2/27/2024

Vittorio Santiago (L) vs. Alfredo Chan III (R) for 1st and 2nd

Wild is the first word that comes to mind when I think of what I witnessed at the Super Drift Competition SoCal Region – Round 1.
This being the season opener, it always brings with it a precursor to what the rest of the season will bring. The one thing that really struck me, the skill level is extremely high, and the competitors are really putting it down.

Not much has changed since last season in terms of how things are done here. So things seem to be running smoothly. Most are aware of what we are looking for as far as Tech is concerned. This time around, nobody was on the track unless they were registered for the competition. We took a page from our 2023 Finals experience, so we planned on 4 separate run groups for practice. Feedback was good, as it allowed everyone to get quality laps in during practice.

57 Competitors for Super Drift Competition (SDC) 2024 – SoCal Round 1

This round we had 57 drivers! We were honored to have Fresno and Vegas join us for Round 1. There were a lot of new faces jumping into the comp this time around. Everyone did great, regardless of the qualifying scores. We have beginners that score high, and experienced veterans that will double zero. That’s just how it goes, so there’s no need to worry about that. What I try to explain to every first time competitor is, no matter what, you’re going to be nervous. The only way to get past that is to jump in and do it. The first time is the hardest and it gets easier from there. Everyone did really really well!

THE JUDGES
The judges for this round were Shaine Collins, Manny Campalans, and myself (Steve Fujita). It’s always a pleasure judging alongside these guys. Since everyone has a firm grasp of the rules and what is expected, it make for some smooth and easy calls. Huge thanks to Shaine and Manny for making this happen. It just wouldn’t be possible without their effort and dedication to making the comps here at Super-G what they are.

Time For Run Groups

QUALIFYING
For Round 1, we weren’t looking to make it easy. We believe in pushing everyone’s limits to make the competitors really dig deep for that skill building. This time around, Zone 4 was wicked. It seemed to be the make or break for many of the runs, as well as qualifying.

Your Top Qualifier – RJ from Team Prototype in Las Vegas!

We saw a lot of great qualifying runs, but one man stood above the rest, RJ from Vegas threw down a solid 90 point run on a course where 60’s were the norm. Great performance by RJ!
Congratulations RJ for securing TQ (Top Qualifier) for SoCal Round 1!

Qualifying Results

LOWER BRACKET
As always, Super-G leaves the 32nd spot in the Top 32 for the winner of the Lower Bracket. So even if a competitor has a hard time in Qualifying, there is still a chance to take it all. We’ve seen it happen before, and we are sure it will happen again.

For Round 1, new-comer Jayson Flores fought his way up from a double zero qualifier to battle Dallas Weimer for the 32nd spot in the Top 32. First to lead was Jayson with Dallas on the chase. Jayson put down a solid lead and Dallas was keeping that killer proximity throughout the entire run. Next was Dallas’ lead with Jayson on the chase. Dallas threw down an amazing lead run and Jayson was right there on his door. Both leads were awesome and easily belonged in the Top 32. The deciding factor was Dallas on his chase went into Zone 4 a little too hot and made contact with the barrier. This secured the win for Jayson, and put him into the 32nd spot in the Top 32!!!
Congratulations Jayson! Great job!

Top 32 Bracket

TOP 32
Right out of the gate, it was RJ (Prototype RC) and Jayson Flores – the winner of the lower bracket. The first round was so close, it went to a OMT (One More Time). On the next run, Both drivers put down amazing runs!!! In the end, it came down to who was able to follow the qualifying line the best. RJ secured the win, but not without some serious resistance from Jayson. This ended Jayson’s day, but man, what a run!

Top 32 Final Results

The Top 32 all came down to Jonathan Belda (Team RAZR) vs Brandon Strickland (Team Notachi) for 3rd and 4th, and Alfredo Chan III (Team Weld) vs. Vittorio Santiago (Team Super-G) for 1st and 2nd. First up, Jonathan vs Brandon. Both drivers had been putting down some good runs. When it came down to this final battle, Jonathan was able to produce a better chase and this was enough to give him the win and a spot on the the podium!

Congratulations to: First Place – Vittorio Santiago, Second Place – Alfredo Chan III, and Third Place – Jonathan Belda!

FINAL BATTLE
Then the moment we had all been waiting for, the battle for 1st and 2nd! It was Alfredo vs. Vittorio. Both these guys had been on fire all day! Both leads and chases were exceptionally good. It all boiled down to Zone 4 on the chases. Vittorio was able to produce a great chase through Zone 4, however Alfredo seemed to have an issue mid way though the zone which caused him to lose proximity. This secured Alfredo with 2nd Place, and the win to Vittorio!!!

Congratulations to Vittorio Santiago (Team Super-G / Acuvance / Rhino Racing) for a solid 1st Place, Afredo Chan III (Team Weld / Tech 1 Drift) 2nd Place, and Jonathan Belda (Team RAZR / Tech 1 Drift) for 3rd!!!

The SDC2024 SoCal Region Season Opener was AMAZING! The level of driving was impressive and it was good to see how much everyone has improved! Top level driving has now officially over-flowed from Top 32 into the Lower Bracket.

SIDE NOTE – We made a bad call
We had a situation where a competitor’s car was not able to get off the line immediately due to a mechanical issue. He was finally able to go without any interaction with the car itself. He finished the lap. One of the rules are the chase car is allowed to leave the line with no regard to the green light. The competitors switched positions and in our minds all the chase needed to do was not crash to win. The chase crashed. In the heat of the moment, we made the call that the chase who crashed took the loss.

In revisiting this incident, we feel it was handled incorrectly. When the Chase could not leave the line in a timely manner, this should have been an automatic Zero for the Chase, if not a DNF for mechanical failure. However, without ever experiencing this, and without a rule that specifically addresses what occurred, and the fact that the second Chase actually crashed, we did not take the time to fully process what had happened. In the future, the call will be made accordingly. More importantly, we will take the time to evaluate the situation and make the correct call. We will do better.
The rules have been adjusted to reflect this type of situation. The way it was previous written could not address it correctly.
Competition Rules and Judging Guide Rev. 9.1
Chase Car Objective 2-i now reflects this change.

SDC2024 COMPETITION RULES AND JUDGING GUIDE 9_1

Looking forward to Round 2 on April 20, 2024!!!