Having enjoyed myself at Round 1 of the British Drift Championship I had absolutely no hesitation about making the trek to Round 4 at the picturesque Lydden Hill circuit, despite it being located 270 miles away! This time I headed down with Team SkidRoh on the Friday so I could enjoy everything the BDC had to offer: great driving, great people and (surprisingly enough for the British summer) great weather!
Team SkidRoh comprises of Alex Law driving his S14a in the Pro class and Joe Ankers and Matt Samuel competing in the Semi-Pro class, driving an S13 Onevia and a Z32 300ZX, respectively. Already close friends, the team was put together in order to compete in the team event held during Round 3 of the BDC at Teesside. I was already very close friends with Alex and Joe and had met Matt a few weeks prior when we all went to Alton Towers so it was awesome to be able to hang out with them and the rest of the Manchester crew for a whole weekend.
I headed down on Friday afternoon straight after work and arrived at the track long after the sun had gone down. Nevertheless, no sooner had my bags hit the floor than I was being handed a beer, a freshly BBQ’d burger and a place around the campfire for a brilliant night of catching up and drinking.
Saturday morning arrived and with it came a huge hangover and an early wake up call. I wasn’t complaining though; crawling out of a tent to see rows upon rows of drift cars arriving in the pits isn’t something you get to see very often. I did my best to forget about my lack of sleep and did what anyone else would do in this situation: grabbed my camera, a massive bottle of water and took a trip around the pits to take some pictures as the sun rose over the valley that Lydden Hill is situated in the basin of.
I loved the look of the Team MnM R32, mainly due to the stunning set of Work Rezaxs it was wearing.
Monaro drift car!? Epic!
This S13 really won me over, mainly because of its combination of simple, OEM bodywork and 16″ rubber.
Adam Simmons’ R33 was suffering from yet more engine issues so he had to borrow Stu Longson’s R32 in order to compete.
The SR20 powered KE70 Corolla driven by Marc Huxley, probably my favourite car in the BDC.
As was to be expected at such an event, the pits and campsite were both full of awesome road cars as well. This E36, S14 and JZX90 were among my favourites.
More pictures of these two will follow shortly.
It wasn’t long until the Semi-Pro drivers were being called to the track for their first practice session and it was time for Joe and Matt to get to grips with the layout.
Matt (above) and Joe (below) going big!
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the driving standards on display considering that, due to its relatively remote location, few drivers get to practice at Lydden before major events. Trips into the deep and unforgiving gravel traps were few and far between and the action just kept on coming.
It wasn’t long before the Pro class took to the track and all of us waited to see how Alex’s car would handle the conditions. After a failed attempt at mapping the S14’s SR20 a week prior due to compression issues it was mapped on Friday night, en route to the track from Manchester! It seemed to hold up though and Alex was putting in some impressive laps. So impressive in fact, that I didn’t seem to get any pictures of his car. Whoops!
Danni Murphy is the first woman to achieve a Pro license in the BDC and did herself proud by getting through to the top 16.
It was then time for the Super-Pros to hit the track and strut their stuff. It doesn’t take long for these guys to show why they’re the best of the best in the country and some of their entry and exit speeds were truly mind boggling, especially how fast they were attacking the blind (and uphill) final corner.
Mark Luney in the SATS Motorsport Supra.
Baggsy had trouble all weekend with his 1J powered Impreza and eventually ended up doing his qualifying run in team mate Shane O’Sullivan’s RB powered S15.
There was a short lunch break so the drivers could fine tune their setups, prepare fresh sets of tyres and, most importantly, stock up on burgers to give them some energy for the afternoon’s qualifying sessions. Each driver had three judged runs to get it right and to try and make it into the top 16 in their class so they could compete in Sunday’s battles. After being fed and watered by the SkidRoh BBQ I used this downtime to head back into the pits and get a closer look at some of the other cars.
Matt’s tyres certainly took a beating…
Brian Egan’s F20C powered AE86 is probably one of the coolest cars competing in this year’s BDC. Just look how wide those SSR MkIs are!
