First lets get something out of the way, if you’re wondering why the name “The Woolpack” sounds familiar, its probably because you’ve been brought up watching a program on TV by the name of Emmerdale or Emmerdale Farm.
In the early days, before a puprose built village set was built, the program was filmed in and around a small village in West Yorkshire called Esholt. The pub in the village is the same pub that was used in the program and this was the location for tonights classic car meet.
I had known for a while that they held regular car meets here but had never ventured to one, but when a friend of mine phoned to ask if I fancied going I thought “Sure, why not?”
We got down there just after 7pm and it was already in full swing, the rear car park was packed out, and the late arrivals were filling up the street in front of the pub. The variety of cars on display was really something! Especially in such a small area!
There were classic VW Beetles, Mini’s, Ford’s, Morgan’s, Land Rover’s and even a couple of classic American cars in the form of one 1930’s Cadillac V16 and a 70’s Dodge Charger…
even a few more modern cars had managed to sneak in!
My good friend Ste even brought his Escort along:
I’m hoping to do a bit of a feature on this car soon!
The atmoshpere was relaxed, and the pub had even laid on a barbecue overall it was a great way to spend a few hours out of the house.
When I wrote the last blog about round 1 I was also very excited at the thought of seeing the championship land in Sunderland for round 3 but there was a catch.
As the date crept in closer a worry set in, no venue was announced would the event get cancelled? Then as if they could read my mind the post came up….. BDC would now be held at Teesside for round 3. I love Teesside for drifting and in my eyes it is the home of British drifting so although it’s further away I couldn’t complain.
I now had a chance to see if there was progress in the future for BDC. I would see how much had changed since round 1.
Where do I start, well I guess from the start, sadly I didn’t make it to the practiced day but I was up bright and early on Saturday for pro Am. when I arrived it was clear someone had been reading the last post the trade section was full of life and well actually, it was full in general. It had a variety of stalls including Driftnuts/Project touge, Walton motorsport (which felt like a real shop this time), Ratrap and BDC merch. That wasn’t all the trade area had many cars on display which filled the voids and made it feel like it flowed well. The music from the RC track and the live stream playing at Walton motorsport stall made the area seem more alive.
So overall the improvement hadn’t been drastic but it was a big step in the right direction.
Right down to the action
It’s no secret I was hoping to see Ian Rutherford do well and I was in for a treat but before that we had the pleasure of seeing some drivers put it all on the line.
The day wasn’t without its victims Jolene was one of the first to fall from grace after putting in excellent runs during practice and fighting gearbox issues it seemed she was going to be a worthy contender but it all went downhill with a bang on Southbank as her diff give up the go (insert hello darkness my old friend song).
William Hanna was soon to follow retiring for unknown reasons it was a real shame to not see these drivers in battle.
Another return for this round was team battles. As a spectator this was a nice addition, hopefully in time more teams will take part. Sadly although the team runs were fun to watch they held a heavy price for Nerijus Voliukevicius seeing his skyline burst into flames at the end of the run. Thankfully the fire was put out fast but meant he wouldn’t make it to his battle with Maciek Blazejewski.
Throughout the day the new comer Maciek ran a nice high line round southbank which helped see off the competition and put him in contention for his first podium. Veterans of the sport would not make the fight easy as Ian Rutherford and karl Farrar also landed into in the battle for a podium.
The day ended seeing new comer Maciek land in a well deserved 3rd, Ian 2nd and karl 1st. It was fantastic to see Ian end the day on the podium as a regular at Teesside.
After an impressive day 1 it seemed the bar had well and truly been stepped up. Practice went well and was rather uneventful seeing most drivers take a safe approach. The weather had been fantastic up until qualifying then it all went wrong…………….
The track turned into a pool and most people ran for cover in the driftnuts tent.
Thankfully the rain was short lived and action was back underway after using the drift cars to dry the track.
As the drifting got back underway we had the pleasure of seeing drivers of days gone including Sweeps the founder of BDC, the king of style Alex Law and fast and furious Scotty. Although there weren’t many returning faces it defiantly gave BDC the feeling that a void had been filled. Hopefully the team at BDC will continue to invite drivers back.
