October 24, 2021
This was a huge weekend for R/C Drift in the United States. For 3 days, the best R/C Drifters from all over the nation came together in Los Angeles, California for the Super Drift Championship 2021 USA Finals. Each competitor had to qualify in their region in one of 3 ways: 1 – Become the Regional Champion, 2 – Secure a Podium Spot in their regional competitions, or 3 – Participate in at least 50% of their regional competitions. This ensured the best players in the game would be able to compete for the title of Super Drift Championship 2021 USA Drift King.
Super-G R/C Drift Arena in Los Angeles, California hosted this event. This is a fully stocked dedicated R/C Drift Shop with just about every brand available for R/C Drift. There are roughly 56 permanent pit spaces indoors and for the event provided an additional 72 pit spaces in the back lot. This provided plenty of space for the 66 competitors, as well as the many who came to support, spectate, and participate in the drift sessions. The track itself is polished concrete and roughly 31 x 54 feet. The track was made slightly shorter than normal to allow more driver space around the track, and also slightly wider to change the timing and feel to throw the locals a curve. Super-G R/C Drift Arena is also outfitted with a second floor which provides the judges a birds eye view of all the action, along with 6 – 4k cameras for the Super-G Replay System. Luckily the weather this year was about as good as it gets for this time of year in sunny SoCal, with the temps in the mid to high 70s.
The Meet and Greet
On the Thursday before the event, Super-G hosted a Meet and Greet where all the competitors could spend a leisure, calm day talking and sessioning before the official competition got underway. Tacos and Churros were provided to all that attended. I believe there was 450 tacos, 130 churros, and 12 quesadillas served. The vibe was right and everyone seemed to fit right in immediately. The great thing about the R/C Drift Community is the abundance of positivity that is shared between the competitors. It was clear from the start, if you were here at the Finals, you were here to have a good time and share this awesome hobby we all love. There was no shortage of competitors helping each other and sharing tunes even before the competition even started.
The Spec Tire
For the Super Drift Championship Series, we have been using the DS Racing Comp III LF-5 tire. This has been the best tire we have used, but unfortunately there were some issues with the tire on rougher surfaces, and with the numerous complaints DS Racing received about this, the Comp III LF-5 tire was discontinued. Immediately, Super-G began working with DS Racing to come up with a solution since for our surface there is no better tire.
Super-G has now released the new TSG-007 tire which has the same properties as the Comp III LF-5, but with a few slight differences. The feedback was amazing and when compared back to back, the TSG-007 seems to be the preferred tire.
As many of you may know, the 2020 Finals took place on one day, Saturday. With the amount of competitors, the competition didn’t end until 4am. Having the best drivers in the US having to stay awake to compete just didn’t work out as it should, and seemed unfair to say the least.
This year, we announced in January we would be hosting the 2021 Finals over the course of 3 days, October 22, 23, and 24th. This was met with a lot of relief, especially for the people who planned to compete and are actually interested in watching the competition in it’s entirety. It was a shame a few had missed this crucial change in format, but a few still made the journey out to take part in the sessions and enjoy the camaraderie for a couple days at least. We will be announcing the dates for next season shortly, but you can definitely count on another 3-day event.
For the Super Drift Championship 2021 USA Finals, I had decided to take a backseat to allow a more diverse group of judges to oversee the event. I was present as another pair of eyes, but for the most part not involved in the judging.
The Judges for the event were:
Shaine Collins – SoCal / Team DStyle
Manny Campalans – SoCal / Team Super-G
Ted Britt – Arizona / Team Bubblemilk
We owe all three of these guys a huge thanks. For those who have never judged on this level, I can tell you it is brutal. You are in full concentration mode and doing math in your head as fast as you possibly can, and then needing to clear your mind for the next run. Great job guys!
Since qualifying takes the most time in a comp, we decided to spread qualifying over 2 days (Friday and Saturday). Day one, the top 16 competitors were to be seeded in the Top 32 and would not need to qualifying the following day. The following day the remainder of the competitors would compete for the remaining spots.
Day One (Qualifying)
It was clear right out of the gate that this group of drivers were some of the best we have seen. Everyone, regardless of score obviously belonged here at the Finals.
One of the most memorable moments from the entire weekend happened on Day One of qualifying. Team Super-G driver, Jason Fordyce had shown up late since he had work. He walked in during the last round of qualifying, and would be allowed to drive, but without being able to break in tires, or being able to even try the qualifying line on a track he had never seen before. When it was his turn, he was going to only be allowed one run since he missed the first round. Jason throws down a blistering qualifying run! A lot of speed with a TON of angle, deep in the clips and zones and smooth as eggs! THEN, at the last 1” of track, with the very tip of his diffuser, Jason made the slightest of miscalculations and contacted the fence! This was enough to take his awesome run to a Zero and putting him to the bottom of the list to be qualifying the following day.
