Thursday, 25 August 2011

British Drift Championship 2011 - Round 4 - Knockhill

Leaving home at 9am for the lovely 9 hours journey to Scotland was not something i was looking forward to after a bad journey up there last year where a wheel bearing caught fire........twice! once on the way there and once on the way bay after being fixed. Fully loaded up we headed off and managed the whole journey without a problem.
When we finally arrived it was off to the track to unload the car  and see who else was about before heading back to the travel lodge. Expecting the worst from the weather as the wind was getting up and the sky was grey with rain, made me wonder what sort of weekend it was going to be. First things first though, shower, food and bed for a good sleep.
Saturday was a late start not having to be at the track for a drivers briefing til 12. The briefing outlined what the judges were expecting/wanted to see from us and also what they dont. New rule at knockhill - No dirt dropping off the side of the track. If its and inch or a mile, 1 wheel off track means a big fat zero score.
 Its been a whole year since i last drifted 'The Hill' as it commonly known and admittedly its not a track that i feel my most confidante on but saying that i was going to do my best. There was no qualifiying for Super Pro's on the saturday so it was just practise sessions. Getting back to grips with the track and building up my entry speeds and putting more angle on each time, i started to find my line. After everyone had done a few singles practise laps we went out to practise some twinning.
I went out with Simon Perry a few times amounst others. We have been up against each other in actual competition battles before which is always interesting and a bit of fun, but just as good to go out playing with no pressure.
An early finish (unusual for a BDC event) saw us heading back to the hotel early. Tyres were already changed ready to go straight into qualifying on Sunday with no more practise. Plenty of time left to meet up with the rest of the team and my supporters who drove miles to come and cheer me on.......cheers guys! Special big thanks to Kelli and Gary, not just for travelling up but for the help they gave me over the weekend in the pits and keeping me amused when away from the track.
An earlier start for Sunday morning and straight into qualifying. So far there had been a few light showers of rain that soon passed and the track soon dried out. Waiting in the que for your turn to go out and qualify is a nightmare. When my turn came i gave it my all and was pretty happy with my judged runs. From the noise my supporters were making, they were pretty pleased with them too. Then the waiting game began for the results to be announced at the drivers briefing. Did i make the top 16?
The results were in. Joint top qualifyer with Simon Perry. Sadly though there has to be a clear 1st and 2nd, so taking my second run score i scored a couple of point lower than Mr Perry's so i sat at 2nd. I was still happy with that. My first battle was against Dan O'Brien in the Competition Clutch S14a. Due to Dan putting his wheel slightly off the track i had a 10-0 advantage and just had to put in a safe run to go through. Dan pushed hard and did a great job but i was awarded the overall win of the battle and went through to the top 8.
Onto my nest battle and i had been put up against Matt Carter and not for the first time. Matt is a fantastic driver and is currently the Championship leader. With a slight straighten from me before the last corner on the first battle Matt was awarded the 6-4 advantage. I knew being up against Matt is a test of skill and was going to be close. Sadly Matt pulling away from me slightly on the second run he was awarded the overall win.
It was a great standard off drifting from all drivers throughout the weekend and ive been surprised by a few people too. Sadly no podium for this round but on points im now joint 3rd overall in the championship. Bring on round 5 for Super Pro's only at Silverstone. Im gunning for 3rd place overall to myself, or who knows, maybe even 2nd ;)