The real heroes of drifting.
The staff at BDC had kindly gave me pit access for this event so as qualifying wrapped up I headed to the pits to see what was happening. Something that is overlooked by many is the people that keep the cars on track and I wanted to catch a small look into the hard work of the teams.
As teams ran to each others aid many cars sat in what appeared to be a state of disrepair.
Sadly no matter how good the team were some cars sadly did not manage to make it back out but in amazing fashion some seemed to perform miracles bringing the monsters back from the dead.
Time for war
Onto battles it went sadly the low origin got bumped out in qualifying but the battles had some heavy hitters paired up early on. Sadly one of my favourites Martin Wonnacott got knocked out prematurely after a tough battle and destroying the rear of he car on the final wall …. again, poor car
I think it is fair to say something had happened since round 1 the level of driving had really hit another level, at the start of the year I thought it would be a walk in the park for Aurimas but many driver had really brought the fight
The man on a mission was Ricky Lawrence fighting off many big names and eventually battling it out in the final to see off Aurimas for first place.
Well many companies ask their customers what they need to change and they clearly don’t listen was BDC the same?
As amazing as it seems the staff at BDC really had stepped up and cover absolutely everything mentioned in the previous blog.
Everything from the trade area, old school drivers and even the commentators had all been stepped up.
If the BDC keeps up this standard and still builds on it there will be a promising future.
How can you not love this car really? With a real JDM feel and a nice reminder of Ken Nomura’s D1GP car Lee Barker has been around for a few years and is a big fan favourite and I must admit having a death or glory sticker on his car defo makes me love it more.
Sadly Lee was knocked out earlier on in the day but with a consistent driving style and the confidence to run the wall he is a driver to watch in the future.
Ever since I first started drifting, Driftland had been a bit of a goal for me.
I knew I had to drift there at some point and in 2018 I was offered a chance to do just that by taking part in the Rogue Concept charity event organised by good friend Ewan Stark. Sadly this didn’t end up happening as a couple of days before the event the engine of my beloved Skyline started to get a bit “tappy”. Thankfully it turned out to only be the water pump, however this was only discovered after the event.
So as you can imagine when he asked me earlier this year if I’d like to take part again I jumped at the chance!
I picked up a trailer from Rothwell Trailers early Friday morning, and headed home. When I arrived the Land Rover started to die and wouldn’t start up again. After some discussion with a friend of mine and a close examination of the fuel receipt from the petrol station that morning. I realised in my half asleep state I had picked up the wrong pump nozzle and filled the truck with petrol instead of diesel. At this point I started getting a strange sense of deja vu, was I ever going to get up to one of these events?!?
Thankfully my friend Ste came round and helped me drain the tank before filling it with Diesel after which, the truck fired right up! Crisis averted!
I then got the car loaded on the trailer, and got the Disco packed with all the necessary tools, wheels etc. and I along with my better half Lucy and our dog Benji were on our way.
There’s no denying the journey up to our hotel for the night was long but nevertheless it was so picturesque, and the roads were so quiet!
The next morning we had an early start, albeit not as early as other drift day mornings! We arrived at the track for 8:30am and got straight to work preparing the car for the day ahead.
Shortly after briefing, where we learned the layout for the morning ahead, it was time to hit the track!
Track time was split into 5 minute sessions for a maximum of 6 cars at a time. As it was my first time driving here I wanted to get straight out and get a feel for the track. My first session didn’t quite go to plan, Somehow, even though I had checked them before going out I had way more pressure in the tyres than I wanted so I spent the majority of the first session spinning! Although I did manage a couple of half decent skids despite holding up those on track with me!
After I’d been back to the pits to correct my tyre pressures (and a quick pep talk from Ewan), I headed back out for my second session, this time the car felt much better as far as grip was concerned, and I managed a few more decent skids (as well as the car stalling on one spin out and not start for what felt like forever!, this caused me to get a telling off by the marshals when I got off track.)
After this run I had a better understanding of what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do for my next session so I headed straight back out. Sadly this time, it seemed everyone else’s turn to impede me, every time I got ready for the big corner, someone had already spun just in front so I only managed a few skids on the tighter corners at the bottom of the track.
