Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Catching the drift

Catching the drift

Trained in interior design, Jatuphol Munphatraphong could not resist the allure of racing - despite his parents

Published on December 12, 2007

It is not uncommon to embark upon a different career from what one trained for, nor is it so very unusual to meet with success in the new field.

Take Jatuphol Munphatraphong. He owns Monster Fixed auto-body shop, but he studied interior design in Australia, earning a bachelor's degree in that field.

"I've loved cars ever since I was young, but I studied interior design because of the family business. After I graduated, though, I spent seven months decorating my car's body, and that inspired me to open my own garage," Jatuphol says.

He broached the subject with his parents, and they were not opposed to the idea.

"My parents only forbade me to race, because they knew I loved high-speed driving. I had no previous auto-shop experience when I started my business on Srinakarin Road. Now I've been operating for a year, and the future looks promising. I thought I'd be stuck in the red for a while, but I've actually made a profit so far," he says.

Despite his promise to his parents, he did take up racing after all.

"I initially concealed this from my parents, but I finally decided I had to tell them, because they would have been upset if they'd discovered it on their own. It was easier than I thought. They only asked what type of racing I was into. Well, I love drifting, and I explained to them what it involved, skidding sideways as far as possible in a turn," he says.

"They took comfort in the fact that I was doing something they didn't think sounded too exciting."

Today, he drives a Nissan Cefiro A31 in drifting competitions.

"In fact drifting is very exciting, just like a roller coaster. Young teenagers are always screaming when they ride with me during competition. I learned at first from watching videos, but later experienced racers trained me.

Now I can drift at speeds of 170kph. Drifting has gained much popularity in Japan, where competitors can do 200kph," Jatuphol says.

And drifting is becoming more popular in Thailand now, too.

"Recently, a 'grand drift' competition was held in Bang Saen, with about 10,000 viewers and more than 100 cars. It was the first of its kind here, and the next one should be even more popular.

"That one turned into a virtual tyre war. Tyres, clutches and hand breaks take the most beating in a drifting competition," he says.

"Do what you like: then you know you're going in the right direction."

Thanadol Rila

The Nation

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