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    ISSUE FIVE - BRITISH DRIFT CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 1

    ISSUE FIVE - BRITISH DRIFT CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 1

    After a frantic week repairing the car after the crash at 3 Sisters, the car was running and ready for an event in what seemed like the first time in ages. I was ready to give the new, revolutionised British Drift Championship the best I could on my return.

     

    Instantly, the vibe of the event was completely different. It felt edgy, almost cut-throat. Everyone knew that if you were going to make waves, or get results, you had to be on your ‘A game’.

    S15-DRIFT-LENSO-WESTLAKE

    The balance of driver/spectator excitement had been addressed with a much higher focus on making the event a spectator frenzy. David Egan comes across, to me, as less of an ‘event organiser’; and more of a ‘team captain’ wanting to send his drivers into the cauldron.

     RX7-FD3S-7TWENTY-STYLE14-FOR-SALE-UK-SLIDE-MOTORSPORT-DRIFT

    Watching him address the Drivers’ Briefing reminded me more of Big Chief from Street Outlaws; laying down the new rules, explaining how to ensure the best possible content appears over the live stream to present to the world the level that British drifting can reach. He does this, not in a condescending way, or with an air of superiority, but as one of us, a fellow drifter, driver and all around motorsport enthusiast.

     

    The Pro-Am class in the BDC this year looks insane. I estimate around 80% of the cars are pushing over 500HP, and most of them feature Wisefab, semi-slick tyres and are built to a level that could easily hold their own in the Pro Class. When I last did a full championship back in 2014, a 350/400 HP SR would see you nicely in the middle to top end of the field. Now with our car on the lower end of that scale we are seriously behind in the power stakes.

    JZX100-DRIFT-CAR-BDC-WESTLAKE

    I set the car up for a medium to high rear grip, and headed out to practice. The first half of practice went well and, as the session was progressing, I was edging out towards the unforgiving walls, and I was feeling confident that the car would be able to be competitive.

    S14-STYLE-49-FITMENT-MODIFIED-LOW-COILOVERS-UKATEN

     For the time being, I was stuck with the 3.9 diff which was still really too long to make 3rd a useable gear from an upshift. Despite this, with the first section of the track nailed in 2nd, I wanted to hook up third for the final section. However, to do this I needed to run with much less rear grip, so we changed the setup to do this. The first run with this set up in the final section either 3rd didn’t hook up at all or I put it into 5th. I wasn't sure either way, I was still not used to the new box so I tried again and the same thing happened. I was confident I had third, so decided to loosen up the rear even more to see if the car would spin up in 3rd.

     

    On my next lap there was a loud bang on initiation into the first corner and the car shutdown and ground to a sudden halt, the car wouldn’t move at all. I instantly thought our new gearbox set up had gone, or the diff had gone, It felt pretty much like a weekend ender.

     

    The car was dragged back to the pits with the rear end sounding very unhealthy. To make matters worse, because of the difficulty moving the car, the front bumper took a heavy beating when under tow!

     

    A quick investigation by Hywel and the Race Day Developments guys diagnosed a sticky caliper on the right rear, after a quick bleed the system seemed fine. In all the years driving I have never experienced this, it was frustrating it had to happen now and we lost valuable practice time.

     

    By the time I had got back to the line there had been a crash and a oil leak on circuit, we lost nearly an hour of practice because of the clean up and putting improved barriers in place I thought I may have had another lap of practice but practice was over.

     

    With limited knowledge of the car, and a lack of seat time, and having missed half of practice it was decided that the RDD team would put the car back to how it was originally, and dial in even more grip so we could do the entire track in 2nd.

     BRITISH-DRIFT-CHAMPIONSHIP-S14-ROUND-1-7TWENTY-COILOVERS

    Qualifying came around and with the new super grippy set up, I was ready to give it my best shot. It was the most nervous I’ve been in years, qualifying has always been a strong point of mine, I rarely ever qualified outside the top 16 but not being 100% confident in the car this time I wasn't so sure, and it showed.

     

    First qualifying lap, after initiating at clip 1 the car just bogged down and by clip 2 the car was straight. I continued the run to get some idea of how the car performed around the rest of the track. The final section was much better but the new grippy setup was going to be a challenge in the first section. I began to notice a strange banging noise on rotation from the rear of the car and feared our earlier issue may not be solved.

     

    With a couple of text messages telling me a lot of the field had ‘zeros’, I decided to make my second run a ‘safe run’; something I have never done before. Normally if I have had a zero on my first run in qualifying I would say to myself ‘that's the safe run gone - it’s all or nothing on this one’. The safe run was more than safe it was abysmal, literally pathetic, and as the rest of the scores came in we tumbled from around 23rd down to 32nd and somehow for the last few runs we stayed there. Safe to say I will never be putting in a ‘safe run’ again.

