Another year, another truly epic PARC Fest in the history books. The sun was shining, the birds were singing… Or were those “birds” actually turbochargers mounted on the multitudes of smoke-billowing, piston-pumping machines getting sideways on the fast and narrow kart track?
For the unfamiliar drift fanatic, PARC Fest is a yearly, two day skid fest held at Pat’s Acres Racing Complex in Canby, Oregon. It is a neatly hidden, 43 acre gem nestled among vast farmland and woods. Owned by Chris and Lisa Egger, it is the mecca of grassroots drifting in the Northwest.
Drivers from all over the Pacific Northwest come down to have fun and kill some tires for a couple days.
The first day was purely open track. No competitions, just pure tire annihilation like Brad Valdez and Dustin King are dropping down.
Plenty of familiar faces and cars like Craig Alexander’s hachi showed up.
It didn’t take long before some of the drivers were getting their tandem on. Dio Ortiz and Erich Hagen were unstoppable throughout the day.
There was an almost overwhelming number of 240sx’s around, but each one had a unique personality. Whether it was a pink, bashed up and zip-tied pig nose S13 like Nikki San Miguel’s…
Or one like Travis Reeder’s with a RB heart transplant…
Or one with a heart transplant and a facelift.
Some nationally known talent like Northwest native Kory Keezer even joined in on the fun.
Every so often came interludes in the form of motocross.
These guys were insanely fast on the tarmac, it was a different ballgame trying to get a good picture of them.
Some cars really caught me off guard; Justin Lucas’ Infiniti Q45 looked so civilized and unassuming, until the smoke poured from the tires. Full lock and full smiles were in effect.
Drew Brinster’s Impreza also caught me by surprise. It is beautifully built, massive BCL wing and all.
The atmosphere of grassroots drifting is irreplaceable. Everyone comes to have fun and fill their lungs with tire smoke, simple as that.
Although the experience is intoxicating, I should have brought my Danny George bearded bandana. I don’t think asphyxiation is the best way to leave this plane of existence.
The next morning I arrived far too early, but I took advantage of the extra time by getting a closer look at the cars. Beauty really is in the details.
I also got to do a quick photo session of local legend James Wiklund’s S14.5, which will be a feature here, so keep your eyes peeled in the near future.
Unlike yesterday, there were to be some competitions. More specifically, tandem, proximity and blue line competitions. More on blue line in a bit.
For most of the day, it was business as usual.
Having the ability to roam around and the entire track and set foot near the tarmac is liberating. After having my first media experience in Formula Drift, I really took this for granted, as I could be within feet or inches of a passing car. Being so close to the tarmac with drivers like Nik Kulakevich racing toward me was pure exhilaration.
Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to get ‘that’ shot, but have the common sense not to endanger yourself or the drivers.
Toward the mid afternoon, the competitions began. Track staff set up clipping points around the first few corners for the proximity challenge.
It was awesome to watch drivers get more and more daring to rack up more points.
Smoothness and line consistency was paramount, however.
After the clipping points have been thoroughly destroyed, the tandem competition begin. I’m not exactly sure how the match-ups were formulated, but it was spectacular to see battles between the likes of Kyle Pollard and Quad Murry.
The ongoing tandems between Matt Panic and Paul Harrison, outside and within the tandem competition and have been one of the most exciting to watch. And with BEAMS powerplants, one of the most epic to listen to. If I were to describe the sound with Clarkson-esque superlatives, it’s like an apocalyptic throwdown between gigantic hornets and wasps in a volcano.
The tandems were getting more and more intense…
The final competition of the day was the “Blue Line” competition. On the main straight of the track is a blue line. The idea is to thunder down the straight, and initiate on the line toward the first corner.
I asked James about how fast he was going when he initiates, something to the tune of 50-plus mph, which considering Pat’s Acres is a karting track, that’s ridiculous speed.
As the evening sun edged closer to the horizon, we called it a day. Chris called the competitors over to hand out some nifty trophies. Peter Taylor took top honors in the proximity challenge, followed by James Wiklund and Travis Reeder.
Kyle Pollard dominated the tandem competition, with Nik Kulakevich in 2nd and Hunter Jensen in 3rd.
Finally in the blue line competition, James got 1st, Travis and Jeff McCall got 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Grassroots drifting has a very unique flavor. It’s an addictive experience, and we have Chris and his entire team to thank for helping keep it alive around here, month after month, year after year.