When we first talked about going to FInalBout, we first decided we had to make it there this year, At All Costs.
Well, it did cost me most everything, and i literally couldnt be happier that i made it happen. It was such a scramble to get all three of us ready, oh my god lol! I was having suspension, engine, and wiring issues, and the stress really got to me. Matts car had no strut towers and he had to put together a brand new motor from the block upwards and paint in a week and a half. Sooo much fiberglass repair, we didn’t spray matts bumper until 4am somewhere outside minniapolis! All said and done, he started it up, backed it out of the driveway, and we literally left on the 30+ hour drive that moment. So scary! hahaha The morning we were supposed to leave, my car car was still wet enough to finger fuck, and has just broken everything, so i guess there was nothing left to break, because once we left from lethbridge i had zero issues with the car. Ryan being the only one who was really prepared, he organized a truck and trailer, had little to do but repaint and assemble his new look without all the vinyl, and funny enough hes the one who broke down in some small ass town named FreePort, though i’m not sure what state we were in.
*Looong driiiveeeeee FULL of adventures for another day…*
We made it there, and first thing derek from Breaking runs over to give us a big ol american high five for making the trip. I was still trying to pick my jaw up off of the floor from the quick look at the track we got rolling up into the parking lot. All we’ve ever really had is shitty oval tracks and some badass streeting spots, so even from the parking lot preview, we were bouncing levels of excited to get out there. We unloaded ryans trailor and slowly pulled into the pits. Illia from Proceed ( the nicest dudes, seriously) gave us the best spot in the house, right at the entrance to the track and sandwiched between Proceed and Risky Devil. We set up our shop and went around, FULLY FUCKING PUMPED, we met all the guys we watch do cool stuff so many times before.
One thing i want to say here is how Unbelievably nice Americans are. Back up in Canada all id really heard about Americans is that they are kinda dicks.
Seriously so backwards, all i heard from Canada before finalbout was straight sarcasm whining, talking so much trash about “the car show drift event.” It was actually the final straw that tipped me over the edge to make it happen no matter fucking what. Everyone was saying dumb shit, and i was just like you know what, im going to fucking go and experience it first hand, see it with my own eyes, and end all this opinionated back and forth bullshizz.
Well i went and it blew my brains out. Ive never gottent hat many high fives before. Ive never thrown down next to a stranger whos driving i for some reason fully trust and just met a few hours ago. I never could have even dreampt this event up. I just remember being like Okay Guys! Lets just take a grip lap first to feel the track out….lol nope! Ryan initiated first corner, i diddnt miss a beat following him with a hard flick, and i could hear Matt wasnt far behind me hahaha. (that cars sounds so insane when its right behind you, i always knew how close he was). We linked the entire first lap no problem, and i remember just jumping up and down in my car like oh my god that was unbelievable! i reallllly wanted to highfive someone, but i was alone so i just danced to myself instead, until we were all the sudden back at the starting line getting flagged through for another lap. What sweet heaven did i fall into?
See back home, we street drift, hard. None of us like it, (ok i love it) but we have no track anywhere near us which sucks huge balls. Even the one event we have is 5+ hours north and it just a parking lot. So for us, even though we’ve been driving side by side for 11 years, was a huge step!
So we got a few laps in before we had to change tires and wait for the tire guy to swap em over, so we drank a million gatoraids to stay cool, and chatted with people who was all really genuine and excited about us and our cars, but mostly confused by the KA-T r32 haha. So many people were shocked to just see an r32, let alone a four door, but wait what the fuck…is that a KA? hahahaha got soo many people good. Its the same reaction everytime, pretty priceless.
All the sudden it was time to lay down our competition runs, we had only gotten 6 practice laps, as matt broke a ruca, and me and ryan helped him change it. It all happened really fast, like we had just gotten there, done a couple laps, and then BOOM, theres animal style laying down a sick ass run and we were up a couple teams behind. None of us really got nervous or anything in line up, i was mostly busy remeniscing on the climb to the top of the hill where we got to drive between all the teams lining the outisdes of the track, high fiving you as you drove between them, We put down our runs and just kinda felt like, ok we did our thing, but i wonder if animal style or faction is going to win, and then all the sudden out of NOWHERE,
WAIT WHAT? WE GOT INTO THE TOP FIVE?
uhh okay? So we freaked out a bit and went back into our cars.
three way high five for good luck and we went for a couple more laps.
