A lot of places have big drift scenes, and even more places have small scenes. Many places don’t even have a drift scene at all. Medford is a small town in south Oregon that most people probably haven’t heard of, but that doesn’t stop them from having one of the biggest drift scenes in the state.
Justin Shreeve and Joe Ayala of Tandem of Die both grew up in Medford, but have since moved away. Justin lives in Portland now, and Joe lives in San Francisco, but their families and drift cars still live in Medford. Because of that, they come back all the time.
Every spring, there’s a week-long fundraising event called the Medford Cruise, which consists of a classic car show, drag racing, and of course a cruise through downtown Medford. So far the event has raised $282k for youth organizations around southern Oregon.
This year, drifting was included in the festivities, and Drift Evolution (the local drift event) provided it. Justin and Joe hit up Formula DRIFT rookie Fabian Fernandez to see if he’d come to the show. He wouldn’t be attending FD Florida or New Jersey and this event took place on the weekend between those two events. Fabian was down, so a bunch of us went with him including fellow rookie Ryan Kado, who had a missile car he could bring since his 350Z was still in Florida.
Fabian even brought his baby daughter Tailyr. Yes, she’s named after Nexen Model Tailyr Monette.
Is Justin the coolest guy ever or what?
D-Loc and Hot Dogg were there from Hot 98.9. They were broadcasting via cell phone and telling everyone in the Rogue Valley to come check out the drifting and to get a ride from Fabian.
Fabian had such a long line of people waiting for rides, Hot Dogg got a ride with local dude Manny instead. It sure looked like he was having a good time out there!
Fabian handed out a lot of hero cards.
He was a regular celebrity that weekend!
ThunderDrift’s Geoff Pitts was playing “Geoff-Rod, the temporary Voice of Drift Evolution.”
At one point, Justin, Ryan, Joe, and Manny were in a four-car tandem train when Justin spun out. Ryan hit Justin, and Joe hit Ryan. Manny avoided the mess, but the other three cars needed repairs.
Joe gave up on fixing his car, so he switched to photo mode. I can’t believe how relaxed the rules are at this event…
Justin bashed his car back to drivable condition and was back out on the course before too long.
Matt Kaufman was another local guy getting attention.
The parking lot was far from flat. The first turn had a small rise to the outside of it that made it look a little bit like the exit to the Horseshoe at Road Atlanta.
There was an epic party as most of the drivers camped at the track that night. It was seriously on an All Star Bash level of epicness. Fabian’s wheels got stolen (hidden nearby), a car was pushed to the other end of the parking lot and halfway onto the curb and its passed out owner placed in the passenger seat where he eventually woke up horrified at how he could have gotten there, and one of the drivers even caught on fire. For these reasons, there are no photos. Sorry!
Day two was competition day. There were three classes: Beginner, Intermediate, and Tandem. What a lot of work for the judges!
Josh Welch and Craig Alexander had some good tandems.
Speedy and Kyle Stryker had some more.
There were some upsets!
Aaron Chenoweth and Josh got paired up for more awesomeness.
Kyle ended up winning Tandem Class!
After that I had to go home so I could catch my flight to North Carolina the next day! Overall I really really enjoyed this event and I’m happy Medford has something like this going on. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I definitely wasn’t disappointed with what I saw. I’m sure I’ll be back to see it again!