SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (Mar. 1, 2022) -- Teenager Riley Hansen, a skilled drifter with 1.5 million followers on the TikTok social media platform, will be among the participants when South Boston Speedway hosts the SoBo Drifts presented by Barlow’s Tire, on Saturday, March 5.
Hansen’s massive following on TikTok stems from his videos on drifting and posts showing him, his father Steven Hansen, and mother Amy Gautier, living in a school building – the former Wilson Memorial Elementary School located in the Vernon Hill community of Halifax County, Virginia.
The family has lived in the school for almost five years. Prior to that, the family owned and lived in the former Volens Elementary School building and the former Clover Elementary School building, both of which are located in Halifax County, Virginia.
“The big reason I have as many followers as I do is the fact of my being so young, one of the youngest drifters in the U.S.,” Hansen explained.
“It is very rare to see people under the age of 18 drifting. The majority of my daily content is about drifting and cars.
“The videos I post are a mix between the drifting and school videos,” continued Hansen.
“I have been on just about every major news platform from Buzzfeed to Yahoo, and several others. I try to teach everybody in my videos how to get into drifting, how to build their own cars and how to do everything themselves. I’m very hands-on. I don’t like to pay people to do stuff for me. I teach everybody how to do things for themselves.”
Hansen points out drifting is his full-time job.
“I’m doing this as a full-time career,” he said. “The plan is to continue doing this, and I’m going to start getting competitive with it and going to various competitive events.”
The young Vernon Hill, Virginia resident says he is very glad to see South Boston Speedway hosting Saturday’s SoBo Drifts presented by Barlow’s Tire.
“South Boston Speedway is right in my back yard, and I love drifting,” Hansen remarked.
“Most of the time I’m traveling two to four hours to an event. Once I drove 26 hours to an event in New Mexico. It’s great to be able to participate in an event close to home.”
Hansen will be wheeling an orange 1990 Mazda Miata with a 1.6-liter engine that he has turbocharged in Saturday’s drifting event at South Boston Speedway. His goal for Saturday’s event is simple.
“At events like this I mostly look to widen my lines, be a better driver and be a lot more consistent,” Hansen explained.
“The main purpose is to just go out and have fun. The way to get better in drifting is to get more seat time so you can learn and improve. Participating in an event like this at South Boston Speedway is a good way to get seat time and learn, but it’s also fun at the same time.”
Drifting, Hansen says, is a unique form of motorsports.
“A lot of people think of drifting as a race – who can get from Point A to Point B faster,” Hansen pointed out.
“Drifting isn’t about getting from Point A to Point B faster, it’s about getting there with the most style and being as flashy as possible. The more smoke, the more flame, the wider your line is and the more you are on the wall the better.”
Hansen has been involved in drifting in some manner for several years.
“I’ve been involved in drifting for two years in real life,” Hansen said.
“I’ve been doing what is called Sim Drifting for five to six years. I used to be very big into aviation and slowly started turning to cars. I got my own motion racing simulator rig which was much like a real car to start playing online. It’s virtual and the (driving) physics feel really good. That’s the reason I know how to drive today.”
South Boston Speedway is hosting Saturday’s SoBo Drifts presented by Barlow’s Tire “open-house style.” Admission for spectators is $10 for adults with children ages 12 and under being admitted free when accompanied by a paid adult.
Tickets will be sold only at the gate on the day of the event. Food will be available during the event.
Spectators may view the event from the speedway’s trackside tailgating areas and the lawn chair seating areas in turns three and four. Individuals are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs as a majority of the grandstand areas will be closed.
Saturday’s schedule has spectator gates opening at 9:45 a.m. with the first drifting session scheduled from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Following a break from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., a second drifting session will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. A drifting session on the oval track will be held from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., after which the day’s event will end.