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Rear View Mirror 8-7-17

John Schommer
Monday, August 7, 2017


It was a smoky weekend here in the Seattle area, and I’m not just referring to the lingering smoke from the fires in British Columbia that have been making for some incredible sunsets. It was also Round 6 of Formula Drift, and if you were a tire you were either cowering in fear of your impending doom or laying utterly destroyed in a pile with “Free” written on you in chalk, waiting to be taken away by some wanton drift fan.


It was hot at Evergreen Speedway – somewhere in the mid 90s – and between the heat, the fire and tire smoke, and bits of burnt rubber getting infused in my beard, I managed to get a few photos and meet a few drivers. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen my two live events where I shared a tour of the open pits and watched the drivers getting warmed up. We even got Kyle Mohan on camera with a big thumbs up. That was cool!



Numerous drivers from outside the U.S. are doing well in their first year in the series. At the Pro 1 level James Deane has come over from England with his Falken Tire Nissan 240 and is currently leading in the championship points. Deane and his teammate Piotr Wiecek both drive 2JZ-powered 240s that make amazing sound and have a particular affinity for destroying tires.


At the Pro 2 level there is Josh Robinson of Australia. Robinson brought over a 1,000-plus horsepower Holden Ute with a full carbon fiber body. Since trucks are not allowed in Formula Drift, an exception had to be made to allow Robinson’s Hoonigan backed effort into the series. The key that allowed for this is that the Commodore Ute is a unibody-constructed vehicle, as is the rest of the field. Robinson is also one of the tallest guys in drift at a towering 6 foot 5 inches. Deane is only an inch or so shorter.



Another bright spot in the day was Micheal Essa’s daughter, who must be about four or five years old, signing autographs with her dad. Despite Essa’s fame and skill behind the wheel, this little girl was stealing the spotlight and I don’t think Dad minded a bit.



Now on the details of who killed it and who is looking to the next round for success.


Formula Drift – Round Six – Throwdown

Showing no fear of the largest and fastest bank of the Formula Drift series, James Deane took the top qualifying spot and Ryan Tuerck was right behind him. Piotr Wiecek wasn’t far back, either. Track conditions were perfect, so long as you like heat. In previous years Seattle has delivered what it is most known for – wet weather – and rain does not a good day for drifting make.


When the top sixteen had been weaned down to the final four, former champion and fellow Falken driver Dai Yoshihara faced off against Deane. Yoshihara and his LS-powered Subaru BRZ put up a fight but made a small mistake that Deane capitalized on. Deane moves on and Yoshihara got ready to head to Texas for the next round with a fourth place for his efforts.



The other side of the finals bracket had Fredric Aasbo, whose consistency has been referred to by Deane as “robotic,” taking on “Odi” Bakchis, another driver in Falken’s deep bench. Aasbo took that battle and got ready to face off against the point leader Deane.


The first battle was so close it called for a OMT (One More Time) but went to Deane, and the final battle was taken by the points leader as well. With Aasbo in second place in the points this was a crucial cushion for Deane to acquire.


Formula Drift Pro 2

In the third of four Pro 2 events, the up and coming crews battled for their shots at recognition (and, they hope, some sponsor dollars). The range of equipment and budget went from fully-equipped race trailers and teams staying in nearby hotels, to a beat up toy-hauler that doubled as living quarters and workshop. The latter was competing in a sweet wide-body E30 BMW.



I had spent some time talking with Josh Robinson about his 1,000-plus horsepower Holden Ute. After watching the Ute in practice I was an instant fan. Robinson made it to the top four and faced off against local Dylan Hughes in his DirtFish-sponsored 240. Hughes won that battle giving Robinson fourth.


The final battle was between two locals, Hughes and Matt Vankirk. Vankirk is running a blaze orange Rocket Bunny Nissan 240 that you may remember from this video we produced for Heavy Metal Affliction. Vankirk was able to take the win in front of his hometown crowd to put himself within 20 points of the Pro 2 points leader Travis Reeder.




Tomorrow in the #TuesdayDrive we are going to see how many bonus signs we can knock out. Since I am spoiled with access to as many credits as I ever need without having to put in the effort, let’s say my efforts to find them have been less than stellar. However, this is where you come in to help and it should make for a good show.


What I call “fun” begins at 1 p.m. Pacific on Mixer and Twitch, and we will go until 3 p.m.. This week with Mechberg heading out for some time off you can also catch me on #ForzaFriday as well where I may just pony up and play some Forza Motorsport 6. Don’t expect the same level of awesome driving, but do expect me to make up for that with an awesome beard and a few giveaways. I hope to see you then!