I arrived on Friday afternoon to see what the organisers had planned for the weekend. There were already rows and rows of cars parked outside as patrons made use of an early Friday off work to watch all the drifters practice on the highly technical track,which had been set up across the strip.
I had the opportunity to get a proper behind-the-scenes look at the world of drifting as Claire Vale and her team allowed me access to their pit garage. It was interesting to hear about and see, how the front suspension of the car is set up, what kind of tyres they use and why, as well as how conditions cause drivers to adapt themselves, when approaching the course.
It’s certainly a technical sport and it became quite clear that these drivers exhibit a massive amount of car-control and loads of skill. It was also clear whose vehicles had been set up well and whose weren’t, as some managed big smoky drifts while others were spinning out, struggling to get their vehicle sideways as the sun set, after the practice session.
Bright and early on Saturday, the show kicked into high gear with drift practice, followed by qualifying, then the main event, later in the day. There was a variety of stalls around selling anything from food to lowering-kits for your car. You could even buy a car as a number of dealers put in a strong showing. There was a freestyle motocross event and professional drivers took patrons for a drive in a fast car around a very tight track.
To say the venue was crowded would be a bit of an understatement as visitors ended up parking as far as the eye could see, while the grandstands, pits and stalls were full of enthusiasts, which created a great atmosphere.
Sunday brought much of the same massive crowds, while towards the end of the evening, the track was opened to everyone who - after having their vehicles checked for safety purposes - could take to the drag strip and race against any of the other cars lined up at the track. It’s a great way to take racing off the streets and into a controlled environment. This street to strip drag racing event takes place on the first and third Sunday of each month, at the venue.
Overall, I think the show was great, especially considering that this was the first time it’s been held at this venue. It can only grow and improve in the coming years; it’s wonderful being surrounded by so much enthusiasm, especially when it’s shared among such a varied group of people.