The style of drifting | Off the Cuff

By Jenny Murphy | Aug 26, 2019

While this “fashion” column was being conceived, I had a delightful conversation with Beacon publisher Paul Archipley about my goals ... and his for Off the Cuff articles to come.

Bringing style tips, updates, and new ideas to the Beacon’s female readership, while increasing awareness of the strong fashion presence we have in our downtown area, was forefront in my mind.

Paul agreed, but also urged me to somehow open up the column to men in order to increase overall readership. Hmm? I hadn’t thought about bringing a message to men but, as usual, once I expanded the sides of my box ... voila!

It wasn’t long before I was applying style to more than fashion, and that’s when this article “took to the track,” the local Evergreen Raceway, to be exact.

My dear Norwegian friends, Rigmor and Tom, who visit here every summer, invited me to attend my second Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship (the 16th year of competition) on a recent summer Saturday in Monroe.

My first exposure to Formula DRIFT was last summer, and I was eager to be a spectator again. You see, Rigmor and Tom are very proud of the 2015 Pro Champion Norwegian driver, Fredric Aasbo, known as the Norwegian Hammer, and follow him closely.

As of this publication, Fredric leads the 2019 FD Pro Standings by just one point. He drifts with such style, and is one heck of a sportsman.

At this point you might be asking … what is drifting? And what does it have to do with style? Drifting, according to Top Speed, is an “extreme” sport, and according to DriveTribe, it is “the practice of sliding a rear-wheel-drive car through a corner, or series of corners.”

Unlike other motor sports, it doesn’t matter who finishes in the fastest time. Ultimately, it’s a driving technique judged on speed, line, angle, and style, with a lot of tire changes and smoke. It’s fingernail-biting exciting.

Currently, 60 international drivers compete in an eight-round championship played out at racetracks across the states. At the beginning of each competition, drivers perform solo in order to qualify for subsequent rounds. Round two consists of 16 driver pairs, a lead car and a chaser car per pair, sliding around the corners together.

The closer the sliding cars are to one another, the higher the score. The field then narrows to eight qualifying pairs, and so on, until a winner is pronounced.

And what does all this have to do with style? Absolutely everything, when I step away from clothing and define style as simply a manner of doing something. As I already mentioned, each Formula DRIFT driver is judged partly on his driving style, his ability to take all of the judges’ criteria and translate them into his own individual “style” on the track.

Are his transitions aggressive and fast? Does he maintain maximum angle along all clipping points? Does he achieve prolonged proximity to the lead vehicle, and does he maintain constant speed?

More importantly, however, and what really caught my attention, was the style of the sport of drifting in general. I was amazed at the sportsmanship I witnessed among these gladiators. Usually 60 young guys with fast cars burning rubber on a racetrack simply produce a lot of testosterone and chest thumping.

These FD guys, on the other hand, all rooted for one another to win, and Fredric even apologized on the field’s big screen in front of thousands after he made a mistake, resulting in a minor collision.

They all held their heads high despite the outcome, and it was apparent they were all promoting their sport and were part of the drifting family. I came home from the raceway that day feeling like the world was a pretty good place to hang out.

So what have I been driving home here?

That this article has nothing to do with fashion, but everything to do with style. We all have our own style, and all have the opportunity to be phenomenal “drivers” in this life. I don’t know about you, but I can always use a little extra horsepower when it comes to navigating the curves life throws at me.

This time, I was fortunate to be reminded of that at the racetrack.

Hope this article finds you on track and living your life with style.

Off the Cuff is a monthly casual review of fashion styles, attitudes and trends by Jenny Murphy, owner of Sound Styles in Edmonds.


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