Drift club growing in popularity; following the rules set out

By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer

The Rocky Mountain Drift Club has come a long way in a short time, and is doing its best to be a good neighbour as its numbers and popularity grow.

Recently, the club hosted an event that drew some concerns from airport runway users.

“We rented the runway from the town,” said Jason Toone of the drift club. “Neither the town nor the M.D. had any problems.

“We fulfilled the rental agreement to the letter.”

There was a concern debris was left on the runway.

“I personally walked up and down the runway cleaning up,” Toone said, making sure there was nothing there to hurt an airplane. “We clean up everything.”

There were also concerns the event ran past 7 p.m. and that the Town of Claresholm’s radio for aircraft control was found on its own in a truck on the seat and dialed to the wrong frequency.

“We were off the runway by 7 p.m.,” Toone said. “I had the hand-held radio in my hand all day.”

All of this was part of the rental agreement.

“We adhered to the terms of our rental agreement,” Toone said.

However, he would prefer to talk about the success of the club.

Starting with six people, the Rocky Mountain Drift Club has grown to over 200 drivers plus pit crews, and all the people who come to watch.

“They come from all over Western Canada,” Toone said.

In fact, they come from Victoria to the west and Ontario to the east.

Toone said one driver came more than 4,000 kilometres to participate.

“They all appreciate Claresholm as a community and the support we get from the community and the M.D.,” he said.

Moreover, the drivers travel and contribute to the local economy.

“They stay in town, they all buy fuel in town, they eat in town,” Toone said, adding they also use local parts and welding shops.

“It really is a community,” Toone said. “They know the value of what we have here.”

For example, one driver built his car in Cranbrook and drove it to Claresholm to test it out, because this is one of the only places where a driver can test their car.

Otherwise, they go straight to competition without identifying any potential problems that testing identifies.

Not everywhere a driver can test, fix, and maintain a car in one place.

Toone has observed there is a growing demand out there for motor sports.

However, there are more people who want to participate and less places to compete, making Claresholm that much more attractive and special.

“We appreciate all the support of the community,” he said. “We’re grateful for the opportunity.”

(Please see related story on page two of the printed paper)