Friday, 22 July 2011

Autoworks Drift Competition - Paris July 2011

With a 2am start, fully loaded up with the car on its trailer, christ knows how many wheels and tyres and 2 pit crew, Sharon and Steve, we left for Dover to meet the ferry and start our journey to Paris. The ferry crossing was calm and pretty quick so i was'nt long before we ported at Calais. Realising that the sat nav didnt work out of england, map in hand we worked out our route to the track. Sadly we made a few wrong turns as it appears the french dont think they need road signs at all. We eventually arrived at the track at 6pm before they had even finished setting up for the event.
Checking out the track before unloading the car gave me a shock. The track was tiny! Just one clipping point and not very technical. I prefer the bigger faster tracks and was'nt quite sure how well i'd do here with a car as big and heavy as the soarer. Only time will tell. There was no way of knowing until i got out on track on saturday and give it tester.
After seeing the track and meeting a few new faces, all that was left to do was unload the car into the pits and head back to the hotel for food, beer and sleep. It had been a very long day for all of us. Just as we were leaving Matt Campling (another english driver) turned up and pitted next to us with his pit crew Tom and Alex. We were the only 2 english competing in the competition.
After yet another late night and early start we headed back to the track for the drivers briefing to find out just how different thing would be to competing in the uk. They had decided to run the scoring the Japanese way. You start with 100 points and do your best to keep as many as you can. The first long corner alone being worth 70%. The rest was marked on the one clipping point and the transition into the finish. Only the first 12 would qualify and the rest would get to fight it out again the next day to gain the last 4 places, making it the top 16.
Practise was held in 2 half hour sessions. Strangley enough all the sessions run on perfect time! we were not used to that. Any worries i had about the track being to small for me and the car soon disappeared and my runs were flowing well. Happy with my practise, all that was left to do was give the car a quick once over before the briefing about qualifying.
Onto the qualifying and we were told we had 3 judged runs and the best 1 would be counted. Still on form all 3 of my qualifying runs were scored very highly with the best being 96.25 out of 100. This put me in 5th place overall. I was pleased with the result. Matt Campling also pulled off some fantastic runs and qualifiyed 12th. With 2 very happy British lads, we packed up and went out for a meal and a few beers (or in matt's case a bottle of wine) to celebrate.
 Sunday morning arrived and time yet again to head back to the track for the twin battles. This was the part i'd been most looking forward to. At the briefing the twin battles were announced and by sheer turn of fate, the only 2 english drivers, Matt and myself were put up against each other. Nightmare! Thats the luck of the draw i guess, you never know whats going to happen. Regardless, one of us was going to be taking the win. With both of us doing our best, Matt surprised us all and gave me a run for my money on both runs. Even though he did a great job on both runs, the judges decided i had the edge and i took the win I was then through to the top 8. Well done to Matt for his fantastic effort. Were all proud of you fella!
Next twin battle was up against Italian driver Federico Sceriffo in his Scooby. First twin battle run Federico was the lead car, managing to match his and stay close i felt confident with the run.
Second run with me to lead and Federico to follow. Again there was nothing in it. The judges, Team Orange, called a one more time! We lined up again. When the flag went down Federico didnt move, by the time i looked across to see why he was sat there he launched away, also knowing i needed the traction he kept slowing right down all the way along the start straight. Needless to say i knew my battle was over. Still trying my best sadly the win was awarded to Federico. Just a shame it was'nt won honestly!
 My day was over so i just watched the rest of the drifting with the rest of the team and team Dorihero.
At the end of the day Team Orange were doing some displsys and a bit of twinning round the track. I deceided to line up and go out for a chase down. Thats my little claim to fame. Matt also went out and had a play with them and couldnt stop smiling!
Going to Paris was a good experience for me and i totally enjoyed it. Thanks to my sponsor Sharon from Carbon Copy and team mate Steve Whitbread for making the journey with me and being my pit crew. Also thanks to Matt Campling and the rest of team Dorihero who kept us all amused all weekend!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

British Drift Championship 2011 - Round 3 - Teeside

Loading the Soarer onto the trailer and doing some final checks, then we set off for Teeside. A long journey, but twice as long dragging something that heavy behind. Finally reaching the track and dropping of the car, we headed back to the hotel (well slum). Meeting up with the rest of the Mint Tyres Motorsport Team for a drink before having a much needed rest. An early 6am start, heading to the track to get set up and carry out yet more checks. With the soarer seeming in good working order all was going well.
As Usual after the drivers briefing the practise sessions started. Semi-pro's up first, the Pro's, then last but not least myself and the rest of the Super Pro's. First Practise went well apart from the epic heat from the sun turning the car into a sauna. Anothers drivers briefing and onto qualifying.
The dry track ment i was eating tyres like there going out of fashion. Good Job im sponsored by Mint Tyres!
The time came for my qualifying. Practise lap went off without a hitch.....text book skidding. The first of my judged runs was classed as good but safe, i know i had to push a bit harder. Second qualifying run was classed as not so good with me doing a half spin slightly over cooking it on the first right hand hair pin. Last chance, third qualifying run. The only way was flat out, loads of smoke and massive angle to qualify high enough to get into the top 16.
After qualifying we had our usual drivers briefing where the results of the top 16 would be announced. To my surprise i managed to score joint 1st with Paul Smith from Team Japspeed. Result! I coundnt of been happier.
Now i could afford to relax a bit as the battles wouldnt start till the next day. We packed away and headed back to the hotel for celebration drinks, and there was alot of them.
Sunday morning arrived and we haeded back to the track. First of my  practise sessions went perfect. I even had a little play about with Keith Hammond and some of the other Super Pro's.
My second practise session arrived and Julie Robinson and myself went out on track to have a little play.
Sadly it was short lived. Disaster struck.
Pulling away from the start line a loud bang echoed round the inside of the car, at first i suspected i'd blown another diff like the last round but on closer inspection in the pits it appeared i'd blown both the diff and the gearbox.
With help from the Mint Tyres crew we sourced another diff and gearbox and set about removing the old box and diff and fitting the new ones. Not easy in the pits to start with but i was also on a time limit. It was 1.00pm and i had til 4.30pm until i was due back out on track again for the top 16 twin battles. The whole situation was a nightmare, the box didnt even want to fit on, but with a gentle knock from Simon Booker's foot all started falling into place. With the job finished i managed to make it upto the start line with seconds to spare.
The first of my twin battle's saw me up against Jo Fletcher. Jo put up a fantastic fight and did his best to catch me right up until the end of the track but it was'nt quite enough to take the win on that battle.
My second battle saw Jo Fletcher as the front car. Again Jo put up a fantastic fight to the end but again i had the edge and took the overall win to go through into the top 8 battles.
 Onto the first of my battles in the top 8. Now Up against David Waterworth. As i pulled away from the start line on my practise lap i couldnt get much grip so eased off to save what was left of my tyres. Back on the start line heading off for the first of the judged twin battles my grip was worse than ever and i just couldnt get the power down onto the track letting a gap open up between david and myself and allowing David to creep through and pass me on the inside.
Although i still did my best i knew it was pointless and i wouldnt be able to make up the ground i'd lost. On the second judged battle my tyres totally delaminated before the first corner and any grip i did have left had gone. Sadly that saw an end to the days drifting for me.The win went to David. It was very much deserved.