     

    For my first battle back in the BDC I was up against the first place qualifier Mark Gemmell, in a turbocharged V8 350z (I think). I didn't know much about him, which wasn't a surprise because in my couple of years out of competition driving most of the guys I had driven with over the years have either decided to take the route of enjoying practice days and chilling, or progressed through to Pro Class.

     

    Either way I knew he was going to be fast, I knew so long as I kept up with him at a start and I stuck to my motto ‘Twin no matter what’ I could hopefully give him a run.

     350z-drift-s14-twinning

    The Pro am coverage hasn’t been re uploaded as to date so I can’t comment on this objectively or how it looked from the outside, but from the inside I felt like I had a good run out of the gate in the chase position I initiated late and hard. As I slid out deep into clip 2 he was already on the power way before me, I had to modulate not to overshoot clip 2 and from then on it was a catch up game. As I have said before I want to twin no matter what so I continued to drift the circuit, but cut the course short in a number of areas to try and regain proximity, as I would rather that over ‘hedging my bets and doing a safe chase run a few lengths back’.

     BRITISH-DRIFT-CHAMPIONSHIP-S14-ROUND-1-350Z-7TWENTY-COILOVERS

    Even taking a shallower line it was not enough to close the gap and he walked the first run, I have been told (again I have no idea) on the whole it was a 7-3 advantage across the judges. The reverse battle much like my qualifying run lacked aggression the car was still just too grippy for the first section, but I knew that if I wanted to take the win it would require a large mistake from him so I just kept pushing it and maintaining drift.

     joe-ankers-style-49-wheels-7twenty-coilovers-s14

    Again I have no idea what actually happened, apparently he did a few straightens behind me, probably due to my shallow line, some people said that the second run was a 5-5 but I don’t really have a clue. Either way when the flag came down at the end of the run it was him that had won.

     

    To be honest at this point I wasn't disappointed at all, I was relieved after 2 years of problem after problem. We had come to an event in a car that looks relatively badass and put some points on the board. The car needs a lot of work if it’s going to be competitive, but considering inconveniences and the issues we had it’s a huge step in the right direction.

     joe-ankers-style-49-wheels-7twenty-coilovers-s14

    Upon further inspection, it was determined that we had damaged a drive shaft throughout the day which may have contributed to the poor performance. We took the rest of the weekend to chill and watch the main event, The Pro class was a fantastic spectacle, thrashing all BDC previous attendance and viewing figures.

     r32-skyline-drift-japseed-maxxis-garage-d-

    The Irish were in town, hoping to make their mark here in 2017, but it was not to be. I had mentioned to Ffion the night before that Matt Carter was going to be the man to beat, the circuit was a chase driver’s dream and at the minute he’s still, in my mind, the top chase driver in the BDC at the moment.

     s15-nissan-vs-r34

    Oliver Evans, a Fellow North Walian, took the win in Pro-Am and smashed his way to second in the Pro competition behind the championship leader Matt Carter.

     

     

    Till next time, take it easy!

    Joe

     

     

    Images By  : FJ Photography | Street Track Life | Beasy Media | Shaun Woods Media

     

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    • Previous Blog Issues

    Issue Two - The Irish Drift Championship

    Issue Three -  Drift Matsuri 

    Issue Four -  BDC The Preparation

    ISSUE THREE - DRIFT MATSURI - ANGLESEY CIRCUIT

    ISSUE THREE - DRIFT MATSURI - ANGLESEY CIRCUIT

    Drift matsuri is one of the very few events in the drift calendar that makes me believe that drifting in Britain still has some connection & parallels with the kind of events that take place in the motherland of our chosen pastime. Open tracks, the widest range of driving talents i have ever seen,  an insane mix of cars and a shitload of seat time.

     

    Drift-matsuri-s13-200sx-anglesey

    I'm lucky enough for it to be held once a year on a circuit a few miles away from where I grew up, and not too far away from where I currently live.

     

    The circuit is divided up into 3 tracks: the ‘Practice Hairpin’, the ‘Touge Track’ (part of the coastal circuit, also known as Hill / Mountain track) and the ‘Fast Track’ (Club Circuit). Each one has their pros and cons, but either way all of them are excellent fun and it’s definitely worth spending time on all of them over the Matsuri weekend. Here’s a brief insight into the chosen configurations.

     

    Drift-matsuri-urchfab

    The Hairpin is an area of the circuit which, for sure, is under used. It has no tyres lining the track and allows you to really test the limits of your ability and car setup with minimal risk. I tested out the car here before moving on to the other tracks!

