Drift Indy’s taking it to the mountain.
It’s been a complicated, long process, but it’s finally culminated in what I believe is the first official, sanctioned touge drift event on a real mountain road in the US. Drift Indy has worked with Backroads of Appalachia to establish the first Drift Appalachia event in Southeastern Kentucky, and it’s shaping up to be rad as hell.
The way it all came to be is pretty interesting; Drift Indy staff member and Team Breaking driver Derek King played a huge role in making this all happen.
Derek’s a great ambassador for Drift Indy and for drifting in general. He’s a grip dude too, competing in hill climbs and time trials here and there.
Flash back to a Pine Mountain Hill Climb that he was running, and he drew the interest of Erik Hubbard, one of the organizers. Derek said Erik was looking through the driver list, checking out their social media and stuff, when he saw Derek’s a drift guy.
Turns out Erik’s all about drifting! He hit Derek up about the potential to run a touge event in the Appalachian mountains.
Touge (峠, tōge) word literally meaning “pass.” It refers to a mountain pass or any of the narrow, winding roads that can be found in and around the mountains of Japan and other geographically similar areas on every part of our lovely globe.
Erik’s the executive director of Backroads of Appalachia. Their website’s “About Us” section reads: “Through motorsports-focused tourism, we work to drive economic development, job training, and opportunity in the impoverished areas of Appalachia.”
After that initial off-hand discussion about the touge, Erik kept in touch with Derek, mentioning the idea again and again until Derek brought the idea to Drift Indy’s Edgar Sarmiento, and from there it really started to take shape. Early this year Derek and Edgar traveled down to Kentucky to scout some spots that both the touge and an edition of our popular Drift Indy Street League competition series could be held.
The Corbin Arena was selected as the spot to host DISL Volume 10. Some of the best grassroots drifters in the midwest will travel down to compete in the first DISL volume not to be held at Kil-kare up in Xenia, OH. Friday night, ahead of the Saturday competition, drivers are getting a police-escorted cruise to downtown to park around Corbin’s courthouse and display their rides.
Drift Indy’s no stranger to hosting events at different tracks, but this will be our first road trip in a while.
The way I see it, it’s a pretty sweet deal both ways. It’s going to be a special experience for our DISL drivers and the tight, invite-only list of drivers getting to drive the touge and the city of Corbin is getting a little mid-summer tourism bump from our well-established community of drivers, friends and spectators.
Since this touge is a first-of-its-kind event, we’re being really, really careful. A small driver list, hand-selected media personnel and no spectators will helpfully keep this event safe and running smooth, with the potential to open things up a little bit more for future events.
The actual road that we’re going to use is being kept under wraps, again with the goal of safety and security. The basic info, though, is that it’s about a quarter-mile long with three main turns that will be drifted. The road will be closed for an hour at a time, during which drivers will get to run both the uphill and the downhill.
Friday, August 18 Corbin, KY will welcome the Drift Indy community for our roll-in and cruise to downtown, Saturday we’ll see who ends up on the top step of the podium for the final DISL volume of the year and, finally, Sunday will see some of our best drivers take to a mountain road for the first-of-its-kind touge.
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On a personal note: I grew up in this area, about an hour north of Corbin. I’m no hill-climber and I’m still working on my first drift build, but I learned to drive on roads like this in high school. I put a lot of miles on my little Scion tC on those roads, learning to heel-toe and imagining I was some kind of road racer. I never dreamed I’d get to see a real drift event on the streets down in my neck of the woods, but I’m damn excited that it’s going to happen and proud as hell to be a member of the team that’s making it happen.