I gotta tell ya, i really didnt think we would make top three, and i really didnt care if we did. From the moment we arrived on the parking lot for the first time, i was on cloud nine and it didnt matter if we did one lap, all crashed into eachother and sucked, i would have been just so glad to have made the trip and just been there!
So when they came back and announced we were in the top three, i just lost it. Pretty much by myself, in my car, but a few holy shits were exhanged between us three no doubt. Now i know the competition is the smallest part of the weekend. I know that it shouldnt really matter, and that driving with everyone was obviously the highlight. I know this, sure. But all my life my brother ryan (Ryan and I are actual brothers, incase you didnt know) talked on and on about how all he ever wanted in life was to win a trophy drifting. Not for the fame, or to really win, but i think it comes from a place where you just want to see it on the wall of your garage and feel really proud of yourself for what youve built, earned, and accomplished through the hobby. Its symbolic eternal self validation for everytime you second the car, the hobby, the finances, everything.
So when we went out and did our thing one more time, and we somehow got FUCKING SECOND PLACE, maybe i shouldnt have cried, But i sure did! Somewhere between spraying champaigne, doing a burnout, and hugging my car in the pits, i definitely had a moment of proud/happiness/drifting tears.
You see, mine and my brothers entire life dream had just happened, no, was still happening! And as i sprayed Risky Devil full of champaigne, lit a cigar and drank my big ol’ bottle, ive honestly, and i really mean this, have never ever ever been happier. I dont think second place would have meant quite as much to any other team there. I called my mom, the whole bit, i wont ever forget it and it changed my perspective on life completely. It made a whole lifetimes worth of people downing your car, telling you your hobby is silly and a waste of money, parents dissaproving of new mods instead of being stoked, all that bullshit, it made it all so fucking worth it. I doubt anyone of those people has loved anything as much as i love drifting, and my passion brought me to my dreams front step! You cant say anything bad about that! One minute imdriving to work in my skyline, the next im driving on the track ive dreampt of since i was 16, riding walls next to teams ive idolized since they’re creation, and earned myself a great personal success! Second place may as well have been first place with 300 virgins, cause i dont know how to tell you how ecstatic we all were.
Not to mention that was the morning of day one! ahahahah
There was still an unexplainable weekend full of smoke breathing, door tapping, gas pedal flooring, clutch kicking intermediate course, to be had! That place really is Never Never Land and we stayed there for the rest of the day.
It didnt feel like a competition, more like when youre at the local skatepark with a few close friends, and youre just cheering eachother on.
“dude that 360 flip down the 6 set was too clean!*highfive* ”
“dude this tire mark on my door didnt even do any damage. sugoi! *highfive* ”
but then the skatepark would be full of all your favourite skaters, from the pros to the homies! And by the end of the day, the pros became your homies, and then you almost won the big game of skate. Or something.
Totally rad cars, radder dudes, and even radder that i got to spend all the best moments of my life so far, with two of my best friends who were equally having the best times of their lives so far. I feel a tighter bond between us three, especially when it comes to the driving. USA International Speedway was exactly what i needed to step up my driving game.
And so we slept under the concession during a huge lightning storm that flooded our tent, vacuumed out my car that has no windows, and drove the 30+ hours home. Ive said it before and i’ll say it again, drifting is sweet! Lets enjoy the spirit of drifting together!
So a huge thank you goes out to Proceed, for being amazing hosts, the other teams for being really friendly, genuine, and stoked to just have a good time with us even if youd never met us before or even heard of us. all the folks who came up to offer congrats or ask questions or compliments, you guys really wowed us this weekend, we were blown away by the community!
Most of all i wanna thank my two best friends in the whole entire world, i love you dudes so much and couldnt not have ever made this all happen without you. Matter o fact i wouldnt have wanted to do it with anyone else, or alone. Im blessed enough to have amazing mates who push me to make my dreams come true, and help me do it. They share their time, parts, tools, food, and money, and now i get to share back with a few unforgettable memories. Cheers boys! Ryans now back in school on the island in BC, me and matt are moving houses this weekend, and lifes back to normal, but im so proud of everyone who made it out there to drive finalbout. Our story is hardly unique,we didnt spend the most, we didnt drive the farthest, spectators flew from around the world, every single team was pushing hard to make the event with the car working and looking how they wanted, and im proud of you all for doing it.
Long Live FinalBout!!
May you spark the spirit of one thousand stylish drifts!