The title should have read tackling a mountain pass in…
Once again Club Loose does not disappoint, putting together such a huge event takes a whole lot of skill, and the guys at Club Loose do it phenomenally. If you’re unfamiliar with drifting, what it is and how the competitive side of things works, well, you may want to take a look at least years article. One of my favorite parts of ECB, and, well, all the Club Loose events is how much of a community has spawned around what they all call “The Greatest Place On Earth.” Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ. East Coast Bash isn’t about competition, it’s not a Formula Drift nor a US Drift event. It’s about honing skills, learning new ones, and a weekend with friends and family. Veteran drivers and newbies alike come out to the event, it’s hard to miss all the US Drift vinyl on many of the car’s wind shields and, while you may miss the likes of Chris Forsberg and other FD drivers, they do tend to make an appearance, where many of them all started out, usually in lower power (and profile) cars.
Anyone heading out to Raceway Park, for ECB or any other Club Loose event will find a large field of cars (an enormous field for ECB and their other large events). For drivers, it’s an excellent place to learn, the three different groups all get equal amount of time on the track, with time in between to fix, tune, or re-break their cars in between runs. For media, it’s a very long day(s), having to choose between missing runs and being able to get a lunch break can be a hard one, unless someone breaks down, or looses a bumper, the track is only cold for a few precious moments between groups. While the day can be exhausting there’s an almost limitless chance for honing skills, whether driving, shooting stills, or filming.
There’s an incredibly tight knit community around each of the Club Loose events. Newer riders can gain tips from the veterans. And there’s always someone willing to lend a hand with a repair, or help passing tech first thing in the morning.
I had the good fortune of meeting up with Life Blaster’s Matt Campbell with whom I spent most of the day Saturday shooting and there was a brief appearance of Jalopnik’s Raphael Orlove as well. The little bit of time I had off the track I spent hanging out under the Broken Motorsport’s tent with Bill Petrow and Ryan Symancek the current record holders for the fastest driver and co-driver of a 2WD car up Mount Washington, both are awesome guys, and excellent drivers.
On the track, I shared the bunkers and ‘media zones’ with some 60+ other media guys (and gals). The huge numbers made shooting difficult especially when the ‘A’ group drivers were out on course. Despite the mass media, the Club Loose organizers have got the best places set up along the course to keep media safe and get them in the right places for the best shots. And after the event, there’s plenty of useful critiques given to help all of us media folk to get better for next time.
Putting on event this size, and making it run so smooth is incredible. Despite a few hiccups, and the usual issues with cars breaking down on track, the event is a well oiled machine. On track the organizers are a strict bunch and do a great job of making sure everyone is safe and following the rules to keep them that way, off the track they’re a great group guys that love the sport and will help out however possible.
Those of you that know me, or read my articles know I’m all about rally. To be honest, track days are hard for me, there’s only so many corners, only so many places to stand and a full weekend of shooting cars on the same stretch of track is usually a tedious task for me. But Club Loose makes it pretty easy, they’ve put together, and continue to put together, fantastic events with an excellent atmosphere. I enjoy every minute I’m out on their track shooting, with such a huge number of cars, there’s always some new car to shoot, or some new camera settings to try. I’m by no means a great drifting photographer, but at Club Loose I get plenty of opportunities and suggestions to get better each event. The organizer’s involvement in helping that process is invaluable, and always much appreciated, even when the critiques are hard to hear.
Keep an eye on the Club Loose schedule, there’s tons of awesome events all summer and fall long. They never seem to disappoint, so I’ll hopefully see you all out there again soon.