Meeting: WW13 – The social side

I have to confess something. Actually, a few things. I visit the track dozens of times a year, and I’ve never ever done a lap of Zandvoort in my life. I shoot many drifting events and demos, and I’ve never ever hitched a ride in a drift car. I visit very few meetings each year, and I visit most of them just for the pictures. But the Wangan Warriors meetings are different. They’re mainly a social thing for me, with taking pictures just being a secondary objective.

For some reason it’s just a natural thing at our meetings. When I walk around at other meetings I can easily spot the people who belong to the same club and I can walk around with the same group of friends without talking to anybody else. For some reason it just works differently at the Wangan Warriors meetings, it seems to me everybody is talking to everybody.

At WW13 I deliberately came alone, because I wanted to shoot some pictures this time. Did it go as planned? Yes and no, I shot quite a few pictures ànd I talked to a lot of people. Not only people I already knew, but also a lot of new faces.

I even said hi to Allard, one of our friends from 7Tune. He was tied up in his booth by all the people looking at the merchandise for sale but when I finally caught him walking around I introduced myself in one of the most weird ways imaginable because I was very, very hungry. I said something like “Hi Allard, I’m Alex and I’ll get back to you in a minute but I really need something to eat”. Sorry Allard, I’ll properly introduce myself the next time!

Speaking of food, having affordable food and beverages on site was a huge plus! I think the guys from Snackmobiel sold a lot of hamburgers and croquettes and there was constantly a huge line of people waiting to order. I got my lunch at 3PM and I still had to stand in line for a long time. When I was driving back home I realized it was one of the busiest places of the meeting.

One of the busiest? Yes, because it competed with Tim’s already famous yellow wide body JZA8. It attracted a huge number of people throughout the day and I spotted a lot of familiar faces drooling over this awesome car. It’s funny to see how a car with just a tiny bit more sex appeal than the other beautiful cars at the meeting can attract a huge crowd and I can’t wait to see how it performs on the track next year.

My cute little Yaris is on the other side of the Toyota spectrum and with ongoing problems with my coilovers it certainly isn’t a good idea to track it. I talked about it to one of the other visitors, a car mechanic I know for a few years now, and before I knew it he was inspecting my rears dampers and springs to see if he could spot the problem. For me it was one of the defining moments of the meeting and it was then that I decided to write about the people and leave the cars to my colleagues.

For me it was a meeting of people. I saw whole families walking around and I even talked to an old retired guy who owned a Z back in the days. He was looking at the cars with his four year old grandson who constantly rambled on about the huge number of Skylines present. He insisted that only blue Skylines are fast and that he was saving to buy one when he’s old enough.

I reckon that little petrolhead has to make do with a scale model of his dream car in the meantime, something most of us started with and some of us even are even building or buying scale models of the very cars they own now. Sometimes these are exactly modeled to their real cars, with all the decals and exterior mods copied to the little car.

And that, in my humble opinion, is what our meetings are all about. Most of us are gearheads with oil in our veins and greasy fingernails. At Wangan Warriors meetings it doesn’t matter who drives the fastest car or who has the loudest exhaust system, it’s about a passion. A passion for cars that started at an early age with little toys and it only got stronger from the moment we had the keys to our first real cars. It’s about the little child inside us that giggles every time we push the accelerator to the floor. It’s about enjoying ourselves on a beautiful day at a parking lot with equally passionate people and a lot of beautiful cars. I had fun and I’m looking forward to our first meeting in 2013, and you?

– Alex Kamsteeg