Sideshows have grown out of the Bay Area and become a feature all across America. The practice of stopping traffic in intersections and on major freeways to roast tires is not only inconvenient, it’s dangerous. While some cities are cracking down hard on the practice others, like Detroit, are providing a “safe” space for drivers and audience members to enjoy some tire-burning excitement.
Of course, hooning it up in an empty lot with crowds of people mere feet away from vehicles driven by amateurs isn’t the safest mix.
This video shows the second meeting of a now weekly event known as Sunday Funday, where enthusiasts show off their moves for the crowds and the cameras. I’ll get this out of the way right now: This looks fun as shit and just the kind of rowdy Sunday afternoon that makes this city great. However, there is plenty of reason to be concerned. This may seem super illegal, but the event spot was sanctioned by Detroit Police Chief James Craig. Craig told WXYZ back in January that his office was working with drivers to find an acceptable safe spot to throw down some tasty doughnuts:
“When you really think about it, what makes it criminal if it’s done in a safe way, in a safe location,” said Detroit Police Chief James Craig about drivers who do anything from doughnuts and 360s to what’s called sliding and drifting.
Chief Craig is now working on an agreement with a group of drivers aimed at getting those who cause shutdowns on freeways and major intersections to stop. “It really is about safety. We want to work very quickly to find a place where they can have an opportunity to drift, certainly, in a safe way.”
“It’s a mutual agreement. We’re tired of running and tired of them chasing us,” said Daryl Hairston of Tripmode Active, a part of what’s known as the drifting movement. Drifting is a technique drivers use to force their cars into a slide.
Craig pointed out that not a single shooting has happened at one of these sideshows, which may reveal just how low the bar is in Detroit in terms of public safety. Police and enthusiasts came to an agreement and Sunday Fundays are held on private property on Detroit’s east side.
The most recent Sunday Funday included doughnuts, drifting, and sliding. There was also a near-miss for a pit boss and a strike on an observer. The event was halted for half an hour and then resumed once it was clear that the struck individual was uninjured.
Police told ClickOnDetroit that audience members are not allowed inside the pit, but at a barely legal and hardly regulated event crowded by spectators and performed by amateurs, the rules get bent. Such a close call might have put the kibosh on further events but, according to organisers and police, the real need is actually a larger space.
“With these bigger properties, the pits are bigger. It’s going to allow people to spread out even more than it was,” Detroit SideShows organiser Tommie Mahone told ClickOnDetroit. “This right here is going to put Detroit on the map, nationwide. My motto right now is ‘Cali started it and Detroit is going to finish it.’”
Hopefully, Detroit finishes it on a high note, rather than with injuries or death. The city is not alone in trying to shunt stunt drivers on to safer (relatively) spaces rather than spend man hours hunting down participants. Craig got the idea from Sacramento and Kansas City, which have also provided hooning spots for former sideshow drivers.
I’m not sure if sanctioning sideshows is good for the city or not, that is above my pay grade. All I know is that I want to go, but I’ve seen how Detroiters drive during their commutes and I barely trust them to stay in their lanes. I may sit this one out.