I spent last weekend totally emerged in car culture under beautiful blue skys. How lucky am I? I spent Saturday at Players Classic at Goodwood then hot footed it over to South Wales for Round 2 of the British Drift Championship.
With the great weather and a new course to play on excitement was already running high when I arrived just in time for the drivers briefing.
Lost bumpers were being neatly reattached by drilling small holes and suturing with zip ties.
While across the paddock, new tyres were being fitted to wheels on a on a massive scale.
Before long, the Top 32 battles were underway and the banked viewing areas around the Pembrey circuit were starting to fill up with spectators. This is the first time the BDC has made the trek to South Wales and, judging by their volume and enthusiasm, the crowd appreciated it.
BDC runs an open paddock so fans can get a god look at the cars and talk to the teams.
The layout had changed from the one used in Saturday’s qualifying sessions so the Semi Pro class drivers were allowed a practice run. No such concession for the Pros and Super Pros however, they were just expected to step up and get the job done.
There are very few kerbs or run off areas at Pembrey so if you put a wheel wrong, like Jaime Kenyon here, you’ll kick up some of the dry earth – known as a dirt drop. Do this and the judges will score you a Big Fat Zero for the run from their hydraulic judging platform high above the circuit.
Dirt drop on the wrong part of the circuit and you’ll loose a bumper too like Stuart Egdall.
Or even more spectacularly like Nigel Moody, how dirt dropped, shed his bumper the span backwards at speed to ward a camera man. Keep an eye out for the footage on MotorsTV Monday 24th June at 18:55.
Another upside of the beautiful weather was the hot track surface. A hot track equals hotter tyres and hotter tyres mean more smoke. And when it comes to drifting, you can never have enough tyre smoke! In fact the MAZ1 Drift Tyre from Maxxis, title sponsor of the BDC is specially formulated to make extra smoke.
But that wasn’t the only smoke on display. Black Smoke Racing made the 4000 mile road trip from Finland to take part. It was strange to see a sudden cloud of jet black soot mix with the white tyre smoke every time the loud pedal was pressed.
This Mercedes estate is twincharged (turbocharged & supercharged) and has a customised tiptronic gearbox that still has a clutch pedal.
In the Pro class Rampstyle’s Gareth Taylor fell to Alex Law as he made his charge to the top of the podium.
Due to a great performance at Round 1 Alex won the chance to play with the Super Pros as well as take part in his own class. This helped the CarLoans4U team win the team event with 46 points, 10 more than second place team Red Line.
Gert Hoekman in yet another V10 Viper engined car, this time a Mazda RX-7 made it to 4th place.
In the Super Pro class there were a few upsets with some favourites being knocked out at the Top 32 stage. Team Japspeed had a bad day, with 2012 champ and round 1 winner Paul “Smokey” Smith knocked out by Mark Sinnot and Brett Castle loosing to Teemu Peltola.
Even Shane Lynch bowed out in his first battle to Michael Marshall, who went on to take second place.
Steve “Baggsy” Biagioni managed to keep the car the right way up this time and saw off Abdulhadi Alqahtani, the Saudi drift champion, but went out to David Waterworth at the Top 16 stage.
Driftworks’s Phil Morrison made it through his first battle, but soon became another victim of David Waterworths Viper-powered S15.
Lassa Tyres driver Simon Perry went out in style when a dirt drop in his Top 16 battle with Paul Conlan tore off a back wheel.
As the racing came to a close, and the sun block began to run out, Brendan Stone took down Michael Marshall in the Super Pro final wining both his lead and chase runs.
Even the screaming Team MnM fans couldn’t spur Michael to beat the Irishman.
To wrap things up, heres a fantastic video from Ben Walton to give you the full flavour of the day.
The noise, smoke and spectacle lands at the Teeside Autodrome on the 6th and 7th of July.