The 2013 edition of Focus Rising was bigger and better than ever before. With heavy rain blanketing central Pennsylvania all day Friday, the weekend started out a little shaky. The kick-off events began Friday, and despite the forecast, a score of attendees made the short trip over to McNew’s Automotive for what has become an annual afternoon dyno day. Jeremy Gillings in his Sonic Blue SVT made an incredible 426hp, setting a new benchmark for future Focus Rising dyno participants. The dragstrip action scheduled for later in the day at Quarter Aces Drag-o-way in Carlisle had to be called off because of the inclement weather. Instead, most attendees chose to hunker down and congregate at home base, which again this year was the Quality Inn Carlisle.
Saturday morning brought anticipation and excitement in what has become another Focus Rising tradition; the caravan from the hotel to the showfield departed as the customary Carlisle show traffic started to build. This year, Focus Rising’s portion of the fairgrounds were front and center and not tucked away on a hill or miles from the main gate. Every model of Focus (and Fiesta) was well represented, including a great showing by the newest-gen small Fords -- proof that enthusiasts are putting their money where their mouths are. Over twenty focus STs filled the far side of the Focus Rising area, a great showing for STs and one that will no doubt grow with the release of the Fiesta ST later this year.
Early afternoon brought plentiful sun and warming temperatures that burned off the early clouds and contributed to more than one case of sunburn. It was another typical All Ford Nationals: thousands of amazing Fords, many examples of which you may never again see in person. To add to the festivities, there were test drives of 2013 models, burnout and beauty contests, and acres of metal to gawk at and drool over. Ford pulled out all the stops at their huge display, parking not only a brand new blue Fiesta ST but also an Ultimate Green mk2 Focus RS, providing a great sign of support for all the hot hatch fans on this side of the Atlantic.
The Carlisle Hotel was the epicenter of Saturday night’s activities. The lowcus limbo, awards ceremony and an impromptu trivia contest were all held before the sun went down but were just the start of what would be a long night of talking shop and chatting with friends both old and new. There were parking lot installs and some ride-alongs in a brand new, Gumby-green Fiesta ST. Lots of pizza, cookies and drinks were consumed. It was epic.
Sunday was the day the Foci and Fiestas proved themselves on track, and the autocross was well-represented with small Fords. Impressive times were laid down, and a touch of smack talking will no doubt continue through to next year’s AFN. Sunday morning was also a proud time for Focus Rising, as we again snagged the award for the club with the most attendees. One hundred and eleven is an incredible number, and beating it in 2014 will take some serious commitment.
With that said, 2013’s edition was bigger and better than ever before. New event coordinators Ron Myers and Jason Hodges have built on the tremendous work done by Ken Appell, the previous years’ organizer. Focus Rising is in good hands, and with Ford’s renewed interest in small performance cars, the event seems fit to explode in upcoming years.
Focaljet would like to thank all of the sponsors listed below for their support of this year's event, as well as a special thank you to the gang at FSWerks for being this year's Presenting Sponsor.