Keisuke Nagashima is well known for throwing an epic Meremere Dragway drift event, and 2016’s Valentine’s Day was no exception.

February 14, to some, is a day to spend with their loved ones, with roses, chocolates, and all of that other nonsense Valentine’s Day is known for. For others, Valentine’s Day meant they’d be able to get their drift cars out and have a punt around Meremere at another Keisuke Nagashima drift bash. The day was hot, full of action, and fuelled by pizza thanks to Sal’s Pizza in Wynyard Quarter. 

We caught up with Keisuke to see just how the day went, and he said, “It was another relaxed drift day at Meremere with good weather and people. The driving level of each of the drivers improves drastically each event, which is good to see. This time we had a mixed level of driver ability, from first-timers to D1NZ competitors.

“The regulars that usually attend, showed their skill by putting on a good show with up to five cars in a drift train at once. Meremere, being a tight track, makes it easy for both pit crew members watching, and the drivers pushing themselves to learn different techniques.

“Some stand out drivers were Zac Barlass in the Euphoric Motorsport S14 — his third drift day ever in New Zealand — but he was showing natural talent behind the wheel. Kieran Stewart in the MX-5 and Stan Lee G were both showing everyone the fun that can be had with a naturally aspirated engine, whilst giving the turbo guys a run for their money.

“Joel Hedges of C’s Garage and Jordan Tweedie were both running basically factory turbo S13s, but with their crazy car control, were able to pull off backwards entries. All in all it was another good, very hot day out. I can’t express how good Meremere is as a place to learn and develop as a driver. I have a few plans in my head to make the overall experience better, and get it as close to the Japanese drift culture as possible.

“Big thanks to Sal’s Pizza — Wynyard Quarter for supporting us with another trailer load of Pizza to keep the drivers happy!”

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.