Grassroots drifting in the Pacific North West can have it’s challenges. The main one, it would seem, would be the weather. They are more adept at driving and drifting in the rain here more than many other parts of the country. We would have none of those problems in Medford, Oregon for 2 Bash 2 Future.
The sequel to last years Bash 2 the Future event was held for the second year in a row under sunny skies and blazing heat not usually associated with the Pacific Northwest. Medford sits in a mountain valley, not far north of the California border where, because of it’s position in what’s known as a “rain shadow”. Medford is hot and dry and over 90 degrees, for a full 2/3 of the summer. Which makes it feel more like the high desert than a mountain valley paradise. It’s good. Warm dry conditions mean lots of smoke from the always short lived and well punished tires which you find on the back of a drift missile.
And no rain means no mud in the infield of the Jackson County sports complex Kart track, which is the way I prefer it. Mud is awesome when you’re at the spa (I’ve heard), but under and in your boots, not so much.
At least as many cars were here this year as last. Some pretty clean cars, and a few downright ugly ones and that’s not a slight on the car itself, or the owner. It just is what it is, grassroots drifting and it’s widely accepted that, “well, you have to start somewhere”. If you’re going to spend a considerable amount of your time fishing yourself, and ejected parts, out of the weeds and woods your car, if it isn’t already ugly, will get that way eventually. Some even seem to wear it like a badge of honor.
I am always amazed at how much these kids – and I call them kids, because with the exception of maybe one or two 30 somethings as well as my relative age, they really are kids – how much they put into their cars. It’s hot, and the sun is relentless, but here they are rolling around on and under their machines all day, all weekend long. Changing tires, fixing bashed and battered fenders, radiators and bumpers. It’s a constant blur of used to be white tee shirts and dirty pants that are in constant danger of slipping off of the slim waist readily attributed to a Top Ramen diet.
In general it’s a pretty supportive community. Sharing parts and advice is the norm here, and there is rarely a critical word spoken about the guy who finds himself in the weeds on occasion. Unless it happens all flippin’ day, in which case the person is ridiculed quietly and urged, jokingly, to sell their car and find a new hobby immediately upon returning home. But those instances are rare because lets face it, unless your name is Joe Tardiff, you don’t show up on the scene with a natural ability to slide your way around the track without bumping into anything, spinning out, or driving way further off the track than you should have. Exploring the way off track fence-line here is discouraged.
They are here in large numbers for a purpose – to have fun and get their start the only way possible in this sport – by heading out to a local event and bashing their way through the course. All the while failing miserably and spending more money than they have. But then, inexplicably, it clicks. They connect a pair of turns, or three – they find a groove that escaped them a thousand times before. They find a balance between throttle and brake and it all comes together in a magic moment that encourages them to do it again…and again…and then again. Like the most addictive drug, the first taste of success is a treat that fills and warms their body with the confidence to go faster, pull the hand brake harder, and slide farther. Whether you’re the Driver, a friend, family member or even just a spectator – when you see these moments happen, and you see the smiles…the pure joy born from the sting of failure, it is a great and satisfying feeling. One that you will search out again and again.
It doesn’t just happen here in Medford. There is probably a grassroots drift even happening somewhere near you. Go find it – and go get yourself addicted to the joy.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from 2 Bash 2 Future. Click on them…they get bigger. Just don’t steal em’…or, like Liam Neeson, I will find you…
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