We then headed up into the spectators area so we could get the best view of the qualifying action…
Joe put in three great runs, although he made friends with the wall just before the hairpin on all three occasions! After smashing it out of the way in the first run he then proceeded to gently tap it in his second, something that definitely went down well with the judges. After surveying the damage to the rear quarter of his once immaculate Onevia I could tell he was a little bit upset by the damage, but all of this was forgotten when it was announced that he’d qualified 5th in what was only his second BDC event. The grin stayed on his face for hours!
Matt also managed to put in some safe and steady runs, keeping clear of trouble and making sure he hit the required apexes and clipping points. After three runs he was left in 16th and with a place in Sunday’s battles; so far so good for SkidRoh!
Unfortunately, despite three great runs in qualifying, Alex qualified in 24th and missed out on a chance to duke it out in Sunday’s battles. According to the judges, the scores in the Pro class had been extremely close and that there wasn’t much between the front runners and those bringing up the rear. Oh well, there’s always next time.
Once qualifying had finished and the results had been called out it was time for another night of fun, but not before we’d inspected the damage to Joe’s car…and the wall!
After a few beers and burgers it was time to crack on with trying to kick out the worst of the damage…
…although it could have been a lot worse. This photo was taken at around 1am on Saturday night and what you can see is the CA18ET from one of the DoriHero S13s in pieces on the floor. From what I was told oil starvation had caused the cams on the inlet side to weld themselves to, well, everything else.
Shortly after hitting the hay I was woken by the sound of someone’s phone alarm going off in a tent nowhere near ours, the stench of farts and BDC commentator Ant Cahill appearing from his compartment in this fetching all-in-one sleeping bag.
After a Fast & Furios quote marathon it was time to crawl out into the daylight and deal with yet another hangover, although the sight of (Ant’s co-commentator) Motty’s shorts certainly helped to wake me up.
And as if they weren’t bright enough, Andy Faulkes rolled in in his stunning S15 shortly afterwards.
I also spotted this spotless R32 in the Falken pits.
After breakfast it was time to get Matt and Joe’s cars ready for the battles which meant getting tyres ready…yeah…
Joe was victorious in his first battle which saw him progress through to the top eight only for him to be knocked out. Matt was also unfortunately knocked out in his first battle.
Brad Wallbank won the Hard Charger trophy at the end of the event and there was no doubting that it wasn’t well deserved. I know that Brad’s a fine of the site so… “Hi Brad!”
After another attempt at fixing the damage to Joe’s rear quarter…
…it was time to go back to the track and watch the Pro and Super-Bro battles.
The Pro class was all about Kevin Corsius who had made the trip over from Belgium in order to compete, bringing his E36 with him. After taking the top spot in qualifying it really wasn’t a surprise to see him dominate the battles as well.
2JZ and Dodge Viper V10 power!? What a a noise.
Matt Carter leaving the track in style after being knocked out in one of the Super-Pro battles.
The Super-Pro battles were nothing short of spectacular and the final found Japspeed drivers Paul Smith and Shane Lynch (who also qualified first) duking it out. Paul eventually took the win after squeezing Shane onto the curb and leaving him with nowhere to go during the second run, granting him the win. Shane did his best to hide his disappointment by starting a rolling burnout by the hairpin and only stopping once he’d reached the back straight. Brilliant stuff.
Once all of the battles had been completed it was time to load up and start the mammoth drive home. Sitting in the campervan on the way back I knew I’d made the right choice by agreeing to go to this round of the BDC and I was so glad that I went. There’s so much more to events like this than just drifting, and I think they can only be fully experienced by heading down with your mates and spending all weekend together having BBQs, camping and watching the best drifting that the UK has on offer.
I’d like to thank all of the SkidRoh gang for making the weekend absolutely brilliant fun and such a great laugh. The BDC crew also deserve a massive shout out for running such a fantastic event and also for organising the weather to be so hot and sunny!
Walking around the the pits it was great to see a couple of cars wearing some of our stickers; if you like the features and event coverage that I post please show your support by heading to the ej9.co.uk Facebook page or by picking up a sticker from our online store!
1st – Jay White
2nd – Lewis Cracknell
3rd – Lee Barry
1st – Kevin Corsius
2nd – Paul Chesire
3rd – James Fuller
1st – Paul Smith
2nd – Shane Lynch
3rd – Barry Leonard