10 years, 6 months, 1 week, 5 hours, 31 minutes, 55 seconds. That’s how long it took for James Deane to go from his first competitive drift event as an amateur to the top step of the podium for the first time at Formula Drift in Long Beach.
Before last weekend, a lot of people would have said this victory, maybe the most significant of his career, was inevitable. I wouldn’t have argued with them, but I know from experience that victory in motorsport is never guaranteed. It certainly does not come easy.
The Streets of Long Beach is a world renowned drift course, much like what Daytona is to NASCAR, and what Monaco is to Formula One. Many, if not all, competitive and leisure drifters have dreams of mastering this course sometime in their lifetime. Formula Drift begins each season on the Streets of Long Beach, which brings an end to anticipation and months of preparation. Anything could happen here… a great beginning to a successful season could be had, or disaster could strike at any of the turns and ruin a season in a few seconds. Throwing caution to the wind, a circus of extremely prepared teams arrived in Long Beach, and the 2017 Formula Drift season has begun. The Streets of Long Beach have a cruel habit of sorting out who is ready to ride walls, and who isn’t.