About two weeks ago, I got a skype message from my good friend, part time drifter and full time FUKU artist Jazz “Lostboy” Williams asking me if I was game for visiting the Automobilmesse Erfurt, where he and another good friend as well as the famed “Polizei Drifter” Alexander Gräff were due to put on a small drift show.
As we had a blast for the roadtrip to the round 2 of the International Drift Series mid last year, I gave him my green flag. As the day approached, it became clear that the area allotted to do the drifting was a lot smaller than what we would have wished, and that there was a potential weather risk, and putting a 400km trip with the drift car on the trailer was too much of a gamble. Alex’s wife and also a Pro Class drifter Corinna Gräff gave me a ring to tell me that Alex had decided not to attend the event but that we still had our hotel reservations. Halfheartedly I called to tell him that we’d be the only team driving to the show. After having a discussion with Jazz’s team chief about the plans for the coming season, Jazz decided too that he’d make the rational decision of not taking the risk but rather visit and hang out at a Snow Drift event organized by yet another good friend and Pro Class drifter Oliver Harsch at the snowed-over Elchingen airstrip. I had almost closed the drift show chapter, until I rang Alex to confirm that he was not attending, when he informed me about a quick discussion with his sponsors and them having evaluated the potential of the event and his decision to “screw the weather risk and get going.” From then on, it was a chaos of phone calls because me and Jazz needed to get going. And fast, with less than two days to go before the event kickoff, we needed tires, a trailer and a tow car. A few dozen other phone calls later, I hit the sheets to save my last night before the madness crept in. As is my trademark, I slept right through my alarm only to be woken up by Jazz on the phone. His message was pretty clear, “You are not gonna sleep. Roll out of bed, brush you teeth, take a shower and call me back. <Click!>” At the end of the day we had sorted out the tyre issue and Jazz was due to pick me up around 9, but in our timezone, thats about midnight. We set off only to stop less than 2 km into the trip for dinner and the ever so healthy Burger King.
Jazz had some weird condensation error on his camcorder, which we grabbed in order to capture some behind the scenes stuff from the show. Before we switched into Lokky and Lostboy mode, we needed to do something to balance out the evil. Jazz donated some money…
It was a long long night full of crazy truckers switching lanes, constant references to The Mist, The Shining and Silent Hill, making sure that we were super alert by scaring the everliving out of each other. We got to Erfurt at 06:00, but the security guard told us that the event officials were gonna be on site at 07:00 and that they weren’t expecting us till 16:00. For the first time ever, we were before time… I let my artistic side take over… I’ll give an e-cookie to whoever spots this smiley again in this post
After a longer wait, sunrise… Being a university student, I don’t get to see many of these, except during the exam week…
We needed to get some stuff to wipe Diva down, on the way to the supermarket, we saw this. Reminded me of that poster that goes, “Meat is murder. Tasty tasty murder…”
After sorting Diva out, we took a walk in the car park, where we saw this monster truck from the Korth Brothers I love monster trucks. they spark that little six year old part of me. I used to have tiny Hotwheels monster trucks when I was tiny.
As we all know, sex sells. This was a concept that was hammered home in the Tuning Hall, one of the three halls where the show was to take place. Almost everything in the Tuning Hall had one thing or the other to do with sex.
Jazz was asked to check out the area to pick the best config. Checking out is exactly what he did. Over and over again… Who said a cold friday morning needs to be boring?
He did a set of donuts around me, which kinda sounded an alarm bell inside my head, because incidentally, that was how I had met Lostboy in the first place, about two years ago. Back then Diva was just getting used to going sideways and Lostboy was a rookie. It was the first time anyone had drifted around me and let alone for that, this was in the car park of the Hockenheimring Fahrsicherheitszentrum just before he drove off to home. This also made me think, before I got involved with the International Drift Series, I was doing drift photography purely as a hobby, but as my involvement grew, I had to get more and more responsible. But since this particular event wasn’t a photo job, I was free to do what I wanted, and be the lunatic that I always was… but more on that later.
The car park was peppered with salt and grit, they ripped through the tires quite quickly. A while later, Alex arrived, along with Corinna as well as their two kids Pierre and Jacqueline.
Shortly after that, the cars went out for a test run of the track, this time both of them together. The only problem was, this was actually what we saw through the windshield (See if you can make out Alex’s car driving ahead). Diva is prepped with race glass, which, although being super light, doesn’t do much in the way of keeping condensation low. As we drove out, that as well as the salt and dirt sprayed from Alex’s car up front scared me a little at first, but somehow Lostboy kept his foot down. I am pretty sure he doesn’t use his eyes to see when he is in the car.
We found a pretty girl who wanted a ride with Lostboy, I am surprised she is smiling in this picture… After that, we decided to FUKU around…
Before we knew it, it was time for the next show. The adrenaline kick was flowing, and the idea of close to eight hundred horses screaming just a few feet of me sounded FUKU, so we went for it.
I tried to go all artsy and take a close to the ground shot of Diva, but since I have a silly 24mm that isn’t wide enough, this is all I got. I wanted to see how close both cars could get in a propeller drift, so I gave up my camera to Corinna and got to it.
That’s better! I call this the drift connection. It is almost like bullfighting I guess, except the bull is a lot more powerful and has four wheels. The tires seemed to last forever because there were wet patches all over the place What am I forgetting? Ah yes, burnouts. Lots of them.
Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk sent their camera crew over to do some event coverage. Of course, no TV coverage is complete without some FUKU input.
We had our cameras rolling too, except ours weren’t that big. Ah well, size doesn’t always matter you know. At one point, Diva’s front bumper came off, but rather than kill the session, Alex and Lostboy just drifted around the bumper for a while.
When they took off for a while, someone was up to something nasty.
It was almost as if the car had a soul and it was asking to take a look at her. A lap later, Diva had slipped a hose. Jazz had strict rules not to open the hood, let alone touch the internals. FUKU!
The hose was tightened and all was well. Overall, it was a nice event, not exactly packed crowds but those who were there were going wild over drift taxi laps by the end of the weekend. Lostboy did go FUKU a lot whenever he got a chance.
Lostboy was in his element though, the swedish engineer-programmer told me that his time was the best time of all the event guests. Rumour has it that this is how he sharpens his drift skills in his spare time.
That’s it, I am tired as hell and am gonna fold for the night. Stay tuned for more drift action, season starting 10-11th of April. Hit contact or comment below for more info. FUKU! – Alok