If I learned two things from Final Bout, it’s shit happens and the internet ruins just about everything. Being my first drift event outside of my hometown in central Alberta, I was entirely blown away by the caliber of cars competing, and the great attitudes of people there.
Now this part is going to strike some nerves and bring up personal opinions, and that’s ok. I genuinely felt bad for Jake after losing a wheel and essentially destroying his car. Before you get to the “But he was being a douche online! Have you seen his comments? He obviously deserved it” comments, hear me out. No person should ever go through the embarrassment of losing a wheel in front of HUNDREDS of spectators, especially not after putting in that much work to get ready for the event. Now, I’m not defending keyboard warriors here, but I’m willing to bet ninety-nine percent of the people ripping apart the yellow S14 driver have never met him in person, or even dealt with him online. Joining the “lets bash this guy because someone else said so” mob-mentality makes you no better than someone forgetting to torque lugs on their wheel.
Think about it this way: if you spent months preparing for a day of shredding tires with your buddies and just hanging out and hoping to entertain a large crowd, wouldn’t you be pretty pissed at yourself for forgetting something simple like torquing wheels? Especially if it led to a disaster in front of the very crowd that you came to impress?
Lets move on, shall we?
It took three days of driving to make it to this supposedly wicked track outside of Portland. When I arrived, it was very different from what I was expecting. With the amount of excitement leading up to the event, you’d expect some sort of arena-like area with parking for thousands. Instead, I found a quaint go-kart track on the edge of the city. This track wasn’t meant for such a large volume of spectators, and this resulted in most of having to park in a field. As you can tell by the grassy parking lot, this event was grassroots in the most literal sense. But no big deal, because you’re immediately greeted by the sights of vehicles only seen in photos and videos shared around friend circles and social media groups.
The line-up to the event was relatively long, which was awesome to see, just knowing that there are so many like minded people willing to take in some truly fun grassroots drifting. Once past the entrance gate, it was easy to be quickly become overwhelmed. Sights, sounds and smells blasted all of your senses. A quick scan of the pit area and you wouldn’t know where to walk first, with the “star-studded” lineups of Animal Style, Tandem of Die, ShaDynasty, Villains and so many more right in front of you. 3SGEs, 4AGEs, SRs, RBs, 1UZs and other engines were very popular, in stark contrast to the “just LS swap it” pandemic that’s been cluttering the North American drift scene lately.
Once you manage to get a spot along the spectator wall on the first corner, you’re instantly hypnotized by the skill and fluidity of the teams, and the drivers that make up those teams. Never once in my life have I been able to experience anything close to the door to door 2-to-4 car trains that were consistently running the full track of PARC.
Style and talent are highlighted items that Final Bout was hyped up for – and my expectations were shattered. Using the word “Summit” in the slogan for this year’s event couldn’t have fit better. The red 300ZX of team Goldstar is my golden example (pardon the pun): absolutely slammed, supposedly an “impossible” vehicle to drift, and yet he was killing it all day long with the rest of the team.
Another team with a more subtle style, Blackmoon, all sporting super-low, black cars. Although they do look incredibly good sideways…
…they’re not immune to common low-car issues…
Overall, the event was an incredible out-of-town drifting experience for myself, and I would 100% recommend this event to anyone seeking an experience similar to those videos of flashy livery cars running huge tandem trains in Japan, or even those who just want to get a breather from the regular drift practice or gain some hope after watching recent rounds of a certain competitive drifting competition.
“Aura of top teams reach for the summit of Final Bout.” While people might think it’s a slightly odd slogan, it’s entirely fitting for the event. I hope to be out to this event as many times as I can, as it was an absolute blast and I can only see it getting better as time goes on.
Until next time, remember to keep drifting fun and keep those lug nuts on!