8 July 2011

Event Report - A Return to the Birth-Place of BDC

I have been a fan of Drifting for a few years now & visited lots of tracks, shows & championships all to get my fill. But there was one place where it all clicked for me and I was hooked for good. What was the name of that place? The Brilliant Teesside Autodrome in the north of England. Being one of the driver favourites with classic events like Drift UK, Big X & Night Fight it was there for the birth of UK drifting and also the venue for some legendary battles. For those of you that didn’t already know, Teesside was also the home of the very first round of BDC back in 2008, so I’m sure it was a fantastic feeling for the BDC organising team to return there three years later with an the incredible show they have developed over that time.

Corolla Brother and BDC main man Mark "Sweeps" Buckle ensuring everything runs smooth.

What a return trip it was as well with a huge entry list of Semi Pro, Pro & Super Pro drivers all with amazingly well presented cars all ready to do battle with one thing in mind, to take the win. I had been looking forward to this round as I was unable to attend round two at Norfolk arena and was ready to get re-acquainted with the BDC vibe. The circuit chose to run was based on the main track consisting of a long right hander into a tight right then left hairpin combination flowing into a up shifting-smokey exit via a smooth right hander around the Maxxis Tyre Truck!

Ade Brannan finding himself a little deep in the dirt going into the first hairpin. Kept it going though!

Camera gear packed & the daily hog filled with fuel I was all set to get back to visiting my old friend Teesside. I arrived Saturday morning to find a full car park of spectator’s cars which was a great sign for a practice/Qualifying day to come! Number one on my agenda was to get out on track and catch the drivers trying to find the sweet spot on their lines, get to grips with the car and figure out how they could pull off a win. Straight away I was greeted with a track time mitzvah! Drivers being sent out one after another filling the bowl shaped track area with Tyre smoke.

Corolla Brother Marc Huxley taking it to the high Power Datsuns.

One car in particular was incredibly refreshing to see, Marc Huxley’s SR Powered KE70. Myslef and Marc had been planning to do a feature on the car for a while now, and one thing I wanted to do in the feature was show some photos of it doing what it was built to do; Big Smokey Skids! I had plenty of opportunities to get those photos as Marc was on it all weekend showing you don’t need a Million horse power, Body-kitted up Nissan to go out and drift competitively. Marc was seeded in the semi Pro class alongside a field of equally well prepared cars and drivers and it was great to see the Semi Pro guys& gals step up to the plate.

The most intimidating car & driver of the weekend?

One surprise for me was to see Irishman Christy Carpenter attending in his truly fearsome looking Advan/Yokohama Tyre Sponsored S15. I was yet to see this car since its colour change to black after its old Leary purple colour scheme and I was blown away. The car had a huge presence both on & off track and Christy was out to prove that the Irish style of Drifting was the biggest hurdle for the British guys to defeat that weekend.

The High level of twinning was found in the Semi Pro class as well as the top Super Pro class.

Saturday was an action packed day, but Sundays Top 16 show sure knew how to step it up a gear! With some brilliant close twinning from all three classes it was a great credit to how the level of driving has developed since that first BDC round at the very same venue all those years ago.

This pic showing just how much faster in the tight section Hux's KE was compared to the higher powered Nissans.

There was some great standout driving for me in the semi pro class, with Marc’s KE pulling so much speed through the tight sections and Sam Holt’s super low S14 looking incredibly comfortable dealing with the track pulling off some of my favourite twin drifting during the day.

Twin Sequence 1
Super close twinning whilst actually clipping the clipping point! Top Driving from the Super Pro's.

But hands down, my award for close “Breathing down your neck” twinning for the weekend had to go to Paul Smith of Team Japspeed & Matt Carter of Team Falken. Those guys really put on a show for the huge sun drenched crowd showing how much confidence in each other’s driving ability they had to pull of close drifting like that. Really was a pleasure to watch, even through the camera’s shutter.

A Masterclass in agressive drifting from Simon Perry & Mark Luney.

Another stunning battle was between the king of smooth drifting, Mark “Buff” Luney and king of balls out drifting, Team Skyline owners very own Simon Perry. The second myslef and the rest of the media guys heard that Buff and Perry were set to do battle we feared that the world would implode from the shear extremities of the two cars, and our estimations weren’t far off! It was an incredible set of battles that even saw (To everyones surprise!) Buff in the SATS Cosworth Supra clip the tires on the final corner of the judged course.

Team Falkens Matt Carter in full attack.

One bit of sad news I encountered over the weekend was the news that Brother Hux was unable to compete in another round and Teesside was set to be the last event the little KE was set to see. But this didn’t set Marc back as he went all out to go out with a bang by winning the Semi Pro class! Really was amazing to watch the entire crowd cheering and blowing the air horns every time he drifted past and that secured in my mind that I had to do all I could do to help Hux finish the season properly. You may have read in my previous post that due to Marc’s amazing driving at Teesside and the brotherhoods “Help a Brother” Campaign he has been able to obtain the financial support from new sponsors to finish the season so for me and The Corolla Brotherhood this was the cherry on top to one amazing weekend.

Team Japspeeds Shane Lynch showing his rear bumper that they are no longer friends.

Here is the list of the top winners from each class -

Semi Pro Class Top 3 –
1st- Marc Huxley
2nd- Matt Campling
3rd- Christian Lewis

Pro Class Top 3 -
1st- Micheal Marshall
2nd- Wesley Keating
3rd- Francis O’Shea

Super Pro Top 3 -
1st- Steve Moore
2nd- Matt Carter
3rd- Paul Smith

Super-charged E46 BMW vs. Nissan Skyline= Viewing pleasure

Each round that I attend, the BDC does nothing but impress me more and more with a well organised team, lots of well prepared cars, top class driving and right down to the brilliant company I have from my fellow Camera wielding brothers track side. If you are still yet to attend a round of BDC this year make sure you do as you’ll be blown away. Round Three at Teesside was a perfect way to spend a weekend and I’m lucky to have so much mental drifting action to point my camera at. Let's hope the next round see's a Corolla Driver top the podium again!

Marc Huxley keeping the crowd entertained in the KE70.

More of my Photo's from the weekend can be found on my Flickr account...

Roll on Round Four.

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