     

    My personal favourite is the Coastal; in particular the section from the start line up to the back straight. From the first drift day held at the circuit (around 2013), I have always said that section of track is one of the best sections of track in the UK, and I feel there is some potential here for a great competition layout.

     

    Drift-matsuri-walton-motorsport-rocketbunny-cosmis

    The layout provides a challenge for all drivers and car set ups, and there are a number of lines to be taken, dependant on your style. My personal favourite is to attack the Hill Section with as much speed as possible throwing the car over the crest already sideways using as much angle as possible to slow the car down for a solid 3rd gear pull onto the back straight. Which is what I have been working on in the previous years.

     

    The Coastal Circuit continues onto a tight 180 hairpin left and a 90 degree right to finish. This brings you back around to the start line queue, with the option to hit the pits for a fresh set of rubber or move onto the Fast Drift Circuit (Club Circuit).

     

    Drift-matsuri-s14-200sx-sr20det-sr20-joe-ankers-ukaten-7twenty-style-49-style49-18x10.5-hyperblack

    Unfortunately Matsuri for me didn’t go to plan and I only managed a couple of passes up the hill in somewhat sketchy & patchy conditions, trying to get used to a new set up with a poorly car.

     

    I have put together a little video of one of the last runs before I had to call it a day. This pass over the hill has a little extra manji on the climb up the hill than I would normally like to do. However, it was still fun and I seemed to be getting some accuracy on the line after a few sketchy runs. While getting used to the rebuilt S14, I was happy tagging a few nice rear clips.

     

    The Fast Circuit is basically 3 corners, a fast 90 degree left onto a strait and into a banked 180 degree right into a large 4th gear (in your 300bhp Stock SR20DET and SR Gear Box) 90 degree right. This course is a challenge, and to do it well requires some serious commitment. The first straight is linkable with a huge transition, or even with a single manji, which if you're progressing from Manjis working onto a transition gradually increasing the speed and commitment, the feeling of nailing it is amazing. However, a lot of dudes think that the aim is to get as many manjis per straight as possible, after all you can do what you like, but it does mean that it can get tricky at times (Although personally for me 6 manjis per straight is a waste of speed and tyres).

     

    s14a-Drift-matsuri-2016-japspeed-wing-bgw-westlake-tyres

    The 180 degree hairpin is deceiving as the bank means you can hit it with way more speed than you think, the following straight again is about maintaining speed and getting your initiation for the fastest corner timed right for maximum angle and speed.

     

    The event has a really chilled vibe and the fact it’s a 2 day event really removes a lot of the pressure you would get on a practice day, the seat time was great and some of the drift train lengths were into double figures.

     

    retro-drift-championship-hyro-handbrake

    The weekend didn't come without its casualties this kind of event takes its toll on cars if not mechanically then certainly aesthetically and it wasn't just the grassroots guys, some of the Pro level drivers see this as the last event of the year so quite often like to see it off with an actual bang.

     

    celica-works-wheels-equips-03-drift-fitment-15-inch

    One guy keeping a lot of the drivers on tack, either with repairs, recovery or even getting parts shipped to the track throughout the weekend was Hywel Rosenthal. He is the MD of local garage Race Day Developments (RDD) with the help of his mechanic Olly had a busy weekend repairing drift cars. Some of you will know that RDD have sponsored me over the last few years, but this weekend Hywel was kept busy by not just myself but many other drivers. Just the few times I managed to catch up with him he was welding lower arms, hubs, steering racks! There are a few people missing from this list but a run down of the people i can remember he has helped in one way or another are: Marc Huxley, Ryan lawrence, Adam Agatowski, Sid Crowfoot, Stuart Roy, Nat Younger, Chris Bate, Hayden Jones, Jesse Ashley on behalf myself and all the people he helped I think he is definitely worthy of some thanks!

     

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    This year the night fight for me was not quite as good as the previous 2 years (2014 was a full BDC level comp ran on the BDC circuit which was ruled by a fantastic drive by James Deane. 2015 was an insane open pit session on the fast track in the dark which I was lucky enough to drive in). This year saw the return of competition format on the reverse of the BDC layout and then continued around to the back of the circuit. For me it was too spread out and not as focused as when the BDC layout is used (especially from the spectators point of view). That said, people doing insane drifts in the dark is never a bad thing!

     

    Drift-train-matsuri-2016-anglesey

    The following day, drifts resumed, albeit with a few sore heads after the ‘Party In The Pits’ (featuring a questionable DJ). The chilled vibe continued and the seat time was phenomenal, unfortunately still sitting out the day with the car not 100%, I took time to spectate from some of the more remote parts of the circuit, the coastal and mountainous views are spectacular and well worth the 15 minute walk up the hill.

