Let me start out by saying that the past two months have been the nuttiest two months of drifting insanity that I’ve experienced to this point. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still relatively fresh on the scene. Many people have crazy schedules packed with drifting/other stuff, so I’m not trying to imply that I’m a special case or anything, but this is the first time that I have consistently lived the drifting life every weekend. Of course, I did it as a camera guy (not as a driver); but I was completely immersed in the life nonetheless.
Really, it feels like it all started on the weekend of August 15th at Autodrome Montmagny with DMCC (Drift Mania Canadian Championships) Round 4 – which I covered on here a little while back. A few weeks later, on September 5th, we returned to the province of Quebec for DMCC Round 5 at Autodrome St. Eustache. This event was kinda weird. That’s the only way I can put it. The weather was really not holding up its end of the bargain the whole time – it rained for the better part of the actual race day. Also, the particular layout wasn’t popular with some of the drivers – which caused a little more than the usual drama.
While I’m on the topic of DMCC, here’s the edit I did from DMCC Round 5:
Two weeks after the weird event at St. Eustache, the final round of DMCC was being held in our own province of Ontario at the Mosport Driver Development Track. That event was also a little weird because instead of the usual two day event that we experience on most weekends, the event had to be packed into one day -a day which needed to end by 5PM. Needless to say, this didn’t benefit the drivers very much as they were extremely limited in the amount of time that they had to practice on the track. However, this isn’t the event we’re talking about (I’ll have more coverage on this one later)!
After that event we had about a week before making our way to the Canadian Sport Compact Series Amateur Drifting competition to help judge. These competitions are fun to judge because we get to see all the up and coming guys who have the potential to move on up to DMCC, and eventually maybe on to Formula D! At the same time, there’s a lot of down time at these events as a result of the massive crowd of drivers that come to participate in the time attack portion of the event, which can make it a bit of a slow day.
Another week went by and then my brother Pat and I were on our way down South to take part in the Irwindale Formula D Pro Am Nationals, as well as the final round of XDC in Phoenix. After everything was said and done, there was one thought about Irwindale that stuck in my head: Irwindale is indescribable!
Seriously, when I say it’s indescribable, I mean that it’s a humbling experience to be there. Since it was my first time in California, as well as my first time at Irwindale, I found myself instantly immersed in the crazy California lifestyle at the same time as feeling completely detached from home (where it’s currently well on its way to being Winter season). It was a pretty cool feeling, but at the same time I missed my home that comes with four seasons, and not quite as much smog…or as many earthquakes (not that we experienced any while we were there).
Still, once we got to Irwindale, I felt the same feeling I had the first time I saw drifting in a parking lot: “This is the shit, and I need to be here.” My first impression of the track, when we pulled the rig in across the drag strip which overlooks the starting line, was that the track looked a lot smaller than it did in videos. However, once I got out of the truck and actually started watching closely, I realized just how huge Irwindale is. The steep banking of the track alone makes it something that we had not yet experienced on any of the Canadian tracks in the past. The immense size of the first bank into which drivers are throwing their cars is something to behold as well…if you don’t see it in person, you just don’t realize quite how ridiculous it is. With it being such a smooth and flowy track, the drivers were able to gather some pretty amazing speeds, which in turn would lead to some pretty amazing wrecks.
With all that being said, after the event we were treated to some interesting pieces of Irwindale history by Alex Pfeiffer (who was kind enough to let us hang out on his couch for a few days) including an old Option DVD of D1GP at Irwindale. The first thing that struck me was the difference between drifting now and not so long ago…the skill level has risen exponentially. The second thing that struck me and that really stuck with me was the amount of drifting history that has gone down at that track…legendary drivers…legendary battles…and for a weekend I finally got to have my taste of it, and I loved it!
So, I guess what I mean when I say that Irwindale is indescribable is that in order to really get the full Irwindale experience, you really have to be there. I always hate reading that sort of statement because I feel like I have a really good imagination, but unless you actually go there, you don’t get the full scope of what Irwindale really is.
That takes care of Part One of my Irwindale coverage. I’ll be back with Part Two of my Irwindale coverage very soon, so keep your eyes glued to MotorMavens for the goods!