At the award presentation i did recieve the hard charger award for my efforts throughout the day to get back on track even after blowing a gearbox and a diff. My hard charger award is for everyone who help me sort out the soarer and get me back on track. My thanks go to all involved.

British Drift Championship 2011 - Round 2 - Norfolk Arena

This weekend was going to be a good one. Not only was it Round 2 of the BDC but it was also the team triple drift event.
First off was a no problem practise session. As usual the car was running and performing fine. Norfolk arena track is very small, dusty, slippery at the best of times so not the best track for a soarer with its extra weight. Getting grip is always a nightmare. With practise done and dusted (excuse the pun) it was onto qualifiying.
considering what i was up against with the type of track qualifiying went really well up until the diff decided it had had enough and let go after just 2 or the 3 judged runs. The judged runs i managed to complete were enough to see me into the top 16 battles. I qualified 6th over all. Surprising what you can do when you put your mind to it.
Straight back to the pits to jack up the soarer, whip out the diff and replace it with another one that was kindly lent to me by the SATS Cosworth team. Its great that drifters help each other out when something like this happens without warning.
Thanks to help from the Mint Tyres crew including the girls, the car was back up and running in no time ready for the top 16 battles. Time to line up at the start line and wait for my battle to be called up onto the track.
On my first twin battle i got paired against Simon Perry. Simon always being one to try and syke out the competition by using his practise lap to just drive steadily round. Sadly although doing my best i was knocked out the competition by Mr Perry and finished 7th over all. which considering it was a small track, biggest and heaviest car there and no traction what so ever, i dont think i did to bad. After the days events had finished as usual everyone gathered in the pits, on came the music and out came the beers. Customary of course! It was long late night.
 Sunday morning arrived and the real fun began. Time for the team triple drift competition. Team Mint Tyres Motorsports team consisted or myself, Steve (the tyre man) Whitbread and Belinda Challis. As a team we did really well last year and came second, but this year due to unforseen events belinda was unable to compete taking our triple drift down to a double drift with just myself and Steve.Each team had to put in there qualifying runs we managed to qualify 8th. Each driver can score a certain amont of points so from the start we were at a disadvantage being one driver down. Time for us to go out on track and give it our best shot!
First Battle was against Team D3. We knew we had to perform to our best as with one driver down before even starting we could only score 2/3rds of the total points. Putting in some good angle and close driving with someone as good as steve made it easy. Sadly it was'nt quite enough. Losing to D3 by just 4 points they took the win. If we had a 3rd driver we would of gone through. Such is life.
Despite our disadvantage, myself and Steve did our best and enjoyed the track time. We'll be back for the team event next year and we'll be aiming for the top!

