Nakamura-san just may be the most recognisable drifter out there, we take look!
From earlier internet videos I was already hooked on drifting and spent many an hour draining energy from my brain cells scouring the underbelly of the Internet to replace those same empty cells with knowledge of the history of drifting in Japan, the birthplace of what has become a worldwide sport and hobby for many in recent Years. Like many, it was when going through a number of Youtube videos I had come across 'Team BURST' videos and this guy called Naoki Nakamura attacking the wall of Meihan in the most relaxed manner and without a hitch pully off crazy entries towards that most famous peice of concrete that has taken many a victim, I new that on my bucketlist (we all have one) that one day I would make the trip to that very same circuit and see this spectacle for myself.
Fast forward a couple of years and I found myself travelling down the expressway from Nagahama towards Nara for what I knew in a couple of days would be one of the best experiences whilst covering drifting I've had so far.
The Kansai All Star event would be taking place and I would be able to get to see the man in question doing what to him seems to be as easy as putting 150-yen into a drinks machine for a can of BOSS Coffee, but what seems just that little more difficult to everyone else. Throughout the day we got to catch up after we had talked previous, but I had not had the chance see him actually on track. Throughout the day I had to shake my head, here I am standing on the middle of the Meihan circuit, where Kawabata-san, Itsumi-san, Chunky-Bai-san, and Imamura-san had trusted me to stand and wield my camera, but instead of concentrating on my whereabouts and not having a car sweep my legs away like Johnny did to Daniel in Karate Kid, I was finding I had to pick my chin up from the floor as Nakamura-san nailed the setup, wall attack, and exit.... Every single time.
I have plenty of images from the day and each one makes me smile, but I just wanted to throw a few of these up (more later) and applaud a man that has stayed at the top of his game and continues to lead the way in my humble opinion in a very grassroots style of drifting, sure he had a dab in D1GP and we know how that was stopped, but even now each event or practice day is treated with that very infectious trademark smile and he continues to have fun. That ladies and gentleman is what is all about. Keep Drifting Fun has been a phrase we must have all come across over recent years, but it's the fun that drives the scene and no more in any other country than the home of drift - Japan. Nakamura is a big part of that and long may it continue.
[Naoki] "Miki-chan is Kansai All star!" [Me] "So she'll beat you today !?" [Naoki] "Hmmm.. well I didn't say that.." [Naoki hides in his wheel well and chuckles for five minutes]
Naoki Nakamura: Gallery
Click on the pics below for some full size Nakamura action!