Day Two (Qualifying)
On day two we had the second round of qualifying. it was more of the same with everyone displaying some serious skills. Competitors were competing for the Top 15 spots for the upcoming Tsuiso Battle rounds on Sunday. As always, the 16th spot would be left open for the winner of the lower bracket (Bottom 34).
Top 16 Day One
Qualifying Position – Qualifying Score / Driver Number – Name
1 – 78 / 1 – Mikko Yang (Day One Top Qualifier)
2 – 77 / 3 – Matthew Timmer
3 – 76 / 43 – Joe D
4 – 76 / 53 – Aydin Angulo
5 – 75 / 5 – Michael Keene
6 – 75 / 21 – Cristian DeFalco
7 – 74 / 59 – Alan Benites
8 – 73 / 23 – Don Hadix
9 – 72 / 45 – Hao Huang
10 – 72 / 13 – Austin Greene
11 – 71 / 34 – Nick Lepisto
12 – 70 / 32 – Justin Wilming
13 – 70 / 17 – Bret Trevino
14 – 68 / 24 – Alfredo Chan
15 – 67 / 54 – Mitchell Phillips
16 – 67 / 51 – Baden Hermann
TOP 15 Day 2
Day Two (Qualifying)
1 – 84 / 62 – Jason F (Overall Top Qualifier)
2 – 74 / 29 – John Brasko
3 – 74 / 42 – Ryno D
4 – 73 / 65 – Austin Gregorio
5 – 69 / 40 – Bryant M.
6 – 67 / 57 – Shaine Collins
7 – 67 / 58 – Manny Compalas
8 – 64 / 35 – Kris Steele
9 – 64 / 37 – Jelani R
10 – 64 / 44 – Al S.
11 – 63 / 10 – Zachary Keanaaina
12 – 61 / 41 – Deven Yasay
13 – 61 / 64 – Brian Lemi
14 – 60 / 28 – Jason Ragasa
15 – 58 / 46 – Eric Acosta
16 – 58 / 47 – Robin D
17 – 58 / 49 – Juvani Balicoco
18 – 57 / 4 – Guy Marsh
19 – 57 / 60 – Stephen Phillips
20 – 56 / 15 – James Kotzbauer
21 – 56 / 19 – Joseph Maugeri
22 – 55 / 9 – Michael Cronhamn
23 – 55 / 52 – Sam Angulo
24 – 54 / 14 – Shawn Williams
25 – 53 / 36 – Phil Crawford
26 – 53 / 39 – Albert M
27 – 52 / 8 – Kalai Amanonce
28 – 52 / 25 – Nick Worrell
29 – 52 / 26 – Leeway Chang
30 – 49 / 16 – Adriano Vengoechea
31 – 48 / 30 – Fernando Cabrera
32 – 47 / 7 – Austin Lewis
33 – 45 / 38 – Dennis Hemmen
34 – 44 / 33 – Tom Erndt
35 – 42 / 20 – Ted Brandon Britt
36 – 42 / 50 – Paul Fregeolle
37 – 41 / 31 – Christopher Cruz
38 – 35 / 55 – Don Chang
39 – 35 / 63 – Lani Sabalboro
40 – 34 / 48 – Brennah Peepers
41 – 31 / 11 – Benjamin Fraley
42 – 30 / 18 – Gerald Maugeri
43 – 29 / 22 – David Sissum III
44 – 0 / 61 – Johnny G
45 – 0 / 2 – Brandin Guien-Armstrong
46 – 0 / 6 – Barton E Broze
47 – 0 / 12 – David Wessel
48 – 0 / 27 – Michael Dao
49 – 0 / 56 – Daniel Yribe
As many of you know me, you know I’m as transparent as I can possibly be, and this will be no exception. The original method I had planned to use to do the bracketing, it just did not work out as my hasty thinking led me to believe. It was a huge mistake and one I will live to regret for a long time to come. It basically put the best qualifiers up against each other in round 2 and would knock out one half of the top qualifiers immediately. That is not the way qualifying should work and is 100% my mistake. I was caught between sticking to what I had originally envisioned, or making a change and making myself look like an idiot. I chose the later in the pursuit of giving the best possible event instead of trying to save face. There is a lot more to this, but in the end, we put everyone in the Top 32 into a single, Top 32 bracket in order of qualifying score, which I felt in the end was the best possible scenario given the situation.
On a side note: The competitors who had 2 days of qualifying vs. just 1 day only improved their scores on average of 1.158 higher than the previous day. So the scoring was pretty consistent between both days.
To all the competitors and the R/C Drift community in the U.S., I want to offer my most sincere apology for my mistake. We are doing this to try represent R/C Drift in the United States in a positive light, and I botched it big time. There is nobody harder on me than myself, and I don’t believe in excuses, but I do believe in learning from my mistakes. I promise to come back harder, stronger, and definitely wiser in the future. (Steve)
Tsuiso Battle Rounds
Sunday was the day we were all waiting for. It was what this entire season was all about. Everyone had a chance to drive and tune, and it was time to throw down. As we always do, the Super-G way is to leave one spot open in the Top Round for the winner of the lower brackets to advance and have a shot at the title.
