Speed Fanatics Thanksgiving Drifting Special
Last Sunday, October 7, Was a special day here in the Lower Mainland, not only because it was Canadian thanksgiving but because it was host to the first Drift event ever at Mission Raceway. This might not sound impressive but Mission Raceway is the local drag strip and the closest road course to Vancouver, Various motorsport groups have unsuccessfully been trying to get a drift event happening here for over a decade.
Jump back to the 19th of September, the event was first announced on Facebook via Speed Fanatics a local lapping day organization. They were planning on running a open lapping day on the Saturday and then the drift event on the Sunday. Having never put on a drift event and knowing of the stiff opposition to drifting on the track I had little hope of it actually happening. Several of my friends signed up right away jumping at the opportunity to drift a proper track so close to home. People were asking legitimate questions about how the cars would be tech'ed, DB limits, fire extinguisher rules and spectators These didn't seem to be as easily answered as you would hope and few tech rules we did get were " have enough brakes to last the day & no tires below the wear bars " Due to this and my previous reasons I was more than bit hesitant to sign up. Part of the issue was that CACC, ( Confederation of Autosport Car Clubs ) the governing body for motorsport in the province of British Columbia, doesn't have a rule book for grassroots drifting. This means that no event can happen as there is no rule book to follow. I knew this to be the case so had little faith in everything working out in the end. In this time I hung out with an old friend Gaelen who is heavily involved with racing at mission and he didnt seem confident in happening either so it sounded like it may just be all dreams. A few days after that weekend all the smoke head cleared as they say and it was looking like it was actually going to happen. Gaelen had met with the organizers and brought along local drift Superstar Ian Fournier to do some layout testing and make sure they were up to speed on what drifting actually was. We received a few videos of Ian smoking out a couple of corners and it looked like a go!
I finally signed up literally after everyone else not wanting to miss out on this opportunity making this the first drift event Gerard and I had driven together in 9 years. I'll let Gerard tell you his whole story about getting his car running for this event and skip forward to us showing up. We were told that the drivers meeting would be at 7:30am and that any driver or spectator not be participating in the day Being this was the first event and we were unsure of how strict they would be we decided to show up earlier to be safe. 7:45am comes and goes and an announcement is made that the drivers meeting will take place at 8:30 am.
Most of the cars have rolled in now are lining up for tech inspection. The field of cars is a stark contrast to the Villains drift event I was at a few weeks ago. Every car here looks like a show quality car, Most were street driven to the event and no one was on track trying to hit the walls.
The drivers were split into 3 groups of their own choosing Advanced, Beginner and Novice there was some slight confusion if beginner or novice was the lowest skill level while signing up. Gerard, Eric and I all ended up in different run groups. The course was also split into 3 areas 1 was a open skid pad at the end of the drag strip / turn 3. The second section was run reverse of the road course it was Turn 2 and then the straight and only the entry into turn 1 as they didn't want us laying rubber on the strip. (end of turn 1) The third and most fun IMHO section was 7,8,9 a quick left right S into a large sweeping decreasing left then another quick right left S.
I was the first car in my run group the advanced to drive, we were starting on the 7,8,9 section and the weather was typical of Vancouver, dry both the day before and after but, overcast with scattered rain throughout the day. This along with fallen leaves and rubber marbles made for extremely slick conditions. I kept finding myself struggling for grip and banging off the rev limiter.
It was awesome to be able to be out there with Gerard in his Aristo it has felt like such a long and drawn out build lately it was good to see G out there with a smile actually enjoying his car rather than cursing at it. It was Eric's first event driving but having him around at events when we used to drive back in the day made it have this feeling of something new and special but old and familiar at the same time. Another great time was watching Marvin and Miki drive, both of these guy have been customers of our for the past few years and it was awesome to see them out there using our parts to have fun.
Overall the event ran very smoothly I would like to thank Speed Fanatics for taking the steps to put this event on. Gaelen Norman, Ian Fournier for helping to set up the course and to Neil Marcus and Gaelen for standing out in the rain flagging and making sure everyone was safe. The only issues that we had were a couple of sound violations myself included. It seems as if the event ran well enough that they will be running more this up coming season, there are even rumors of one more before the end of the year.
All watermarked photos by Rick Leung All non watermarked photos by Sean McCallum