The build up to the start of this season has been huge with so many rule changes and tweaks to the format, all focused on increasing the excitement of each event.
I’ll let you go through all 50 major changes if you want to over on the British Drift Championship’s social media channels but the important changes are –
One More Time – This has been scrapped and replace by another single run, putting pressure on the drivers to give it their all if they want to advance further through the event.
Judging – Each run of a battle is now scored individually with drivers knowing the score before heading into the second run of a battle, this will give the fans a better understanding of what’s happening but also create better battles in my opinion.
Away from that we have so many other changes to increase the show including our favourite, Drift Games! These will be voted on by the public before each event to decide which game will be played in between the main track action, it could be backward entries, parking, drift limbo or freestyle drifting amongst others.
Something we were very happy to see in the run up to the season was the car builds, we watched with great anticipation as photos were appearing almost daily of another car build or livery being released.
The 2017 is certainly the year that style returns to the British Drift Championship, we have always had the super low S14 of Alex Law, but we have so much more now.
Martin Wonnacott’s JZX100 was probably the most talked about car across social media, he managed to keep the final look from us all for so long and the wait was worth it, this car really needs to be seen in person to really appreciate it.
Marc Huxley did a U turn on his departure from competitive drifting, unveiling a new look for his car just days ahead of the first round. His car now a new livery and aptly advertises something that he is the perfect driver for…. Drift Games.
The Japspeed GT86 finally saw its competitive debut at the hands of Paul Smith, this will be a combination to look out for over the coming years as it develops further, it’s already a big build with everything you expect from a top level drift car.
Another of the Japspeed cars created a storm on social media in the week before this event, Shane Lynch not only revealed that his 370Z had gained 150HP and lost 150KG in the off season, he also revealed a crazy hand drawn livery to celebrate 10 years of Japspeed.
Away from the cars, one of the big talking points ahead of the season was the inclusion of walls in the layouts for this season, it’s something we have seen at the odd round in the past but this year will bring it to a whole new level for British drifting. The layout for this round featured two walls with the cars having to get onto four clipping points on the walls in each run.
The Pro-Am drivers took to the track on Saturday morning with surprising results, they got onto the walls very quickly and were looking like they were really going to put on a show for the rest of the day.
Mark Gemmell would go onto show how serious the level of the Pro-Am drivers had stepped up this year, topping qualifying with a score of 84.8.
Oliver Evans and Peter Hayden were close behind, both scoring higher than 80 points.
The Pro-Am continued their impressive show with the afternoon battles with many close runs.
Oliver Evans made his way through to the final four with chase runs worthy of a Pro driver.
Joining him in the top four was Mike Walton, newly promoted from Driftcup.
Lee Barker would also make it through to this stage of the competition although his car was looking a little worse for wear.
Scott Cartledge rounded out the last of the drivers to make it into the final four, where he would then battle Oliver Evans for a place in the final, Oliver would put on a great display of how to chase, tucking in behind Scott throughout the run, earning his place in the final.
Lee Barker and Mike Walton battled for the remaining place in the final, Lee unfortunately had car issues handing the battle to Mike.
Lee would managed to line up against Scott Cartledge for the remaining step on the podium where he would managed to take the win and get his opportunity to celebrate in front of the crowd.
The final battle between Oliver Evans and Mike Walton was a close fought battle with both drivers giving it their all. Oliver Evans managed to stay close to Mike on his chase run earning him the event win.
Sunday morning and it was time for the Pro drivers to take to the track, they quickly learnt the track creating huge clouds of smoke making it difficult at times to see the cars.
Qualifying saw Simon Perry top the table with a score of 89.25.
Second and third places were close behind with Matt Carter scoring 88.42 and Marc Huxley on 87.75.
The Shanahan brothers of Jack and Conor had car issue so they would swap cars at the last minute with Jack driving Conor’s car despite steering issues, whilst Conor borrowed another car. Both brothers would qualify although lower than they are used to with Conor in 9th place and Jack in 21st.
The battles saw Simon Perry charge into the final four.
Oliver Evans would continue his great weekend making it through to the top four, beating the reigning champion, Jack Shanahan, on his way there.
Matt Carter would earn his place in the final four after an all Skyline battle with Martin Richards in the DW32. A great lead run saw Matt tag the walls on his way through the run.
The last driver to make it into the final four was Marc Huxley.
Simon Perry would battle Oliver Evans for a place in the final, Simon led first with a strong run whilst Oliver stuck to his door. They swapped over where Simon would push Oliver off the start line trying to intimidate him, he would drop back slightly during the run putting Oliver through to the final.
Matt Carter and Marc Huxley were up next where Matt Carter gave the crowd another example of great lead and chase runs, earning his place in the final.
The battle between Marc Huxley and Simon Perry was just as close for the remaining place on the podium, Simon led first with Marc following close behind. Marc’s lead run was great, pulling away from Simon and earning him the place on the podium.
The final between Matt Carter and Oliver Evans was one of the most exciting of the event, both drivers had shown just how well they could chase and lead around this track. Matt Carter led first and as expected Oliver Evans made plenty of contact with Matt’s car as he dived onto the door at every opportunity.
A 21-9 advantage was in Oliver’s favour as they swapped over, Matt would now get chase and try to overturn the disadvantage in order to win the event. A few mistakes from Oliver as Matt kept it pinned to his door would see the battle swing back in favour of Matt Carter.
The drivers proudly took their places on the podium to celebrate in front of the biggest crowd that BDC has seen.
It was certainly a great start to the season, we will leave you with plenty more photos, until next time…