I must confess that I am not a drifter. Eventhough I had in my possession a 1993 Nissan 180SX that I drove almost everyday to college and work for four years, I did not try to drift even once. Well perhaps just once where instead of drifting, I managed to spin almost 360 degrees and almost slammed into building.
Being not able to drift does not stop people from enjoying watching other people drift. Drift events have mushroomed all over the world in the past couple of years; from the USA to Europe and even South East Asia. The Formula D franchise also has competition rounds in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, giving more exposure to the sport of drifting.
Speed City Kuala Lumpur, a local drift track opened it’s doors in the early 2011 as a venue for drifters to have fun and hone their skills under a safe and controlled environment. In Malaysia, these kind of tracks a dime in a dozen; I know of only two or three more than is suited for drifting and is accessible to the masses. The man behind Speed City is no other than the Prince of Drift himself, Tengku Djan Ley, a veteran world class drifter with a long list of drifting accolades to his name.
The Saturday night drifting started way before 2011, prior to that it was done at several other places; mostly rented parking lots and karting circuits that eventually ceased to host these drifting events. Determined to let drifters do their thing safely and let others enjoy the sport as well, a dedicated venue was founded and the rest as they say is history.
It has been almost a year that Speed City embraced drifters almost every Saturday night. 2012 is set to be the year that Speed City expands its reach to include other attractions such as a half-pipe for skateboarders as well as live football (soccer) matches within the venue. I don’t think these attractions would deviate from the main sport which is drifting, in fact it would complement the whole setup as it would provide something for (mostly) everybody who comes to Speed City.
Who could not be at least a little bit excited to watch a couple of cars being driven seemingly out of control and yet somehow make graceful and controlled slides. Smoke is minimal in most instances due to the wet nature of the track to help the drivers break traction, but is fun to watch nonetheless as tyres were screaming for their lives and exhausts spitting fire.
Hot and humid weather is the norm in Kuala Lumpur, more so on the tarmac drifters kill tyres faster than you can say terima kasih (thank you in Malay). A generous dash of water ensures the drifters get their tail out fairly easily.
Raymie Jay, one of our contributing photographers is a regular at Speed City. Here you can see his fluorescent tinged sneakers as he sits through some wet drifting fun. These drift events held almost regularly is dubbed Saturday Night Drift Assault and would feature individual as well as team drifting. Crowds aplenty, filling the stands with loud cheers as the drifters thrill the spectators with awesome sideways action.
Safety is paramount as the spectators are protected by a line concrete-filled barrels with a row of tyres helping to lessen any blows if the drifters came too close. Casualties do happen, but fortunately only to the cars and egos.
Not only the crowds that are a prominent feature of the event, famous drifters also came to have fun as well. Here we could see Takahiro Ueno of D1GP and Vertex fame and Kiki Sak Nana a top drifter from neighbouring Thailand enjoying themselves at Speed City with Tengku Djan Ley himslef and Wanbro.
Car clubs would also converge into Speed City on Saturday nights not only to join in the spectacle but as a sideshow for others to gawk and ogle at the cars. These Honda EGs are part of the clubs that gathered weekly, with different clubs attending every Saturday.
Even biker groups joined in for some smokin’ fun. Here we can see bikers from the Soul Riders and Desperado MG.
Amidst all the fun of drifting, everyone one get hungry at some point of the night. Here, the drifters’ favourite burger stand dishing out some patties to fill the hungry tummies. The drift nights can stretch into the wee morning and sustenance is clearly a must for these adrenalin junkies. Burger-fueled drifting at its best.
Moving sideways at speed while keeping your front bumper near the other car can be quite exhilarating, perhaps even addictive. I’m sure the sense of achievement of being close to the other drifter during drifting would be awesome while the poor passenger will have one helluva heart-stopping experience. Practice makes perfect and tracks such as Speed City can only make the sport of drifting better.
Favourites are the Nissan S-chassis but we also regularly see various other cars from street legal roadcars to missile cars. The Toyota KE70 is also a staple in the Malaysian drift scene as it can be had cheaply and, in the early days of drifting, abundantly. Nowadays it is difficult to find a mint KE70 driven by an uncle living in the kampung as most of the KE70s would have already been bought and brought over to the dark side.
This is Nana, the resident MC and the voice of Speed City. She adds a little femininity to the predominantly male drifters. There are a few Malaysian lady drifters, notably Jane who with her hubby are regulars to these Saturday night drifts.
There will be another Saturday Night Drift Assault this week. If you’re in Kuala Lumpur and in the mood to see tyres eaten for dinner and supper, please do drop by. Even better, if you have access to a drift car (be it a missle car or a road legal one), get in contact with the guys at Speed City to book a slot for a night of drifting fun. Keep drifting fun!
Photos: Raymie Jay
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