In a recent article, “The Misconception of the Car Club“, I discussed the public view of the automotive community.
I mentioned that club gatherings start as a car meet, but eventually grow into family get-togethers. Well, this past weekend I had the fortune of attending Freakmont X, an annual Nissan/Datsun/Infiniti meet in California held by Team Driven. Held at LeMans Karting in Fremont, this meet is the largest Nissan gathering in California. Intended as a grassroots event, it involved a photoshoot, a barbeque, some go-karting, and enjoying each other’s company.
One important thing to note about Freakmont, is that it has a zero-tolerance policy for stupidity and disruptive behavior. Created as a family event, safety is paramount. Many people, in fact bring their children, spouses, and even pets to the event to share the passion with their loved ones. Participants are given a disclaimer before attending the event stating that any act of showboating, loud disruptive behavior, or anything that could endanger the safety of those attending or even the outside public would result in being asked to leave, or possibly even being escorted out by the local police department. Essentially, the point of this event is for friends to gather, and to prove to the public that car enthusiasts and car clubs are not a menace to society. Aside from one accident at Freakmont VIII, the event has had absolutely no issues or confrontations with the law in its 10 year history. In fact, the event has received praise from the city of Fremont for the organization and effort put into it.
Shockingly,the usually large 300zx community did not have a strong showing. Members from ZONC (Z Owners of Northern California) brought twenty-some Nissan 350z, 370z, Infiniti G35 and G37 models. Norcal240, which came early to help set up the event space, represented the drifting community with about 20 240sx’s. Also, a nice collection of Nissan Sentra and Infiniti G20s represented the sportscompact segment. 5 or so oldschool Datsun 510 racecars were present with swapped motors and gutted interiors. Finally, a rare gem of a Nissan Skyline GTR R33 V-Spec owned by the CEO of PhotoShootMyCar.com as well as a brand new Nissan R35 GTR were on site. Forums aside, many regional tuners like San Bruno’s The Shop, San Jose’s Z Car Garage, and Sacramento’s Driven Authority came to support the local club scene with raffle prizes and other services.
Once the majority of people arrived, the attendees huddled around the barbeque waiting for burgers and hot dogs. To further enhance the family atmosphere, Team Driven asked forum members to “register”, in order to get an idea of how many would attend. Every person who registered brought something to share with the others, like a true potluck. Afterwords, many members walked over to the go-karting track for some friendly competition, food in hand. Walking around to the various groups of friends at the event, some tinkered on their vehicles with each other’s help, others watched go-karters battle it out or just chatted about all things automotive and non. A few of members then decided to set off on a cruise to a spot nearby at Lake Elizabeth for photos and fresh air, while some others planned to continue the day by going to someones home for gaming and movies.
Around 5pm, people began cleaning up, ready to leave satisfied from a day out with friends and family. Shop banners and Nissan logos were wrapped up once again, awaiting their next appearance at Freakmont XI. Business cards, forum advertisements, and phone numbers were exchanged. For many, the event was their first time putting a face to a name. For others, the day was just another in a long list of family barbeques. In either case, Freakmont both built and strengthened personal bonds, as well as kept the enthusiast community alive.