Special to Black Press
The 3/8-mile Black Creek oval hosted 35 drifters from across the Island for a fun afternoon and evening Saturday, June 18, featuring skillful drift-car drivers taming raw power with artful finesse.
Drifting as a sport has been around for some time and having a safe contained environment to compete means a lot to the many enthusiasts whose passion for on the edge four-wheeled vectored locomotion is undeniable!
Saratoga Speedway veteran Bomber car racer and retired RCAF navigator Brian Baltis of Courtenay took a leap of faith several years ago becoming hooked on the idea of going sideways at speed. In a carefully calculated and juried choreograph of throttle, e-brake and counter-steer; unleashing a few hundred horsepower while wheeling a few-thousand pounds of steel in tandem separated by mere inches towards a calculated side-by-side brush with a concrete wall is the thrill he’s craving. Baltis said he’s “keeping an eye on the resurging and competitive Bomber class” now sponsored by Courtenay’s Ace Brewing, but he’s not ready for a return yet considering the “thrill and satisfaction” that drifting provides.
“Capital Drift” of Victoria is the Island’s premiere authority on drifting and is well known in the greater Pacific Northwest drifting community. This widely respected and enthusiastic group of car builders and drivers have all the bases covered from training to competition as well a production team who produce thrilling spectacles regularly at both the soon to be closed Westshore Speedway in Langford as well as here in the Comox valley at Saratoga Motorsports Park.
This weekend’s $750 purse was contested to the final lap when the toll of intense competition became too much for Mika Leong’s V-8 powered BMW during the final head-to-head battle of the night. The crowd-favourite high-powered racecar lost its all-important “E” brake causing Leong to be unable to safely navigate the side-by side competitive race, giving Quinten Erikson of Victoria the top podium position. Leong took a healthy second place prize of $500 and Mathew Wasilenkoff earned the final podium position and a $350 payday.
Fuelling fun since 1969, Saratoga Speedway joins Comox Rentals and Recreation next weekend to present the first of two planned Crash to Pass “Boat Races,” while the Canada Day weekend will bring the first of two top-tier pure racing doubleheader weekends: “The Battle at Black Creek” late model races, followed by the “Quinsam Sprint Car Classic,” which is Round 3 of the new Arbutus RV-sponsored “Northwest Sprint Car Tour.”
Tickets are going fast for all of these popular competitions. To reserve seats go to www.saratogaracing.ca
Pat Monsigneur is the general manager of Saratoga Motorsports Park