British Drift Championship (pro) Rd.2

British Drift Championship (pro) Rd.2

Silverstone hosted round 2 of the British Drift Championship on Sunday 23rd May. The drifting was running as part of the Japanese Tuning Show (more on that later). I was especially enthusiastic to see the drifting due to the track changes at the circuit. The drifting took place on the Brooklands/Luffield/Woodcote complex. Brooklands has been opened up during the recent circuit developments, creating a faster, wider corner. Before the event, the BDC organisers were predicting entry speeds of 100 mph, a pretty serious prospect when at this point, and speed one of the techniques to initiate a drift is to simply yank the handbrake. Oh yes, I HAD to see this.

The pro field offered a great mix of machinery. From Mk2 Ford Escorts and classic Toyota Starlets via a host of Nissan Silvias and a Toyta Supra, reported to be running 700 bhp. There was a clear gap between the tops guys and ‘the rest’, but that can be said of most motorsports. Throughout the day, the qualifying sessions whittled down the 40 or so drivers down to the top 16.

The top 16 battles (pairs of cars drifting together to nick points off each other) were thrilling to behold. The judges award a split of the points based on the drivers sticking to the lines and clipping points as instructed, but also on speed, angle, noise and of course, smoke. Every so often, one of the competitors would hit the perfect drift, a full 90 degrees to the corner, on full lock, but also on full power. Amazing precision and aggression. In one of his qualifying runs, Phil Morrison from Driftworks put the car so side ways at Brooklands that he entered the corner facing backwards, but he kept his foot in and achieved an incredible score. Vid here: http://vimeo.com/11972299

The battles between the differing cars was fascinating too. Declan Munnelly in the green Mk 2 got some impressive scalps, despite having ‘only’ about 250 bhp. When he came up against Shane Lynch, yes, him out of Boyzone’s Twin Turbo V8 powered Nissan however, his plucky run came to an end. Declan is always a crowd pleaser and was managing some insane angles all day, he eventually shared 3 place with Phil Morrison.

The end result was a 1-2 for Team Japspeed, both in S15 Silvias. The winner was Danny Eyles with the runner up, Shane Lynch a close 2nd. It was an afternoon of incredible action, I can’t recommend drifting highly enough. No it’s not for everyone, but it might be for you.

It’s a shame that the event was marred by a few other factors though. Crowd attendance was appalling, probably down to Japfest being held at Castle Combe only a week before and the fact that the tickets weren’t exactly cheap at £20 on the gate. The actual JTS show was very small, which after being billed as having ‘1000s of cars’ on show was particularly disappointing. There wouldn’t have been 1000s of cars if you’d included those in Silverstone village as well. While the car displays were small, there was a few gems hidden amongst them, but if it hadn’t been for the drifting, there wouldn’t really have been much reason to bother.

The other, main problem was the scheduling. The drifting finals were timetabled for between 4-6pm, so a 2 hr slot. They started pretty much on time but soon delays started to creep in with mechanical issues etc. The BDC have a ‘five minute rule’ whereby if a car isn’t at its start point within 5 minutes of its allotted time then it’s disqualified, a rule which works well.

However, it didn’t work well enough as before the 3rd place run off and the final battle could be run, 6pm struck and all track activity had to stop. They sent through Danny and Shane on one run to decide the final result (they’d normally do 2 runs, taking it in turns to lead). Declan and Phil had to share 3rd place as they didn’t even get a run. This was a disappointing end to the day, and one which needn’t have happened. I can’t understand the logic of running the feature event at the end of the timetable, meaning that any delays are likely to impact the main reason for the spectators attending. It’s lead to a bit of ill feeling amongst the fans, which is fair enough. That said, noise limits and curfews are there for a reason and must be adhered to . I’ve heard stories that in the past the circuit once broke the 6pm curfew by only 6 mins but was fined £45,000 for it. Why oh why wasn’t the drifting run an hour earlier, with one of the public track sessions run at the end of the day instead? Shame.

I don’t want to end on a sour note, so I wont. It was a brilliant day and the BDC goes all over the country, other, smaller venues are cheaper than at places like Silverstone, so if you want to experiment then maybe try elsewhere first.

That said, seeing a car entering Brooklands backwards at 90+ mph whilst in total control sure takes some beating.

http://www.thebritishdriftchampionship.com/

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