Starting with a fast run up down a narrow straight with grass on one side, and buildings on the other, requiring a very committed entry into the first left hander using the Armco and curbing as a close clipping point, then switching right into a tight double apex turn in front of the crowd, then a quick shimmy left to right as the circuit opens up, and the speed increases dramatically to a good 80mph sweeper onto the back straight where the judged course finished.
Most teams and drivers had stayed over from the closing round of the British Drift Championship the day before. Amongst the drivers joining them were five drivers from Ireland, Mark Luney in a monsterous Toyota Supra, and myself in the Driftworks S15.
Rainy Wales was doing it’s best to put a downer on us as we arrived at the circuit. But out on track for the practice, we got huge amounts of track time, and I guess I was a little thankful of the rain, as it meant I didn’t have to change the tyres on the S15 every three minutes for a change..
Things soon dried out though, and onto the competition it was time to put some tyre smoke down.
I’m a big fan of the BDC, but this was the first event this year I’d really had the opportunity to see the level of drifting they have achieved, and it was certainly no disappointment. There’s a real healthy competitive vibe, and some of the drivers and machinery wouldn¡¦t look out of place in a pro level event.
In qualification, I managed to throw together a couple of relatively decent runs that I thought would get me into the top 32. So on the 3rd run I tried the same thing but in one gear higher for each section of the track. I was really having to kick the hell out of the clutch, but it was all good fun, and created some pretty good schmokes.
I qualified in 1st place….. Which was nice.
My first run out in the top 32 battles was against Paul Cheshire in the green custard snot splat team green S14. He lead, and ploughed on at the first corner spinning out, then I lead and he span out behind me somewhere.
Then I was up against Louis Geldart who I struggled against, making that classic mistake of having a slow car in front of you and leaving yourself very little room for manoeuvre. I managed to scrape through after we switched positions, and I think I completely blinded him with tyre smoke. Sorry Louis 😀
Chris Hackwood in his S14 was next, and drove very well, but struggled with the difference in cornering speed between the two cars..
This was a real battle. Matt has some real skills, and unlike some of his team, he let’s his driving do the talking instead of his ego .
We had to go one more time, at least once, and we were quite evenly matched. At one point Matt apparently thought he was going to hit me, which is cool as it means he must have been pretty close behind me..
As it was obvious I needed to step up my game a little, I adjusted my lines from big angle and big smoke, to normal angle and slightly more traction, and made enough of a difference to go through to the final.
Nigel Colfer, a very talented and enthusiastic driver from Ireland, had skillfully muscled his way through from the 32 to the final. His lightweight S13 seemed well suited to the tight sections of Llandow, so this was not going to be an easy battle. I mentally clicked up a gear, and set off for the first run where he lead.
He played a clever move knowing that I had very high speed entries, and backed off on the entry to the first corner almost to a crawl. But I’ve driven against enough Irish drivers now to anticipate a move like that and handled it by pushing a little wider with more angle, then accelerating up the inside.. That was a 6-4 score to me. The second run I lead, and I was not taking any prisoners.
There’s a point on the run up, where the cars must stay parallel to avoid a massively powerful car like mine steaming off. But after this point the accelerator was nailed, and the clutch abused massively as I kept it in 3rd in the tight sections, and pulled off one of my best lines of the day,. I made a very quick transition into the faster section and managing to pull a few cars lengths on Nigel.
1st Place Phil Morrison Driftworks S15
2nd Place Nigel Colfer S13
3rd Place Mat Carter S14
.I’d like to thank the British Drift Championship for the invite. It’s been far to long since I got the opertunity to mix it up with friends outside of EDC. I had a great time, and look forward to the next British Open.