British Drift Championship Round 1 – Teesside Autodrome

The British Drift Championship (or BDC as it is commonly known) is the pinnacle of drifting in the UK…at least that’s what I’d been told having never been to a round before! I set off to Teesside Autdrome at the crack of dawn looking forward to hanging out with my mates, showing my support for friend Alex Law in the Pro class and of course getting to watch some of the best drifters in the country strut their stuff.

Arriving at the track before the vast majority of spectators had turned up allowed me to stumble into the pits (which were later blocked off from the public) in my half-asleep stupor, giving me a chance to get up close and personal with the competitors’s cars before they headed out to the track.

The Lassa Tyres team’s cars were brilliantly presented and certainly stood out.

The Japspeed cars were out in force as usual, although Shane Lynch and Baggsy had failed to reach the top 16 in the previous day’s qualifying.

I wasn’t familiar with the WKD Imports team before the event but they definitely gave people a lasting impression to remember them by. Wowing the crowds during the practice sessions with some fantastic drift trains definitely earnt them my respect.

This AE86 looked absolutely stunning, and then I found out it had an F20C under the bonnet…

This S13 was also sporting an engine conversion, albeit a slightly less familiar one: a BMW V8.

Buxton regular Adam Simmons is one of a number of drivers to have made the step up from grassroots drifting to competing in the BDC, drifting in the Semi-Pro class in his Slide Motorsport R33.

A car that regular readers of the blog will no doubt be familiar with: Alex Law’s S14a. Competing in the Pro class Alex qualified in 17th, just missing out on a position in the top 16 drivers that would go through to the two-car battles.

This S13-nosed S14 is a brilliant looking car, the quality of the front end conversion is second to none.

As the track was opened to all competitors for practice I made my way up to the spectator embankment to set about taking some action shots. I removed my regular lens, replaced it with a 75-300…and then disaster struck. No matter what I tried, it refused to auto-focus, let alone take pictures. Switching to manual focus at least gave me camera functionality again, so I had no choice but to make do. I suspect one of the sensors or connectors is dirty, but I’ll save the camera geek talk for another time.

Drift photography is hard enough as it is; throwing an extra job into the equation made it a lot harder to get decent shots so my photos were a bit hit or miss until I got used to it. The amount of smoke the cars were laying down also made things difficult as it was often so thick you could barely see the car(s) through it! Add to that the fact that I didn’t have a media pass (which meant I had to shoot from the regular spectator area) and I was left with a pretty tough situation to work with.

Whoops!

After practice the 48 drivers that qualified in their respective classes parked their cars on the track in order for the spectators to have a nosey and examine the finer details of what makes these cars slide the way they do. I thought this was actually a great idea, especially as the pits were closed to the public. It’s not often you see a low, wide and body kitted drift car on the roads so for many it was a new experience to study cars of this nature.

One of the few Bee*R R324s in the country.

The Team Falken S13 looked fantastic. I remember reading about this car in Banzai when it was in its previous incarnation.

I loved the arches on this S15.

The Driftworks S15 never fails to impress in the looks department.

Under the bonnet of Mark Luney’s Supra…that’s what over 1000whp looks like!

 

Under the bonnet of the Huxley Motorsport SR20 powered KE70. This was quite possibly my favourite car of the event and was a pleasure to watch as it battled it out in the Pro class.

As the track was cleared in order for the top 16 battles to take place I made my way back to the car park and spotted this absolute beauty of an S2000.

 

The crowds gathered as the top 16 in the Semi-Pro class lined up ready for their battles.

Ricky Emery was going great in his Soarer until a mistake resulted in him being knocked out of the competition early on.

The Semi-Pro class was eventually won in convincing style by the F20C powered AE86 that I mentioned before.

The WKD boys were in a patriotic mood!

Steve Moore was on incredible form all day and eventually made it through to the final battle in the Super-Pro class. He was using his competition S14a throughout the weekend, but you can see more of his “practice car” in the feature I did on it previously which is here.

During the Super-Bro battles I moved closer to the high speed first corner so I could speak to a few mates. Unfortunately I completely forgot there was a big plant in front of me which ended up obscuring a few of my pictures…d’oh!

Mark Luney was knocked out early on due to a transmission failure when entering the final part of the circuit.

Baggsy was promoted into the top 16 after one of the qualifiers had to withdraw from the competition due to a terminal engine problem. You could tell he was determined to make the most of the situation as his aggression and accuracy won favour with the judges resulting in him taking the 3rd spot on the podium.

Once again that plant ruined a cool picture!

So there you have it, Round 1 of the British Drift Championship done and dusted. I had an absolutely fantastic time and will definitely be attending some of the other rounds throughout the year. Having only attended one other serious drift competition in the past (JDM All Stars at the Trafford Centre) it was definitely an eye opener when compared to the grassroots events and practice days that I usually attend. Hanging out with your mates and drifting together is always a great laugh, but there is absolutely no way it can match the size and the spectacle of the BDC.

Semi-Pro Results

  1. Brian Egan
  2. Lee Barry
  3. Gareth Taylor

Pro Results

  1. Christian Lewis
  2. Marc Huxley
  3. Michael Sheehan

Super-Pro Results 

  1. Shane O’Sullivan
  2. Steve Moore
  3. Stephen Biagioni

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