by Jon Brown, MERIDIAN, Idaho — Race fans will get exposure to a new kind of thrill Friday night when Idaho Gymkhana slides into ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.
Gymkhana is similar to autocross, but with the kick of drifting.
The racecourses are often complex, and memorizing the layout is a significant part of achieving a fast time.
Timed gymkhana events can feature obstacles such as cones, tires and barrels. The driver must maneuver through the course utilizing many driving techniques including reversals, 180-degree spins, 360-degree spins, parking boxes, figure-8s, and other advanced maneuvers. Drifting the car is encouraged when it is helpful or necessary to notch a fast time.
In short, a gymkhana is any event featuring a starting point, a finish line and one or more “obstacles” through which a driver must get through within a certain time limit.
Idaho Gymkhana is group of enthusiasts looking for way to have fun with their cars legally.
“Providing an avenue for our members to compete in a safe manner on a closed course is really the best part of this.” Jake Wells, one of Idaho Gymkhana’s founding members, said.
“We just got permission from the management at Meridian Speedway to organize an event here. We know the notice is short, but we don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to get things started.”
John Uhl, another founding member, said: “We really want to get some of these cars off the streets. We just want to have a legal avenue to practice these moves without (the danger of other) cars.”
This is the first of what organizers hope will be a number of meets between now and November. If things go well and there is a call for Gymkhana in the Treasure Valley, four or five future dates have been set aside at the Meridian Speedway
So come out and give your car a spin or just come out and enjoy the squeal of the tires with a footlong Speedway dog. The concession stand and the pit-area beer garden will be open.
The gates open at 4 p.m. and racing begins at 6:30 p.m. The finals will be run under the lights.
The car and driver fee is $30, which includes a pit pass.
General admission is $3 for all ages with children 6 and younger getting in free.
All cars are welcome to compete, as long as they meet the minimum specifications.
There are several requirements prospective drivers must meet in order to take part Friday:
• They must be at least 14 years old, and drivers ages 14 to 17 must have a parental consent form completed and on file at the Meridian Speedway office prior to track time.
• All drivers must acquire a pit pass and read and sign the Waiver and Release of Liability.
The minimum safety specifications include:
• Helmet snell95 or SA95 or M2005 or better
• OEM lap belt and shoulder harness (aftermarket belts must be mounted per manufacture recommendation)
• Cars that leak or spew any fluids will not be allowed
• A radiator overflow catch can is mandatory. Properly functioning factory components are approved.
• Secure battery tiedown with positive cable cover.
• Studded tires are not approved, no belts showing