Some 650,000 people call Riga, Latvia’s capital and largest city, home.
Full of rich and diverse architecture, Riga also nestles a hidden gem within the city limits…
… Bikernieki Circuit, situated in the east of the city, sits within a huge pine forest.
Built in 1965, in what was then the USSR, the circuit’s tough, somewhat industrial, demeanour is a throwback to its Soviet roots.
Looming tower blocks, concrete walls, rusting steel gantries.
Bikernieki is a tough place through and through.
Unforgiving doesn’t begin to cover it.
A series of tricky, and very fast, bends await those brave enough to take on the circuit.
The fast-approaching walls, unforgiving curbs and dips and bumps do their best to unnerve drivers and throw the cars off balance.
Mix in the high level of competition…
…insane European builds…
…with impeccable attention to detail.
…and seriously talented drivers that compete in Extreme Drift Allstars and you have a recipe for some truly amazing drifting.
Add to that a crazy pre-event procession of said cars through the old streets of the Latvian capital and you have an experience that’s hard to match, or forget.
Forty-plus drift cars drive the 1.5 mile, police-escorted route from the track, right into the heart of the city, stopping life in Riga and grinding the city to a halt.
A cacophony of violent noises reverberate around the city walls.
The low rumble of V8s, high-pitched chirps of compressor stall and the familiar whooshing of boost assaults eardrums.
Differentials clunk their industrial warcry and bumpers scrape, scuff and pound the asphalt.
Exhausts pop and spit, each crack sounding like gunfire.
People rush to their windows and run out of shops and restaurants to see what’s going on.
To the unsuspecting I’d imagine that this is what the end of the world sounds like.
This oral assault quickly becomes an attack on the visual senses as a stream of fully-built drift cars round the corner, escorted by Latvian State Police troopers, their blue lights flashing.
The Extreme Drift Allstars rolling circus has locked down the city of Riga.
Unsuspecting passers-by are rapidly fumble for their smartphones. In this age, social media is king, everyone wants to be the first to show their friends what they’ve just seen.
What better way to attract the people to drifting than to bring drifting to the people?
For the drivers, this unique experience allows them to meet and great fans, sign autographs and talk about their cars.
For the people of Riga, they’ve just got their first experience of this crazy sport that we love.
And for the guys and girls behind Extreme Drift Allstars, they’ve just pulled off one of the best marketing stunts that money can’t buy. Drifting has arrived in Riga, and it’s arrived with a bang.
Our full event report from Extreme Drift Allstars Riga – The Latvian Drift GP is coming to Drifted in a couple of days, and you don’t want to miss this one! In the meantime check out the official Bandana boy x Aatomotion video from day one – Riga baby!
Words & Photos : Jordan Butters
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