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Racers will be drifting into town

Drivers and automobile enthusiasts will descend on Thomson this weekend for Clear to Drift 2.0, the area's second sanctioned drift event.

In June, Josh Galbreath, 26, brought drift racing to Thomson by enlisting the help of Streetwise Drift, an organization based in Charlotte, N.C., that runs drift events on the East Coast.

Together, they organized Clear to Drift, an event to introduce the sport to people in the area.

"People have been responsive about bringing it here," said Josh's mother, Frankie Galbreath, who is helping to organize the event. "It's something new, exciting and different."

Clear to Drift 2.0 will feature more drivers and more activities for attendees, Josh Galbreath said.

It will take place Friday and Saturday at the Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport. Admission is $10 for one day and $15 for two days. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

The event will include two types of racing - drifting and gymkhana - performed by about 60 Pro-Am and amateur drivers.

While the event in June was more of an exhibition, this will be a competition where drivers race for points, Josh Galbreath said.

Drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally over-steers, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels through turns while maintaining vehicle control.

Gymkhana races are time trials that feature obstacles such as cones or tires. The driver must maneuver through the course while performing various techniques, including drifting.

Nearly 2,000 people from across the country attended the event in June. It especially attracts people from the area drift community, which stretches from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach, S.C.

"People that do this don't care where it is," Josh Galbreath said. "They'll come as far as they need to."

This time they're expecting up to 4,000 attendees, Frankie Galbreath said.

"It's great because you see people from all walks of life intermingling," Josh Galbreath said. "The drivers are great with each other, too. It's amazing how these guys help each other."

Food and product vendors will be there all weekend.

Saturday, there will be a car show highlighting imports, exotics and modern cars built specifically for drifting. Also Saturday, children can participate in a Halloween costume contest judged by some of the drivers.

Frankie Galbreath said the event generates a lot of revenue for the community.

Besides being a fundraiser for the Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce and the airport, local businesses benefit as well, she said.

"Most businesses said they haven't had a day this good since Masters Week," Josh Galbreath said.

According to Streetwise Drift's Web site, the group's goal is to grow the sport of drifting by hosting competitions, demos and practice days.

"It's an avenue to help prevent illegal street racing," Frankie Galbreath said.

"Streetwise Drift has an impeccable record. It's a safe environment with the proper safety requirements as far as barriers and medical resources."

Local businesses can sponsor a barrier for $100.

For more information, visit the Thomson Drift Events page on Facebook, e-mail or call (706) 799-6440.

Web posted on Thursday, October 27, 2011

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