British Drift Championship 2011 - Round 1

Round 1 of the 2010 British Drift Championships and i couldnt wait to get out drifting again. This round saw us at Donnington Launch Pad. To liven up the track they added a wall to brush the back end passed! Quality.
With handbrake playing up, weight transfer flick entrys were the call of the day. I was happy with how things went in practise and was managing to get very close to all the clipping points including the wall. I even managed to do a few passenger rides while in my practise session. It was a dry, sunny day so smoking out the track was a must.
The wall was the best part of the track. Daring yourself to get as close to it as possible, wanting to scrape it without wiping yourself out certainly get your adrenaline pumping.
Time for the qualifying. Same system as usual, 1 practise lap and then straight into your judged runs. On both runs managing to get some awesome angle, smoke, speed and hitting the clipping points saw me into the top 16.
Onto the Battles. My first twin battle saw me up against Keith Hammond Myself to be the lead car. Keith using a borrowed car due to being unable to use his own. I managed to open up a large gap between us and still rub the wall which saw me take the win.
 Next up Keith to be the lead car. As i manged to match his speed, angle and stay close to him, i managed to take the overall win and go on to the next round of battles. I was into the top 8. Well done to Keith for doing so welll in the car he had borrowed as he was'nt used to it.
Alan Green was my next twin battle. On the first run, again with me as the lead car i managed to open up a gap  and Alan managed to spin so i took the first win. On the second battle with Alan as the lead car, i managed to match his angle and speed. With Alan making some small errors i went through to take the overall win. So far so good, through to the top 4.
Onto my 3rd twin battle. This time up against Matt Carter. Matt was the lead car and is a top class drifter with alot of skill so i knew this was going be a good battle. Although i gave it all i had and managed to match Matt as best i could and stay with him, an error on my part saw Matt take the win on our first battle. With me leading on the second battle against Matt, he matched my every move as i knew he would and kept so close that he went on to take the overall win.
Now the pressure was really on as i lined up against Declan Munelly for the battle for 3rd or 4th. Declans mk1 Escort is an amazing bit of kit. Always totally on the throttle from the start to the finish and changes direction quicker than the wind itself! With my big heavy soarer up against a tiny light escort i didnt think i stood a chance. Declan to lead first, surprisingly to myself and everyone watching i matched his every move, speed and angle and was shocked to take the win!
Lining up again at the start, this time it was myself as the lead car and Declan as the chase car. With everything to play for we were off. Somehow i managed to make some ground between us and pull quite a large lead on him. The crowd couldnt believe it..........but neither could i! With the battle over it was time to go into the centre of the track to find out who got position.
The judges gave me the overall win! I took the 3rd place position on the podium!
All in a weekends work :)
Matt Carter(right) took 2nd and Mark Luney(middle) took 1st place

British Drift Championship 2010

Coming Soon!

The New Soarer Build

Coming soon!

Entering the British Drift Championship

In 2009, still using my trusty old black barge (or soarer as its more commonly known) i entered my first real competition. The British Drift Championship. Not really knowing what to expect or how i'd do, my only option was to give it all i could and thats just what i did. The venues for the 5 rounds of BDC were:
Round 1 : Donnington Launch Pad : 11th April
Round 2 : Llandow Curcuit : 23rd May
Round 3 : Lydden Hill : 13th June
Round 4 : Norfolk Arena : 28/29/20 August
Round 5 : Llandow Curcuit : 19/20th September
 With alot to learn, me on Llandow Curcuit at round 2. Some graphics had found there way onto the car by now, tho within the next 2 rounds bordem forced me to change them.
 Getting better round by round. Lydden Hill saw the introduction of star graphics to the car which im pretty much known by now. Lydden Hill was a brilliant track that took some getting used to but i like to think i sussed it out.
 Half way through the season, myself in the soarer, Ashley Stevens in his S13 and Andy Redmond in his S14a joined up to make a team. Being in a team for the first time made things easier as you all help each other out and also have alot of laughs along the way. 'Team Scream' was born.
 By the end of the 2009 BDC i had learnt a lot and also managed to secure several top 8 finishes and a 3rd place podium. Not bad for my first time in competition. The end of 2009 saw me promoted to the Pro Class so i knew i had to up my game. Although i loved the soarer i knew then that to keep competeitive i would have to make alot of changes to the engine and get a lot more power out of it. The wallet panic's again!

From Humble beginings

So back to the very begining we go when i decided to leave single seater racing and learn the art of drifting. Looking around for a car was my first job. You cant drift if you dont have a car!
I found a Toyota Soarer 2.5 TT for sale and after checking it out decided that was the car for despite people telling me i was making a mistake as its too big and heavy.
Ok, so it needed some work, but everyone has to start somewhere! The engine was pretty stock too. Though it did have 1 or 2 extras like a weld in rollcage.
 Then it was time for the moment of truth. Time to see if i could drift it. Surprisingly for such a stock, heavy car i managed to get her drifting and was picking it up alot better than i expected. Seems motorsport is in my blood.
After my first DWYB (Drift what you brung) day at Santa Pod Raceway, i knew i'd be back. I was hooked. From then on in my mind started working overtime. What can i change?, what can i buy? when can i go drifting again? i could already feel my wallet panicing.
 It was'nt long before i decided it needed a full respray, new bodykit and new skid rims
Nice Arse!!!!!!! much better than the old one. This was back in 2008 and this Soarer saw me through more DWYB days and demo's than i can remeber. It also managed to help me gain my Semi-Pro drift licence so i could compete in the British Drift Championship.
Times have changed massively now and although i dont use this soarer anymore i still have her tucked up in my lock-up 4 years later. Sitting next to my new High Spec Soarer which i currently use to compete. Some things are worth keeping :)