It looks like commandeering local kart tracks and turning them into drifting venues is an actual thing. Locally, they've been doing it every Thursday night at Adams Motorsports Park in Riverside for some time now. We can add Grange Motor Circuit - a facility that seems to be literally in the middle of the Apple Valley desert - to that short list, site of DriftKnuckles.com's 2015 Drift Buffet.
We've karted at Grange before but had no idea the course could accommodate full-sized cars, much less fishtailing vehicles whipping around its curves. For the smokin' deal of 80 bucks drivers got a full day at the circuit, with entries capped at 15 am drivers and a number of pros that showed up with backup/missile cars, including Jeff Jones, Eric Hill and Karl Osaki. It seemed like half the field was Mazda - FC, FD, and Miata - and many of the drivers were handing out ride-alongs to boot (thank you, drivers!)
This was actually the first Drift Buffet event in some seven or so years. The drift days evolved from a Southern California-based team called Land Ho! and their private practice sessions; those outings eventually became Land Ho amateur drift competitions, held at Willow Springs International Raceway's Balcony. In 2004, team members Terry Henderson, Brian Reilly and Matt Monaco went on to create Drift Buffet LLC to make their events legit.
In 2005 and 2006, Drift Buffet was tapped to manage D1 USA events, and after that Henderson and Reilly continued to run their grassroots organization, putting on amateur events at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino. DriftKnuckles.com's Bryan Rogers joined the crew at this point, heading up course management and tech, as well as serving as lead instructor for practice days. The series gave rise to the likes of pros Pat Mordaunt (who ran DB before he was even old enough to have a drivers license), Matt Powers, Jeff Abbot, Jeff Jones and Ryan Litteral, among others.
Around 2007 Henderson traveled to China to help manage the World Drift Series and has since stayed; Reilly retired; and Rogers went on to found Drift Knuckles, as well as put in time at JIC Magic USA and Banks Power. It was Rogers who dusted off the name and decided to put it on the Grange event, and it far exceeded his expectations.
In fact, Rogers is now inspired to continue running the revived Drift Buffet. He seems committed to do more events, including incorporating a team tandem competition (a la Final Bout) and possibly returning to the National Orange Show grounds. We say bring them on! If they're anything like the Drift Buffet we just attended, they're going to be a blast - but don't take our word for it. Peep the photos to see what you missed.