February 18, 2023
This weekend was the Season Opener for the Super Drift Championship 2023 Series in SoCal! With many of the West Coast regions starting on the same day, we weren’t sure what to expect. Along with SoCal, NorCal, Las Vegas, Arizona, and Texas also kicked off their season. This forced the competitors to choose their home region right out of the gate.
From our experience over the years, there are plenty of heavy hitters in the SoCal region. To add to this list, Bret Trevino and Christian Defalco (C-Note) of Slidelines (Las Vegas) decided they’d add to the madness and join the SoCal region for the 2023 season. With all 3 US Drift Champions coming from SoCal, the addition of Bret and Christian promise to make SoCal a really tough region to win. All I can say is, whoever ends up as the SoCal Regional Champion is going to really earn it!
For Round 1 we ended up with 43 competitors. There were quite a few regular competitors who were absent. We hope to see them for Round 2, cause this season is going to be insane.
The Judges for the event were our trusted crew, Shaine Collins, Manny Campalans, and Colin Chambers. With all the top level driving we witnessed, it was no easy task for them. So a huge thank you to the judges. None of this would be possible without your knowledge and dedication to the forward movement of this hobby.
Before the event, we had released a instructional video explaining how scoring is applied during qualifying, as well as what is expected during the Tandem Battles. From the type of driving we saw this time around, it seemed many drivers may have been enlightened as to what needed to be done. It was great to see!
Being the season opener, we weren’t sure what type of runs we would see, being as everyone has been on a good 4 month break. Jason Fordyce of Team Super-G was the lucky (or unlucky) first person to qualify. Amazingly, Jason threw down a very impressive run, scoring a 88 out of possible 100! That was enough to lock down TQ (Top Qualifier) and set the tone for the rest of the event! For the most part, the average qualifying scores were up in the mid to high 70s which was really good to see.
For the Tandem Battles, we had the usual Top 16, with the 16th spot left open for the winner of the lower bracket. The lower bracket had 28 competitors battling it out for the last Top 16 spot. Matthew Rojas of Team Zenshin fought his way to the top and secured the 16th spot in the Top 16!!! Great job Matthew!!!
As we moved into the Top 16 Battles, it was insane! Each battle was something I would expect to see at the USA Finals. Seeing this level of competition in Round 1 of the season just shows October is going to be unlike anything we’ve seen thus far. I personally cannot wait. Even Round 2 has many of us excited!
The Top 16 came down to Jason Fordyce of Team Super-G, vs Alan Benites of Team Zenshin for 1st and 2nd, and Jaycen Wong of Team Super-G vs Mikko Yang of Team ReveD for 3rd and 4th. First up was Jaycen vs Mikko. Both drivers had been looking real good all night, so we knew it was going to be good. Jaycen with his Rhino Racing Shark had the lead, Mikko with his ReveD RDX chasing. On the high-speed switchback, Jaycen took an aggressive angle going into the second zone and made contact with the fence. On Mikko’s lead, Mikko was able to keep it clean and secured the 3rd spot.
Then it was time for the Main Event. Jason Fordyce vs Alan Benites. Both of these guys are no strangers to taking home the win. First up, Jason with his Rhino Racing Hydra Shark was leading and Alan with his Rhino Racing RMX Shark was chasing. These guys took the pace to the next level with amazing speed and angle. When the drivers are at this level, the runs are exciting cause the chase can trust the lead to drive a good line. This makes for really aggressive driving. Both the lead and chase were about as good as it gets. Then it was Alans turn to lead. Out of the gate the pace was incredible. Alan was going DEEP and holding a ton of angle. Jason really turned up the wick and got right on his door. It looked like the pressure forced Alan to break his focus for a split second, and he turned in a hair sooner than normal when coming up to the Scale Reflex Cone on the double switchback. This mistake proved costly, as he knocked over the cone, and Jason locked down the win! Alan took home a very respectable and hard fought for 2nd Place!
Congratulations to the Winner, Jason Fordyce of Team Super-G, Acuvance, Futaba USA, Rhino Racing, and Scale Reflex! Second Place – Alan Benites of Team Zenshin! And Third Place – Mikko Yang of Team ReveD, Team DStyle. This round was probably the toughest regional was have witnessed so far. At the every least, everyone involved will level up on their skills.
Everyone who competed this weekend has done a great job! Looking forward to Round 2 on March 18, 2023!!!