Once a year at Raceway Park in Englishtown New Jersey, the guys from Club Loose put on the biggest and best grassroots drifting event of the year called The East Coast Bash. It's a weekend filled with friends,sunshine, booze, and some of the best drifting on the East Coast. I've covered every single ECB since the very first one back in 2008 and this by far has been the best one ever! Speedhunters asked me to do a guest blog about my experience this past weekend and I couldn't pass it up. Since, I had such a great time taking photos and hanging out with everyone. I couldn't say "no" about sharing my experience with you Speedhunter readers!
As soon as I entered the pit area Saturday morning, I was greeted by blue skies and this matching S14.
This year's ECB saw the biggest driver turnout. One hundred and five guys signed up to to attack the road course! They always schedule this event a week before or a week after Formula Drift at Wall, New Jersey. Chris Forsberg and Tony Angelo were on hand not only to get their picture taken, but to have some fun with their missile cars as well.
I got out on the track after the driver's meeting and things went into full blast. I had been waiting for this moment all year long! The East Coast Bash had officially begun.
The tire smoke was in the air and the little pieces of tire were already sticking to my skin as car after car flew past me sideways. This is Lee Alexander. Not only is he awesome behind the wheel, but the guy can turn out some serious fabrication work.
There were quite a few XDC drivers out this past weekend staying sharp for the upcoming competition. Mark Manansala was destroying tires all afternoon and making it look pretty easy!
On my way to the driver's meeting, I ran into Rob McAllister who I thought had the best mustache of the weekend.
This is Matt Petty. I don't really know what his voice sounds like without a bull horn. He always has the most inspirational and humorous pep talks with the drivers. His meetings usually end with something like "Don't do anything stupid, but have fun out there or I will kill you with hurricane-like force! Now let's go drifting!!"
Another XDC driver, Nate Hamilton made the trek all the way from Texas to whip his LS powered beast around…
…and looked amazing on every pass!
"Rapper" Dan Savage was shaking down his Sikky LS powered S13. Dan was going so fast, the colors of his car couldn't keep up with him and were getting lost in the smoke.
There were so many S-chassis around all weekend. It was refreshing to see a Toyota Cressida out there sliding around. This guy came all the way from Wisconsin to tear up the track at Englishtown. The few times I've seen a Cressida drifting, they are usually beat up and haggard looking. This one is clean and beautiful!
Pennsylvania native and last year's DMCC champ Matt Waldin was putting down some pretty intense runs all day Saturday.
There were quite a few 350 Z's out there. Ed Tini was rattling ear drums…
…while James Evans was making ears bleed with his V8 Sikky 350Z.
The bank on the road course at Englishtown can be pretty intimidating –it's all or nothing. Some of the more experienced/fearless guys will attack the bank with the pedal dropped at full throttle. Here's Mark Manansala to show you how it's done.
As a drift obsessed photographer, I've always hunted the elusive "dirt drop". How I always long to capture these shots. You see them with your eyes, but it can be like trying to take a picture of lightning. It happens so quick that sometimes it's just a matter of timing and luck. Plus it's not drifting if you get a wheel or two off the ground every once and a while, right?
One of the most jaw dropping things that takes place at the ECB is the insane number of cars running together and sometimes "oh so close". I think at one point there may have been about 20 plus cars hot lapping non-stop around the entire track.
Words and photos cannot describe how awesome it is seeing this level of skill on a track. You really have to see it first hand.
James and Lee out for an evening drive.
I started to get a little bored using my Paparazzi lens, so I decided to break out the ultra-wide angle lens and get a little more creative.
Wide angle Cressida!!
The sun was starting to set Saturday evening and "Kodak Moments" were in the air. There's something about a nice sunset at a drift event that brings couples closer.
The sun finally went down, so John Wagner broke out his night vision goggles.
All driver groups hit the track for some night sessions. The sunglasses came off and the head lights came on. It was time to shred under the track lights. I left a little early Saturday night in favor of Air Conditioning, a fresh change of clothes, and a shower. I wanted to be well rested for another day of action.
When I came back Sunday morning for day two, I clearly escaped some drunken shenanigans the night before!
I was the first one on the track Sunday morning. Matt Petty was already out there giving Moped rides and getting a little "fresh".
Sunday brought more drivers and different cars.
Yes, it's a Saabaru!! It's a real car –Google it.
The guys from Drift Faction brought a few of there cars out…
…all of which had some "stance"!
I can't see through the visors on the helmets, but I'm pretty sure that's Tony Angelo and Chris Forsberg in there. Chris had some engine problems with his missile the night before, so he got to ride shotgun and borrow some friend's cars for the day.
The East Coast Bash isn't about competition, trophies or rivalries –it's all about having fun, sliding cars…
…and hanging out with your friends.
People came from all over the United States to drive or spectate at The East Coast Bash –these guys came all the way from Puerto Rico to hang out with their friend Willie and see the best grassroots drift event on the East Coast. There was so much more that happened that I'm sure I missed. I wish I could have been everywhere at once! I have so many more photos from the weekend but I'm afraid I may be out of room here. You'll have to try to make it out to a Club Loose event in New Jersey or wait until next year's ECB. It is the most fun you could ever have at a drift event!
Check out ClubLoose.com for more info.