Hey, how’s everyone doing with this Coronavirus fiasco?  Hope everyone is safe and staying isolated for the time being… unlike me who flew to LAX for Final Bout SS West… haha.  Probably gonna have to quarantine myself for a week or two when I get back. While at Final Bout SS West, everyone keeps asking me what I thought of Final Bout Special Stage South (SSS)… I don’t want to say it was bad but then I don’t want to say it was awesome…

Final Bout Special Stage South at Speedsportz Racing Park North Houston

It sounds like I’m on the fence about Final Bout SSS, but there are a few reasons. It’s the first kind of team driving event of its kind in the U.S.  Yes, there have been team competition drift events, but not with this format… Your car has to be aesthetically pleasing to look at meaning kits, aero, and decals/vinyl must all flow well together.  Pretty much what you would see out of a Drift Tengoku magazine or D1 Japan Competition.  Another requirement to compete was to have an established team.  I heard this meant drifting for at least 3 years together.  It makes sense to have team members that have the same level of experience.  A few teams got denied for not meeting those requirements… meaning they could be bad ass drivers but the style of their cars weren’t nice to look at… 

Automotive gallery at Final Bout

Final Bout’s main purpose is to “rekindle the excitement” that long time drift fans had from the 90s and 2000’s.  Tbh, I was way late in the game and didn’t really follow until 2010… in the era of FormulaD and Driftshowoff etc.  The style veered off and it was mainly focused on pure driving, technology, and high HP cars for big companies to sponsor.  Final Bout is pretty much trying to do something different and I think that’s what everyone is looking for… a change of pace or step back to how it was.  I’m not sure if I explained that well… but I hope you get what I’m trying to say…

Speedsportz Racing Park is a track for kart driving… very small, flat, and technical…

Ok, so the cars looked their part, but I wish I can say the drivers performed as well as how their cars looked… It could’ve been due to the track setup which was very small and technical, last minute builds not set up correctly, or just inexperience in team tandems.  I want to say 30-50% of the teams could drive together well…. the other teams not so much. By driving, I don’t mean drifting but getting into close proximity and maintaining it thru out.

Zach Triggs and his SC from Team Fatcats takes the first corner at Final Bout SSS…

As a photographer standing and waiting for the right moment to get the action, we can shoot individual drifts all day, but we need tandem action with close proximity at the same speed for the best shots.  Also watching the same cars spin out means downtime for everyone.  Photographers and others on the track.  There were many of those… So what I’m saying is the driving could have been better.  But hey, it’s the first event and I’d like to see it happen.  If Final Bout comes back, I can only imagine more people will be ready next year.

Damon English from Team Getaway’s FD RX7 clears the first turn…

Sumthaiguy with his last minute built JZX MkII…

Team Garage Moonpower from Georgia looked really good out on track.. unfortunately Philip Koch’s R34 threw a powersteering belt, then exploded an axle…

Team Breakshift from Florida looked great out on track… probably why they were placed in top 3 for the event…

Team Silhouette from Houston was also placed in the top 3… Top 3 meant they would be able to compete at Final Bout 4 at Shawana…

Very uncommon to see S15’s drift here in the states…

Something you hate seeing at team drift events… Team Fatcats self collision at Final Bout SSS

One of the cool things about Final Bout SSS is the on track driver gallery…

Drivers would show off their cars on track…

And spectators would be allowed to go on track and get close ups of the cars…

You don’t see this at many events nowadays unless its at Formula 1… 

Team Silhouette’s freshly built 1UZ FC RX7 Vert…

Brad’s been keeping this engine stored for a decade and this event was a good time to show it off again.. This FC was a joint build with Justin Garner…

Team Silhouette

After the on track gallery walk, the team competition started and ended after a few runs…

Zach Triggs of Team Fatcats in front of Kevin Martinez of Team Garage Essence…

Jimmy boi of Team Garage Essence in his R32 sedan…

Justin Garner of Team Silhouette driving the freshly built FC RX7 vert…

Off track pits had nice cars all day to look at…

Final Form Cristian and Clay brought out their RX7’s…

It did rain towards the end of the event…

People still did show up though…

Part II of when you know the car people too well…

TE the world…

Even though this is out of focus AF… I kinda like it…

At the end of the day, It’s all about the people.  The South really enjoyed the event and Fatcat Mike helped make it happen… 

That’s it for my coverage of Final Bout SSS…. oh Slim Thug also came out for some ride alongs and to check out the scene…

As usual thanks for checking out the post and next coverage will be on Final Bout SS West when I get back to Houston!

Album of photos here:  https://www.danhphan.com/Events/2020-Final-Bout-SSS-Full-Album/

 

Danh Phan
http://www.dtphan.com
http://www.instagram.com/dtphan