turns out the shots from here weren’t actually too bad!

It’s great seeing teams running the track. This was a pretty big thing in Japan, so seeing it here in NZ puts a smile on my face.

Or how about a ute and a Subaru? That’s a rare matchup for sure!

And that’s a wrap. Our first Matsuri back here in New Zealand. If you were drifting on Sunday, and want to buy any photos, please e-mail or message us on social media. If you don’t see your car here, don’t worry, we have more photos!

See you next time!

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Photos: Shaun Constable | Words: Shaun Constable

Ambition Works 2012 – 2020

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