Eleven years in the making. ClubFR has hosted their 50th Drift Day Midwest event. It was a kind of odd event. The roster was long and there were a lot of new faces out this time around. Possibly due to the popularity of Final Bout last month, also hosted at this track, by ClubFR. Whatever the reason, the number of drivers made for a pretty constant flow of drifting through out the day. I however stayed up the night before and did some photo shooting on the track. I have some more time lapses to put together and these could benefit from some editing, but here is a hasty slap job of what I was capturing that night. Apologies for the low quality of Vimeo’s free accounts, it looks a little better if You watch it on their site instead of mine, but not much..
These guys even had the great idea of printing up shirts, with a list of all 50 events. Well, DD43 is not there and they kind of failed, by not putting check boxes for people to mark the events they attended. Even so, it’s a great t-shirt, that I will enjoy having for years to come. I think these two will enjoy theirs as well.
On sunday morning, there was a quick drivers meeting and things got rolling. It was sunny and bright and I had forgotten to pack a polarizer, or neutral density filter. I tried My best to shoot things dark and spent a fair amount of time working My way around the track, to be on the sunny side of the action. It worked out, sometimes..
The day went along pretty well. There were a few people that got beached off track and somebody did spill a fair amount of oil on the advanced coarse, but that didn’t hold things up very much. After a couple hours of running, there was a short break and the traditional skateboard race was held. The winners actually got prizes too!
To add to the charm of this event, there were two big give-aways and a raffle. All three awarded the same prize, a season pass for the ClubFR 2015 drift season. Award number one, was fittingly given to Ben, a true ‘OG’ in the midwest drift scene. Considering he was at the first one of their events, as well as the majority of all subsequent events, it’s only fitting that free driver’s admission for a season goes his way. The second season pass handed out was the raffle. Every driver at the event that day, had their names written on paper and thrown in a hat. The winner? Jake! Who’s car is pictured at the very top of this post, among other places here. The last season pass, was not given to Billy Lemke, but instead to his wife, for putting up with all of the drifting antics and also as a wedding gift…
After those short festivities, the track went hot again and stayed that way all afternoon. There were a lot of people that were clearly very new to drifting, but there were some good drivers too. It has been a while since a drift day has drawn out such variety of skill levels. Recent years have had a sharp contrast of good/decent drivers and ameteur/beginner drivers. There was a distinct middle group that was kind of fun to watch at DD50. The bright sun eventually gave way to some clouds, I was struggling a bit to keep up with the constantly changing light all day. I did wander around and snap bunches of pictures until it was time to head back to Minnesota though.
USA International Raceway, a cart track just outside of Shawano, Wisconsin. No carts are buzzing around the track today though, Drift Day Fourty-Six has arrived. The squealing and smoking of tires, rapidly burning through layers of rubber has come again. Lots of familiar faces and the rolling hills that this particular track is draped over, always make for a good time. The day started at 30 degrees and a thick fog lingered all around.
After an hour or two, the fog had lifted, but there was still an overcasting of grey clouds keeping the sun at bay. Heading indoors to warm up a bit, I ran into more Minnesotans and We did that which We do..
In the early afternoon, the temps were into the 40’s and the sun popped out for fifteen minutes or so, allowing time for a race of those with skateboards. Around half the oval at the top of the hill and down past the pits, through a couple of turns, to the lowest point of the track. There are also a few shots of some of the guys playing about on pit lane.
There were a few hours of clear running. As anticipated however, the rain began again. Half of the drivers kept drifting for a little bit, before people packed up and headed towards their hometowns. I ate a lot of ribs this weekend, from two different places. Not to mention hash browns, fries, fried chicken, bratwurst and a bags worth of dried meats and candy. I also bowled one of My best games, took a personal low number of five hundred pictures, while standing in the clouds of many, now destroyed tires and got to see a bunch of My friends that live hundreds of miles away from Me. Thanks to the homies at ClubFR for bringing these events together, year after year…
Red Bull has hit it on the nail. This was the second year for their Crashed Ice event. If You aren’t familiar, think hockey, with no puck, or sticks, but on a twisting, hill laden track instead of a flat arena floor. I am quite certain if a bobsled team looked at the slopes built into the course, they would poo their pants, before realizing their lower jaws had landed on the ground. Actually, if they attempted to have a go, they would just fly off and into the crowds, or buildings, some of which were a mere 10-15 feet from the track.
It was unusually hard to get decent pictures of the action. According to one of Saint Paul’s Finest, there were well over 100,000 people in attendance for the 2 hour final. Considering the population of Capitol City is a mere 350,000, that is a huge turn out! This would also explain why it was nearly impossible to get close enough for some dynamic shots of the skating. I must admit, capturing these guys, flying down the course was a lot harder than taking pictures of drifting. Which is the only other thing I’ve had any real practice with rapidly moving subjects. So, I made sure to snap a picture or two of the cathedral. Wisely chosen 2 years straight as the backdrop for this, the only round of 5, held in the United States. Thanks for lighting it up for Me Red Bull. Not at all a common sight to see one of My home town’s most dominant structures glowing in so many colors…
I hope they continue to bring this event back here! Being the national home of hockey, home to 2 of the 3 major snow-mobile producers, as well as home of the coldest place in the contiguous U.S.(Embarrass, MN), hosting this truely cold weather sport in Saint Paul is a natural fit. Even better, they plan it to coincide with the Winter Carnival, so You get a completely diverse blend of people from many cultures and spanning all age groups. Honestly, do You think people elsewhere would happily venture out in sub-zero temperatures for some extreme sports and ice sculptures anywhere else? By the tens, or hundreds of thousands? Ahhh, Minnesota is a wonderfull place!