Sheldon Johnson, better known as ZBoss in drift circles, was once again the winner at the penultimate round of Slippery Wen Wett on Sunday, October 29 at Falmouth cruise ship pier in Trelawny.
"This win was my favourite, reason being it was very tight competition and I won by a small margin. I'm very proud of myself. I had to come out of my comfort zone to achieve this win so it's a great feeling to know I did what I had to do and take the risks to give me the victory," Johnson told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.
Johnson made his way to the top of the leaderboard in a titanic battle with second-placed Ian Wright, the only driver who got the newly added drift box challenge to the course correct under competition conditions. Wright, however, missed the final obstacle on his run, negating his achievement. Johnson's consistency through each of the three rounds ensured his success in the end.
Finishing third was 2022 Red Bull Car Park Drift Champion Nicholas Barnes. He had to switch cars with current Red Bull Car Park Drift Champion Cleve Ottey in the finals in order to complete the event.
"The drift box was very difficult. It's a second gear slide for me. However, most of the time my mind was telling me to use first gear. As I said, I broke out of my comfort zone and used second gear and that gave me the advantage to win the event today," explained Johnson.
There was just as much drama in the Rookie class despite the fact that Richard Ryan had secured the victory. Behind him, for second position, there was a tie, which required two tie-breaking attempts before generating a winner.
"Considering the time frame that I started, I'm considered a rookie, but I must say that I've outdone myself and I have to give God thanks for that," said Ryan.
Sunday's event saw the inclusion of a brand new obstacle — the drift box — which challenged competitors to put only their rear wheels and drift the vehicle through a set marked area on the course. While one driver was able to do this during practise, only one other was able to do it during the heat of competition. That led to some anxiety between the drivers and the organisers which brought everything to a halt for a while. Event conceptualiser Kingsley Scott reiterated his commitment to the new format — introduced by Red Bull Car Park Drift.
"We're trying to build this series as a drift competition. We want to get Jamaica accustomed to drifting and not just dexterity or just sliding. We're trying to bring it to the international level, so anywhere in the world you go, this is where it's going and I'm willing to take it there," said Scott.
The grand finale will return to the spiritual home of the series, Junction, St Elizabeth, on Sunday, December 24.
"The event lived up to expectations and we can say that the grand finale will see the crowning of the drift king of Jamaica," said Scott.