The Bottom 34 battles were as good as any, and what you would expect from the best R/C Drifters in the nation. The story of the Bottom 34 was Joseph Maugeri! Joseph was able to battle all the way through 5 rounds to come out the victor of the Bottom 34 and move on in to the Top 32!!! It was amazing to watch.
The Top 32! If you made it to the Top 32, considering the company you were with, it should already be considered a win. With so many great drivers present, it was really anyone’s to take home. It seemed between day one and day three, the drivers vastly improved. On day one, there were definitely different levels of driving going on. By day three, all the drivers seem to be on the same page. Becoming accustomed to the surface, the tires, the line, and the tune, it was clear the playing field had been leveled.
The battles were insane! So many great runs. In the end, it came down to Mikko Yang (Team ReveD / Team DStyle) vs. Ryno Degala (Limited Traction) for 3rd and 4th, and Austin Gregorio (Team Zenshin) vs. Alfredo Chan III (Team RAZR / Tech1Drift) for 1st and 2nd.
First up was Ryno vs. Mikko. Both runs were very close, but in the end, Mikko was able to pull off a better lead by going deeper in the zones than Ryno, and landing him 3rd place on the podium, and 3rd Best R/C Drifter in the US!!!
Then it was time for the Main Event! The moment the entire season had been leading up to! It was between Austin Gregorio (Team Zenshin) of SoCal, and Alfredo Chan III (Team RAZR / Tech1Drift) also of SoCal. Austin has been an up and comer this season, and just recently landed 4th in the Regional Finals for SoCal. He’s been working his way toward a Podium Finish, and here he finds himself battling for the title of Super Drift Championship 2021 USA Drift King. He was up against no other than Alfredo who just took the SoCal Regional Finals and is the reigning SoCal Drift King. Alfredo has been on fire and also took the title of Las Vegas Drift King! Double titles, we all knew who was the favorite going into this battle. (No offense Austin)
The first run was Austin’s lead and Alfredo’s chase! Alfredo was all over Austin as is Alfredo’s style. He is notorious for applying so much pressure, the lead driver cracks and ultimately loses. It was a great run! Then it was Alfredo’s lead and Austin’s chase. Alfredo pulled off a commanding lead run and Austin was keeping up, but definitely not keeping the proximity Alfredo was able to keep. On Austin’s lead, the judges had seen some abnormal movement at a particular section of the track, so they wanted to take another look before making the final call. Initially they thought Austin may have hit the barrier, but as they examined the replay on the Super-G Replay System, it was shown that not only did Austin NOT contact the barrier, but the abnormal movement they had spotted was Alfredo’s car bouncing back after making contact with Austin’s car. This was clearly the deciding factor, and landed Alfredo with a solid Second Place on the Podium, and making Austin Gregorio THE SUPER DRIFT CHAMPIONSHIP 2021 USA DRIFT KING!!!
Congratulations to Austin Gregorio the 2021 USA Drift King, Alfredo Chan III for a solid Second Place, and Mikko Yang on Third! You guys are the cream of the crop!
We here at Super-G would like to thank each and every one of you who attended the Super Drift Championship 2021 USA Finals here at Super-G R/C Drift Arena. This wasn’t about just coming to Super-G, but coming together as a community and sharing the hobby we all enjoy. It was refreshing to see that although we are all located in different parts of the nation, we share the same type of fun. It was amazing how well everyone got along and to see everyone working together to have a good time. The competitors would be talking and having a great time together, then put on their game faces, and immediately return to friend mode as soon as the run was finished. That is what this is about and what makes it so much different than other forms of R/C. We made some great friends and great memories. We can’t wait to do it all again for 2022.
A huge thanks to all that participated both here and in their respective regions.
To the tracks and organizations who hosted the regionals – Limited Traction, Slidelines, RC Powersports of Rolla, Team Saiko, Scale Science, Tandem RC, RC Garage, Dori Lounge, and RC Fight Club. This wouldn’t be possible without you.
I also can’t forget Team Super-G for really stepping up and putting in mad hours to prep for this event, Nick Lepisto, Mark Santa Cruz, Manny Campalans, Jason Fordyce, and Aydin Angulo.
Limited Traction (Super-G NorCal) for helping with the setup early every morning.
Shaine Collins, Manny Campalans, and Ted Britt for judging and all the consulting not only for the Finals but all season.
And finally all our sponsors – Futaba USA, Pandora RC, Acuvance, ScaleReflex, HobbyWing, Hoonigan, DS Racing, MyTrickRC, Demiworks, FusedRC, PowerHD, Usukani, RhinoMax, ProtekRC, MST, Outbreak, APlastics, Topline, and Yokomo. Your products and support is what is keeping the R/C Drift Scene growing.
More pics to come (Sorry it’s been a long few months and I’m pooped)