Event Report

2010 Season

Drift Event #1 - NWR SCCA Drift School - 4/18/2010 - Bremerton Motorsports Park

    Have you heard that Drifting is a rapidly growing motorsport? Do you believe it? Well, if you were in Bremerton last Sunday, 4/18/2010, you were among those of us who experienced proof of that fact firsthand. Eight hard-working volunteers, organized and coordianted, by Russell and Julia O'Connell, put together a well-designed SCCA Drift School at the Bremerton Motorsports park to help the community grow. 

    Forty students, 34 of them driving and six simply observing, came to either learn to drift, or to improve their skill at this demanding sport/art form. This event also had a record number of female attendants. a total of three ladies took it to the tracks showing a huge increase in female participation from pervious years. Students came from Vancouver, B.C., Alaska, Washington and Oregon (there was some interest from California, but I believe those potential students were unable to make it). There was even a highly successful Time Trials Z06 driver who came out to give drifting a try; he found it harder than expected, and more fun. The biggest attraction was the opportunity to drift on a “track” with no walls, not on the street, at a reasonable cost. I suspect another element that made it desirable to attend was the cast of instructors. 

    Fifteen experienced and capable drifters came to help the grass roots drifting community. Among those teaching were three licensed Formula Drift competitors: Victor Moore, Roland Gallagher and Nikolay Konstantinov. Some of the top ProAm drifters in the Pacific Northwest, including Mike Phillips and Andrew Coomes, were also helping teach the sport.

    So for almost ten hours (minus breaks for tire changes, food and other minor details) these students went on course, with an instructor riding along, and showed what they could do, picking up advice and encouragement along the way. The morning sessions were all about donuts – around one cone, or connecting two cones in a figure eight, circling around each of them. Some students were very right around the cones, making donut holes. Others were carving Danish sized ovals. But by lunchtime, just about everyone had improved. 

    Then the track heated up, as the instructors each got four runs on a slalom type course in their own cars. Students not only got to watch what the Professionals and the nearly professional ProAm drivers could do, but they had the chance to ride along and observe.  

    After watching the instructors carve it up, the students spent the afternoon driving the same course, and seeing how well they could transfer, link together drifts and cut a tight circle around a collection of cones before reversing direction – all without worrying about hitting a wall! (there were a few dirt drops, and some severely damaged cones; but cars and drivers came through relatively unscathed). 

    There is talk of another Drift School this year, possibly at Evergreen Speedway. Keep an eye on the schedule at http://www.Evergreendrift.com, and stay tuned to SCCA (http://nwr-scca.org/drifting/EventReports.php as well.

    Media:

    2008 Season

    Drift Event #4 – 9/28/2008 – Bremerton Motorsports Park



    Course Map:

    Media:

    Drift Event #3 – 8/31/2008 – Bremerton Motorsports Park

    Media:

    Drift Event #2 – 7/27/2008 – Bremerton Motorsports Park


    Course Map:



    Drift Event #1 – 5/30/2008 – Bremerton Motorsports Park

    Quick Stats:

    Drivers: 28

    Non Driving Event Participants and Volunteers: 24

    Event Chair: Russell O'Connell

    Registration Link Info: NWR SCCA Drift Event 2 Registation Information

    When a Friday date suddenly became available at Bremerton Motorsports Park event chair Russell O’Connell jumped at the chance to organize a NWR SCCA drift event. Since the dates scheduled for drifters for the rest of the year are shared with the SOLO autocross events require the drifters to use the smaller south end of the track at BMP Russell took the opportunity to use the larger north end of the site to design a unique and challenging course longer than any other held in the Northwest.

    The site was secured, event planned, and drivers registered all with only three weeks notice.

    While most drivers utilize weekend memberships the registration information encouraged joining the SCCA with discounted event fees. As a result, four drivers became full annual members prior to the event.

    A full schedule was planned which gave drifters a combined seven hours of run time on a sixty second plus course. Drivers averaged a total of twelve runs on the long and technical course that allowed many drifter’s skill level to increase substantially by the end of the day.

    The Registration Line:


    While the average drift course consists of three to five corners the size of the site allowed the use of a long ten corner course

    Course Map:

    Increasing and decreasing radius corners along with variations in transitions from low speed to higher speed corners coupled with the longer than average length challenged drivers of all skill levels.

    Drifters like smoking:


    For each session an experienced drifter was assigned an official work position as driver coach. Any driver that was having difficulty navigating the course or who simply wanted pointers on how to improve received a ride along and drifting pointers from the driving coaches. This allows us to spot problems and help correct any issues with drivers getting lost on course or getting out of control before it escalates into a bigger problem or incident.

    Unfortunately, two drivers in the first session became acquainted with the “four wheels off the pavement and you are done for the day” rule. Although these offs were minor and the drivers barely were off the pavement the rule serves to help keep drivers from driving above their abilities and encourages pushing their skill limits in a controlled manner and minimizes track cleanup time.

    Driver coaching in progress:

    Despite having a couple of drivers develop mechanical problems that ended their day early and required a tow home the event went smoothly and the drivers were excited.

