Birmingham Wheels Drift Practice Day
Organiser, Matt Harvey and a group of friends have been drifting at Birmingham Wheels for the past few years as a private, invite only event. However, Matt has recently opened this event to the public and boy are we glad he did!
It was a scorching hot October morning in this bizarre heat wave we’re currently having. As I approached Birmingham Wheels Raceway all loaded up with camera gear and plenty of water, the unmistakable scent of burning rubber filled the air. On arrival to the circuit I passed a varied line of cars in the queue for the track. From Budget BMW’s to full blown BDC competition cars. The venue attracts a variety of drivers and budgets. Daily driven skidders get the opportunity to be out on track alongside fully sponsored show stoppers.
Matt Harvey and his team of marshals had cleverly set out the usual stock car oval to contain tight technical sections as well as long sweeping 3rd gear corners that were a perfect blend for novice drivers and pro’s alike. The marshals on the gate sent two drivers out at a time for 4 laps each which were more than enough for some of the cars in the unseasonal heat.
I signed on as a photographer, grabbed my high-viz and headed out onto track to see the drivers in action.
John Furniss was doing particularly well in his wall banger E34. John was giving his full commitment throughout the day and was certainly not intimidated by the wall.
BDC Semi-pro driver Tom Hutchinson was sharing his airbrushed, Cosworth V6’d Sierra out for the day to friend Rew Halls. Both of which Drove hard all day, running close to the steel armco’d walls.
Mike Gaynor set the standards high in his killer E36
It’s not all about big power at events like this as Dean Austin proved in his E36 318is coupe. With only 140bhp from the factory Dean had to keep his foot to the floor at all times and showed some real skill and bravery in doing so.
The pits were a chilled area with everybody helping one another to keep the cars on the track. Mark Harris‘s FD RX7 had more trouble than most in that department after it suffered from a split hydraulic clutch hose early on in the day. Where some drivers would have given up and gone home, Mark is not a quitter and was determined to get back out on track and enjoy the rest of his day. A trip to a local scrap yard yielded a flexi brake hose from a Mazda 323 and with the help of others in the pits it was made to fit so that he could drift again.
Mr Driftworks himself, Phil Morrison turned up in the DW S14a test mule. Although clipping points had been placed on the apex of each corner, Phil had decided to take a wider, more spectacular line, running the walls and filling the air with smoke.
The Slide Motorsport guys made an appearance in their stunning 1jz 350z and black Sileighty.
As the day began to draw to a close, many of the drivers were showing a marked improvement such as Adam Mitchell who is driving harder and faster in his E36 325 since it has become a dedicated skid car and is no longer a daily.
Matt and his team are constantly looking to improve this event and welcome suggestions from drivers and spectators. These Birmingham Wheels practice days are a fantastic opportunity for drifters of all abilities to improve their skills, have fun make friends and at £22 per driver, what more could you ask?!
Keep an eye on the Driftworks Forum Events section for the next Birmingham Wheels Practice Day.
Words and Pictures by Claudia Foulkes.
Tags: Birmingham Wheels
, Drift Practice Day