Posted on: January 7, 2014

At Formula Drift on Wall Speedway in New Jersey, Berk Technology came out strong and earned fresh new points by qualifying in Top 32, in one of the tightest qualifying sessions yet. 12 points separated the first 29 cars! The forward momentum started already at Formula Drift Palm Beach, where Berk Technology and driver Carl Rydquist was starting to feel a wind of noticeable progress with the Silk Road Auto sponsored Berk Technology / Rydquist Racing Nissan 350Z powered by Champion Sparkplugs. With added steering angle made possibly by the Partshop MAX angle steering kit, Carl could drive harder and in combination with more Garrett turbo boost, speed was increasing as well.




In Florida, however, as fate would have it, what looked to be another Top 32 by the end of the qualifying session turned into a 33rd spot after a few teams protested the speed gun readings and the Berk team got bumped down a couple of spots - a mere 0.2 points out of the Top 32!

"It almost feels like we got robbed". Carl explains. "We had the scores from all drivers during the qualifying and we were in 31st spot. Not great, but we were in and that means more practice time and opportunity to set the car up for Top 32. Then in the driver's meeting, we learned that we got bumped out, because some teams protested their speed readings - a reading from the one single judging device that is supposed to be totally scientific. It was an eye opener and it instilled firm resolve in us to climb the ranks and qualify harder, faster, better, with a more competitive power and chassis setup, to avoid being affected by those types of fluctuations in the future. We can't change what goes on by random chance, all we can do is improve our own performance."


Carl and his Berk team put their added resolve into preparing the car to the max for Round 4, New Jersey. No stone left unturned, with MP Tuning's phone support, Carl reprogrammed the engine map, then went into deep discussions with the Hankook tire representatives to find out every bit of useful information to do better, and to push the boundaries of the car's limits.

On the wish list was more power, more angle, more grip, more aggression, more impact. When the other teams went to dinner and sleep Berk Technology burned the midnight oil in their "igloo" like there was no tomorrow.



"To become a Champion, you have to work harder than anyone else, and be more efficient with your resources." Carl explains.

With everything the Berk team could do to improve the Silk Road Auto sponsored Rydquist Racing / Berk Technology Nissan 350Z powered by Champion implemented, and nothing left on the table, the car was finally ready to be shipped off to Round 4, Wall Speedway, New Jersey.



.and come qualifying in New Jersey, Carl put down a safe 69.5 score, followed by a 79.5 score, displaying speed, control, angle and lock to lock transitions on the steeply banked course



"Perfectly according to plan" Bryan Min, Berk Technology owner and crew chief said. "It is such an impressive list of teams and drivers in Formula Drift today, so to be able to crank out a respectable score is a win in itself when coming in as a new team. And when the score earns you a Top 32 spot, it tastes all the sweeter."


Photo by Melissa Yeo.



The crowd was huge and the drivers signed thousands of posters and hero cards, everything seemed to line up for a great event. But the Berk team had a devastating surprise coming..



The onboard camera caught this devastating crash into the rails during Saturday's warm-up pre Top 32 practice. What seemed to be a sheared fastener in the suspension broke while Carl was drifting through the steep bank. The loss of steering on the left wheel flicked the car in the wrong direction and rammed it into the outside rails.



"It was a surprise and disappointing, as we pride ourselves to never save on the little parts - since a worn little part can end a weekend. In this case, it was a new part that broke from the stresses of drifting, bad luck. What can you do?", Carl says and adds. "I'm extremely thankful for all the safety gear and the quick response from the Wall Speedway putting out a fire before it could do any harm." 



Since the Silk Road Auto sponsored Rydquist Racing / Berk Technology Nissan 350Z powered by Champion Sparkplugs miraculously had no damage to the major suspension parts, the team got to work quickly and tried to get the car to run again before Top 32.



Chris Forsberg and Mishimoto helped out with a new radiator, Joon Maeng and Road Race Engineering helped with hands on and plumbing, Ryan Kado Racing and Brandon Wicknick Racing added more help to straighten up a frame rail, and help came from a long list of volunteers out of the spectator crowd. With everybody's help, the car was almost finished, at least in NA form due to damaged turbo plumbing, when the 5 minute countdown began for the actual Top 32 battle (Carl was staged against Chris Forsberg in the Top 32 bracket).

With 1 minute to go, the car was fired up. but 2 leaks revealed from a coolant hose and oil cooler needed a few more minutes to resolve, and time ran out.  



All the team could do was to patch the car up for display for all the fans, then load it to go back to home base at Berk Technology in California, where major upgrades are waiting.

 "You can, and you can't, be disappointed at a time like that", Carl says. "Not with all that support and help from so many fellow drifters and their teams. The car was running absolutely fantastic with the latest changes, more grip out of the great Hankook tires, more turbo power put out flawlessly by the AEM Engine Management System with outstanding torque control using the ACT Advanced Clutch System race-clutch. We also had the aero back on which I always like to drive with, and the KW Suspension coilovers were set in a way where I could drive aggressively, which is when I thrive, yet in control. So naturally I wish we had gotten more out of it, but the main takeaway is a chunk of new points, and that we are improving quickly."



The fifth round of the 2013 Formula Drift PRO Championship will take place in Seattle, Washington on July 19-20.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.formulad.com, and news, livestream and all event info can also be found there.

Please check out and support our team partners who are providing first class products and services for our 2013 Formula Drift PRO Championship program! 



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