    The SCCA event format offers a great place for drifters to develop their skills. The SCCA’s focus on safety and course design requirements provides perfect environment for less skilled drivers to get critical seat time prior to attending other area events that have less forgiving and higher speed courses. NWR SCCA drift events are also a good value with lots of run time for the money.

    Drifting with the SCCA in the Northwest Region is gaining momentum and a base of core workers is growing. The experience of the solo volunteers is still extremely important as they assist in a number of ways, particularly with the registration, insurance, and sanctioning paperwork and procedural items as well as providing the required licensed Safety Stewards to ensure the Drifting events are run in compliance with the SCCA standards.

    A big thank you to this event’s Safety Stewards Dick Willy and Steve Downing, Event Chair Russell O’Connell, registration chief Julia O’Connell, Chris Mason, and all the drivers, photographers, and volunteers that made this event happen.

    See you at the next event!

    To see what the drivers had to say see check out this thread:

    NWR SCCA Drift Event Pictures and Driver Feedback on Northwest Nissans

    Media Links:

    Pictures by Danny Sullivan

    Pictures by Chris Mason

    Pictures on Northwest Nissans

    Pictures on HachiRoku.net


     

    Drift School – 4/2/2008 – Bremerton Motorsports Park

    Quick Stats:

    Students: 18

    Instructors: 10

    Non Driving Event Participants and Volunteers: 12

    Event Chair: Russell O'Connell

    Registration Link Info: NWR SCCA Drift School Registration Information

    The first ever Northwest Region drift event was fittingly a school for new drifters. The school was held on the same day as the autocross novice school and provided people just starting in the sport a chance to learn from the best local drifters.

    Event chair Russell O’Connell organized a meeting of all the instructors as well as safety steward Jerry Lamb two weeks prior to the event to review the plan for the day and have the instructors collaborate on teaching methods.

    The registration cap was set at twenty students and a cost of $55 per student was set. Pre registration saw a total of 25 people requesting registration but on the day of 18 students actually showed up. We had two minor drivers inquire about registering but were unable to attend the school due to the minimum age of 18 specified by the SCCA Drift rules. The minor drivers were encouraged to attend the autocross novice school instead and one of them did. Most drivers were 18 to 25 year-olds interested primarily in drifting but we also attracted a few experienced autocrosses who wanted to give drifting a try and learn to better manage oversteer situations. Machinery included the common 240sx’s, corollas, and RX7’s popular with drifters as well as BMW’s (E30 and Z4 M Coupe), a S2000, and a Miata.

    Ten of the Northwest finest and most experienced drifters were present to act as instructors along with other regular attendees of other Northwest drifting events to volunteer for work positions.

    After drivers and volunteers were registered and their cars tech inspected a ground school was given by event chair Russell O’Connell. In addition to standard procedural and safety information a brief presentation on fundamental drifting skills and car setup was given for the students.

    At the conclusion of the ground school students were divided into two run groups and hit the track. One half of the students drove while the other half was trained how to safely work the course. The course consisted of two separate skidpads where drivers were given three minutes and then signaled to exit with a yellow flag.

    Morning Skidpad Course:

    Student learning the ropes on the skidpad:

    Students were coached on how to initiate, countersteer, and maintain a drift at low speed starting with simple circles and then advancing to a figure eight pattern. The students rapidly progressed and were able to complete several consecutive drifts around the figure eight by the end of the session. Skidpad drills are hard on the cars but there were no major mechanical issues experienced by the students.

    More Skidpad Action:


    At noon the students took a lunch break to eat the catered box lunches while the course was modified for instructors to take some fun runs. A slalom style course with corners of multiple radiuses was set up and approved by the safety stewards and the volunteers and instructors indulged in some runs. Students were invited to ride along with their instructor to preview the afternoon course and see drifting from the passenger seat on a full course.

    Instructor Course Map:

    Lucas the Instructor showing how it's done!

    At the end of lunch the course was shortened to four corners and the students were let loose.

    PM Student Course (Click for lager version)

    The instructors guided them in applying their newfound skills learned on the skidpad and adding the extra dynamic of controlling transitions from side to side in between corners. The session started off with the expected spins but all students quickly learned and were able to maintain a drift through the whole course.

    Autocrossers with expensive cars can drift too!

    The students finished out their session after everyone made great progress excited about their newfound skills and confidence in drifting.

    The event Safety Stewards Bob Forsberg and Jerry Lamb graciously agreed to say a while longer to let the instructors and volunteers get in one last session before cleaning up the site. Some students also stayed for additional ride alongs. Ride alongs were also given to interested staff from the autocross school held at the other end of the track.

    The students were excited about getting hands on coaching and seeing their skills improve so quickly and the instructors enjoyed giving back to the sport and helping along the next wave of drivers. Running a Drift School at the first event with four course changes made it challenging for the staff but they were able to pull off a safe, fun, and well organized event for the NWR’s first foray into drifting.

    To see what the students and instructors had to say check out this thread: Drift School Pictures and Driver Feedback on Northwest Nissans.

    Media

    Event Slideshow by Danny Sullivan