     

    s13-twin-200sx-240sx-drift-180sx-rps13-kinzurkits

    Probably the highlight of the weekend was getting a few laps out with TJ Berney and the Irish guys. There’s no reason for me to hide the fact I have huge respect for TJ, the guy bossed the IDC Pro Am in a car not much higher spec than my own, here are a few clips from the laps I got with him, including a classic drift save moment!

     

    Drift Matsuri has never disappointed and this one was no different, as a driver a spectator and a drift fanatic Matsuri's are here to stay, my only hope is they become more common, less oversubscribed and sensationalised and be about drivers getting out on track together!

     

    Driftworks-anglesey-e36-v8-supercharged

    Til’ next time, as always check out these useful links, and take it easy!

     

    Joe Ankers

     

     

    • All photos this issue by FJ photography

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    • Drift Matsuri

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    • Previous Blog Issues

    Issue One - The Introduction

    Issue Two - The Irish Drift Championship

    ISSUE TWO - THE IRISH DRIFT CHAMPIONSHIP

    ISSUE TWO - THE IRISH DRIFT CHAMPIONSHIP

    In recent years there’s no doubt that the most pioneering drift series in the world has been the IDC. This entertainment machine has been the brainchild of David Egan who, with the support of his team, has utilised his foresight, vision and drive to not only increase the popularity and fanbase, but it’s respect within the huge pool of top level drivers throughout the world.

     

    irish drift championship kevin quinn Tomas Kiely Drift battle IDC

    It takes a lot of effort to run a minor drift event (in previous years I’ve judged at grass roots competitions, and the amount of effort behind the scenes was unbelievable). To be able to run a national series, take what has been achieved to date, and then push it beyond what anyone could ever have expected. Then to do it again with the British Drift Championship just proves what a force the management and media team are.

     

    irish drift championship s14 ae86 drift tiwn v8

    So what is it about the Irish Drift Championship that draws the crowds, viewers and drivers from all over the world. Let’s be honest some of it has to be down to the fact that it’s in Ireland and there are some things that are a given;  The Irish Culture, the mentality towards motorsport, the skill and tenacity in which they compete, even their accent just draws you in. Then before you know it, you’ve spent 8 hours of your weekend watching people drive around sideways, probably in terrible conditions, on your laptop and then the IDC made you feel like it was an acceptable use of your weekend, and then proceed to check the price of cheeky ferry over to the next round.

     

    R32 dealth width nankang tyres Drift IDC Brian Egan

    I think it’s taken a lot more than clever brand awareness and a livestream to convert this championship into what it has become today, and looking at it from a driver's perspective may be able to give a slightly different insight into this.

    Kieran Hynes and his judging comrades have transformed the way in which UK drifting has been approached for a number of years now. He has been pivotal in improving the quality of drifting by implementing track layouts with entertainment in mind; and pushing drivers to change the mentality of how you approach a battle.

     

    GS300 Aristo IDC 2jz 4door drift mondello park stone motorsport

    From my own past experience of drivers’ briefings in the BDC, they would tend to end in minutes of boring discussions based on something like ‘if the lead car goes off line, as the chase car what do I do?’ (especially if I’m being boring and leaving a gap). It felt to me like people just wanted to try and work out the safest way to win. Where as now, there is never any doubt: the chase drivers can have the confidence to throw the car sideways right on the lead car’s door every time, because the judges are able to make the distinction if the lead car makes a mistake, especially with instant replays. There’s really no reason to hold back, and if you do, you’ll be penalised.

     

    low brain drifter v8 ps13 drift idc 2016

    I’m lucky enough to have been over to the IDC a number of times in the 2016 season (mainly due to living so close), including Round 1 and Japfest - Final Fight. Both of these rounds were held at the iconic home of drifting in Ireland: Mondello Park. Attending these events during my year out from driving has really made me focus on how I want my style to develop.

     

    prodrift acadamy drift wall run FC rx7

    When you watch the guys over in the IDC, the styles on display vary so much from driver to driver, it means you are never really sure what’s about to happen next. Across all classes they have guys who are pinpoint consistent like TJ Berny and James Deane. Driving against them, if you made a mistake, you’ll be sure to be going home. On the other hand you have guys like Mark McBurney, Mike Fitz and the Shannahan’s, anything less than your most outrageous wall riding, clutch kicking, bumper destroying run will see you fall short of their inch-perfect danger drifts. I can only imagine that the way to approach the IDC as a driver is to go maximum attack, every run, every clip, every wall; or if you don’t, then you may as well be watching from the grandstand.

     

    Jack Shanahan drift s13 drift IDC wall run Celica

    Next issue is out soon, till then take it easy and check these links!

     

    • All photos this issue by FJ photography

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    • The Irish Drift Championship

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