3 more ‘drifting’ events OK’d for stadium
Racers have taken to the roads, so a new track is being studied
Motorsports enthusiasts are rejoicing with three more drifting events approved at the Aloha Stadium yesterday.
And on Wednesday, a bill to study the cost of developing a racetrack moved forward in the Senate.
"Now with us getting more dates, it only helps the momentum we've started," said Tracy Arakaki, president of Punish'UM Motorsports, who will host the events. "It does seem like light at the end of the tunnel."
Since the Hawaii Raceway Park closed in April last year, there have been reports of increased racing and drifting in the streets, including in a sleepy Temple Valley neighborhood.
More events means more legal means for drivers to indulge in their sport, Arakaki said. But the Aloha Stadium events have met some resistance from area residents who complained about the noise.
Drifting is a type of motorsport that involves oversteering and sliding through turns in a controlled skid. That means revving engines and screeching, and burning tires around the stadium parking lot.
"I live in the area, and just recently they had a carnival in the stadium," Arakaki said. "The noise will always be a concern, so we moved the events out of people's quiet time like during dinner."
Rather than the events lasting until 9 p.m., the events will go from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Punish'UM Drift Series competitions are tentatively scheduled for July, September and November.
The Aloha Stadium board also expressed concerns about tire markings on the parking lot, but event organizers pledged to hire contractors to remove the markings afterward.
On Wednesday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee passed House Bill 567, which requires the state Accounting and General Services Department to study the cost of developing a motor sports facility on Oahu. The bill also authorizes the department to consider the temporary acquisition of land for a short-term facility.
"A good analogy is skate parks," said Les Vallarano, 45, and a member of Save Oahu's Race Track. "With more skate parks cropping up, there are less skaters out in the shopping malls and schools."
Residents of Hui Iwa Street in Kahaluu have complained of drifting happening as late as 3 a.m. Richard Torres, deputy director of the city Transportation Services Department, said the city will be restriping the area to narrow the lanes.
The request came from the Kahaluu Neighborhood Board. Board Chairman George Okuda said the board recommended speed bumps or installing a median, but some residents complained it would be unsightly.
But Vallarano said simply restriping lanes wouldn't deter drifting. Torres admitted even if restriping did work, it would only push drivers to other areas.
The ultimate solution, Arakaki said, would be a raceway park. For now, he is glad he can offer three more chances for drifters to come together.