Published on June 24th, 2015 | by mrgrumpyninja0
In Simpler Times
Isn’t it funny how sometimes when you ask one question, you get an answer which at first seems wrong but then leads you to a whole different stream of thought, perhaps uncovering something even better than what you had initially thought about? I’m sure there is a clever term for it, but I escapes me right now.
The question “who are the most underrated drivers to appear in NZ drifting” seemed simple enough, but it was always going to divide opinions as someone who is underrated to one person is overrated to another depending on personal tastes. I’ll try and cover off a few other drivers in the next few weeks but for now I want to talk about one driver in particular as tradition versus progression is very much topical in the sport of drifting right now.
Vince Langhorn is the name that appeared which caused my sudden realisation and made me want to put words on paper. I’ll be honest, I didn’t consider Vince underrated at all, in fact almost the opposite as he just doesn’t conform to what I was thinking about at the time. Yes he won a Pro-Am title, he has a wild approach to the sport and won some rounds, but aside from the grand final round he hadn’t shown much in Pro this season
But then it hit me…..
Vince Langhorn is actually a representation of the Old School, a driver trapped in time . He would possibly have been a champion and hero in the 2000s’ but in the current media and dollar driven environment, a driver is easy to miss if he keeps a fairly low profile and lets his tire smoke do the talking rather than trying to force his brand and sponsors down your throat to keep the bill payers happy . Think about it…..how many ‘athlete’ pages are there around and guys telling you how great they are, even if they are not really much more than mid pack? If this isn’t making any sense that’s ok, it took me a while to get to this point to but to simplify it, Vince is a guy who essentially doesn’t give a f**k and just wants to do skids just like the originators of the sport and that’s actually pretty cool.
Here’s a guy who has very little if any interest in interviews, wouldn’t be your first choice to use as a public face of a company and he doesn’t really even seem overly interested in results, He just wants to have some fun and skid his car. Now that might seem harsh…. But think about where the drivers of old, Fanga Dan, Gaz Whiter etc started off…. Remember what their early media and presentation was like and you’ll slowly realise that Langhorn is what the essence of drifting in NZ originally was, only back then there were 30 guys all with the same IDGAF attitude.
Why am I writing this? Well it seems we’ve almost got to a point of crucial change. Vince has already indicated that after 1 year he will ‘retire’ from Pro competition to do something that he sees as more ‘grassroots’ and there lies a question that perhaps warrants answering. Is there a place going forward in pro for an old school style competitor who doesn’t want to do all the peripheral activities now associated with the sport? Is there a long term place in a media driven sport for a driver who really would rather just put a helmet on and go door to door?
Good luck with whatever you chose to do Vince, perhaps this just wasn’t your time