So, months of hype, preparation and rumour mill running had come to this: finals day at round 1 of the 2013 BDC. With Super-Pro qualifying having been postponed until Sunday afternoon it was definitely going to be a hectic day, although I’m sure the spectators were pleased with the serious amount of high quality drifting they got to watch in the bask of the rarely present British sunshine.
Once again the day’s proceedings were thwarted by the local council’s noise restrictions on the Lydden Hill circuit, with no cars allowed to hit the track until 12pm at the earliest. I could begin to understand such a restriction if the track was located in say, the middle of a suburb, but Lydden is about as remote as it gets. On the other hand though, it meant myself and my hotel room buddy Josh got a nice lie in for a change. Considering I had been plied with vodka shots by a lovely Polish man whose name escapes me and awoken to a banging headache, a sympathetic smile from the girl on reception who had been working the night shift and a humorous shake of the head from Shane Lynch who had been encouraging the whole thing, the extra hours in bed were much appreciated!
First thing’s first, I checked in at the Japspeed and Car Loan 4U pits to see what was what. Many laughs were had at my expense due to the previous night’s antics…
Josh got straight down to filming while Paul Smith had a quiet moment with his S15 as he eagerly anticipted the start of Super-Pro qualifying.
Having qualified 13th the previous day Alex had everything to play for in the Pro class battles.
As did Matt Samuel, who had qualified 5th in Semi-Pro.
While obviously disappointed that he hadn’t qualified alongside his Car Loan 4U team mates Joe focused his efforts on helping them out and providing some much-needed encouragement.
With Sunday being the main spectator day there was plenty of to check out outside of the team pits. Norfy’s BMW V8 Sil80 is a car I’ve been wanting to check out in the flesh for ages now – stay tuned for a feature on this in the next few days.
Mo of Superstyle Garage fame also showed up to watch in his awesome E36 Compact. Don’t let the 316 badge fool you – underneath that bonnet lies an extra pair of cylinders and enough grunt to pull 4th gear manjis all day long. Stay tuned for more pics of this car also.
And then it was time for Super-Pro qualifying. With just two runs to get it right the jitters seemed to catch up with a couple of people and nerves began to show. Even the usually super smooth and consistent Paul Smith made a couple of rare mistakes, but it didn’t stop him making the runs count and putting himself firmly inside the top 16 in 3rd place.
Simon Perry’s R33
Jody Fletcher’s S15
Steve Moore’s S14a
Matt Carter’s outrageous, yet totally awesome R32
Wayne Keeber’s Soarer
Shane O’Sullivan’s S15 in what were to be Shane’s first dry runs of the entire weekend. The lack of practice didn’t seem to make any difference to him though as he secured 5th place.
Marc Huxley’s hilarious, built-in-seven-weeks, absolute jaw dropping Volvo 245. This man can make anything work!
Brett Castle in the Japspeed Scooby.
Barry Leonard’s S14a.
The Irish sure love their flags, don’t they?
Wes Keating’s 180SX.
Alan Green pulling a big entry in a borrowed S14…
…who then promptly caked me in mud. Cheers, Alan!
Martin Ffrench in the Low Brain/Achilles PS13 was definitely one car and driver combination I was keeping my eye on throughout the weekend.
The Wisefab kit was certainly doing the business as he was pulling some of the biggest entries of the weekend.
Jamie Kenyon’s S14.
Kevin Corsius had a lot of expectation on his Belgian shoulders but unfortunately, despite pulling some of the biggest entries of the weekend, failed to qualify.
Baggsy in his new Acorn Insurance S13.
You’ve probably read a million times about what happened when Baggsy found himself heading towards the Lydden wall and tyre wall at high speed so I won’t repeat it again, but all things considered he was very lucky and walked away relatively unscathed.
Thankfully Baggsy has been able to look back at the incident in a light hearted manner, meaning that memes such as the one I posted on Facebook were seen as just light hearted fun.
After qualifying a quick jaunt back into the pits revealed a few other well known cars such as Clive’s BMW V8 S14a – the only car I’ve been in that has pulled 5th gear skids.
I also found Baggsy’s S13 covered up back in scrutineering. After having a quick poke around it seems that, aside from the roof, windscreen, front end body panels, intercooler, radiator and front right suspension, the car is perfectly fine to use again, with both chassis legs looking as straight as an arrow.
Another look at Matt Carter’s Falken R32.
After a brief interval it was time for the top 16 battles to get underway, starting with Semi-Pro.
Matt actually went on to win Semi-Pro in his 300ZX – not just the first Z32 to enter the BDC but now the only one to have ever won a round, well done dude!
In Semi-Pro Alex was going well until a mis-shift relegated him to the 3rd & 4th place play off battle…
…although he eventually lost to the RB powered S13 of Chris Hawkins. Nevertheless, 4th place in Pro is not a result to be sniffed at!
With Pro now out of the way it was onto the Super-Pro battles. Here we see Shane Finn of Drive-N-Style doing some work for once while Roger Smith (father of Paul) understandably looks on with concern.
Paul was in typically dominant form, making it all the way through to the final where he would face the R33 of Simon Perry.
Sully was unfortunately thwarted by turbo issues – a blockage in the turbo oil return feed having caused a build up of oil in the turbo that eventually pushed passed the seals and rendered them useless. Considering the form that he was on all weekend this was a bit of a shame but these things inevitably rear their heads at the worst moments.
Phil Morrison was going great in the Driftworks R32 until a mis-shift in his battle against Simon Perry put paid to his chances of progressing past the top 8.
Some late night engine fixing by the Lucas Oil team obviously paid off as top qualifier Mark Luney set about proving why he secured top place in qualifying. Unfortunately he didn’t end up on the podium having been defeated by Paul Smith.
David Waterworth preformed spectacularly in his one of a kind Dodge Viper powered S15, claiming the final place on the podium in style.
The final was a very close and hard-fought affair but it was Paul Smith that would end up claiming the top step of the podium.
A very happy Matt Samuel!
And a very chuffed Car Loan 4U team!
The Car Loan 4U guys also took home the constructors trophy for the day and are also currently leading the cunstructors championship – great stuff!
And with that it was time to pack up and begin the mammoth journey home listening to Andy’s 80s pop CD filled with Wham, Duran Duran et al. Thankfully I managed to fall asleep pretty quickly…but I managed to wake up in time to join in the van-to-van Krispy Kreme doughnut fight that definitely didn’t occur on the M6…
Thankfully there’s a big break until Round 2 which will be held at Pembrey – all I’ve done for the last couple of weeks is write about the BDC so it’ll be good to get to focus on other things! Until next time…