Another year, another season. Formula D brings it down to the Streets of Long Beach again for 2016. Watered down from the heavens above, Friday started out really wet. Since 2007 I’ve been attending Formula D events, and only Road Atlanta, and a few others I felt the same rain experience during an event. But what made this one much more interesting is that the skill level of the drivers had to be on par. With only feet separating one K-rail barrier to the one across, it’s definitely not one to take lightly.

As a photographer, catching the accidents or close calls always brings in some rare footage. For whatever reason, a wreck or crazy incident gets people going. But I do care also about the drivers and people out there on the front lines. It’s a serious environment where machine and man do some crazy stuff, and when you got mother nature, giving you more of a challenge, it can be very hard and at times deadly. So safety is always a concern, and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone to get in an accident, especially in drifting where it can be fatal if the staff and proper people didn’t coordinate the event right. But thank god, nothing serious like that happened, and the following day 2 Saturday made it an even more fun filling event.

Back to Day 1, after 5 plus mini incidents, social media came out and posts where heard from all over the world, on how boring or how slow the cars were going. And if I was a spectator on the other end, from home watching the live stream or soaking my body in the grandstands I probably would be a little disappointed too. But logic kicked in and if it were you and me, I doubt we would even get pass the first turn. I mean, let’s be honest, some of us have seen the same drivers on other tracks, local or anywhere else, excel well and still drive like bats outta hell in harsher rain. For example, Road Atlanta has seemed to bless FD Round 2 with a little rain from time to time, but when control is completely lost, they have a run-off. Where the streets of Long Beach are actual streets, you got road grime, uneven surface pavements, and city painted lines that when mixed with lot’s of water, create puddles, and uneasy lost of traction really fast.

To me, it’s a rat maze type of track where only several feet allow you to drift between the walls. Luckily Day 2 was the day to live it up. The rain slowly came in and out, but for the most part we all stayed dry. Amazing, yes, hard to do, yes, fun to watch, always. The drivers all 33 of them came out with all new stuff, for example Mad Mike Returned with a super clean and mean New Mazda Miata, still rotary powered as it should be. Kyle Mohan also came in with a new rotary powered Miata, Forrest Wang came alongside Alec Hohnadell with such beautiful liveries. Matt Coffman and Matt Field also had some awesome liveries with interesting wheels and exterior components that completed their car nicely. But this time, it was a spectacle to watch, with expectations of seeing Ryan Tuerck, Chris Forsberg, or even Aurimas Bakchis to make it up the ladder. It was long time drifter Chelsea Denofa who stunned the crowd and made way with his commonly seen BMW move up the ranks. Knocking off Vaughn Gittin Jr,  Ken Gushi and even Fredric Aasbo in the process, who was last years winner and Champion. More so of a privateer without really any huge sponsorship, he battled through some tough tandems and came out on top. Something that the Crowd where loving to see, and the fans from all over finally get to witness something this great.

As always, if you weren’t there, go ahead and sift through the photos and see what you missed. But we hope to see you in Atlanta for Round 2, which has always been my favorite round and track.. – Rommel Estrada #formulad #fdlb #justdriftit