After a break and a drink I headed back out determined to push myself harder than ever! Sadly the Skyline had other ideas and as I initiated for the big corner… nothing happened, I just carried on driving straight on!
What was wrong? I tried a skid on the tight corners and it felt like either the clutch was slipping or I was only spinning one wheel (impossible unless my diff had become an open diff again??)
I headed back to the pits and it was making a number of strange noises, from a ticking noise that sounded like it was coming from the back of the engine when revved (which disappeared shortly after!) to the engine sounding lumpy at best. I let it cool for a bit as it was nearly lunch time.
During the lunch break all cars were due to be out on the track for a meet and greet type thing/photoshoot. I drove the Skyline down and it sounded okay again… strange! So I thought well I’ve got a trailer so if the worst happens I can still get it home, so as soon as lunch was over and afternoon briefing was over I headed straight back out!
I tried initiating in the tight turns and as I was expecting it to still not be working I spun! “Great!” I thought, “it’s working again, lets go!” so I accelerated towards the big turn initiated and …. nothing.
I took myself off track and as I sat in the pit talking to Lucy, the car started to idle really lumpy! Sadly this was the end of my day, I wasn’t prepared to keep going out, knowing full well that I was just getting in people way and if I hadn’t fixed it I would just be a moving roadblock for them. So I packed up and hung out with Lucy and Benji for a bit watching everyone else smashing it around the track.
You might think that after so much effort and preparation I would be feeling down hearted about the whole thing, and I will say there have been times in the past where I have come away from a drift day feeling frustrated and beating myself up for various things, but this time it’s the complete opposite!
For the first time I have come away from a drift day with a clear idea of where I was going wrong, and what I can do to improve. But what about the car? Well as a drifter its an occupational hazard, cars break some times especially when you’re beating on them at the track, thats exactly why I got my trailer license, so that if it did happen I was safe, As soon as I get a dry day I will diagnose the issue with the car and fix it, if it needs a new engine so be it, it will take longer before I can get back on track but, if thats what it takes. I’m fine with that!
The other thing that has stopped me from having a downer on the whole thing was the fact that I actually felt like I was part of something for a change! In the past I’ve gone to drift days and for what ever reason I’ve been on my own, I tried talking to people but they were either busy or just didn’t want to know. This time I had people coming up to me, chatting about the car, and how I was doing on track, and I chatted to them about their cars and had a bit of a joke with them.
Now let’s get this pig fixed and get back on track!
The day started pretty much like any drift day, get up at an insanely early hour and head to the track.
This time Lucy would be taking the Laurel for it’s first proper turn around an actual track, and I would be there to offer advice/ have a go in her car too!
We arrived at the track just after 8:30am and fellow Death or Glory member Craig had saved us a space in the pits, being local he got there before us. The sun was already beating down as we set up ready for her first session.
Briefing took place and after a couple more checks on the car she was ready to go!
We focussed on the West course, being tighter and more technical we felt it offered a better place for Lucy to learn how to control the car around the corners. If you’ve only ever done donuts and figure eights around cones, moving to a track changes things completely!
We started out just driving around getting a feel for the layout, and getting her back in the mindset of her previous drift day (at Santa Pod) or at least this was the intention… To my surprise on her first run she was already trying to get the feel of those clutch kicks again.
Over the course of the morning she managed some good skids and also worked on undoing some of the habits she’d got into at Pod. Nothing major, just little things, for instance, when you start out by learning donuts you can often get the backend to break loose by turning in tighter, however if you do this on a race track one of two things happen:
If you don’t have enough speed you either end up cutting the corner and coming off track (and smashing aero, the front bumper was the first to go!)
If you have enough speed but don’t quite get your clutch kick right, turning in tighter causes you to understeer and the car to go straight on (I did this a lot on my first few times out and its a real pain to get out of the habit of doing!)
Having said that it didn’t take her long at all to realise this and start to correct herself. She put in run after run, pushing herself every time, some times getting frustrated at not getting something right, other times getting hyped when she held a good skid!
If you’re thinking of starting out drifting, or you’re new to it and you’re reading this asking yourself “is it common to get frustrated in the early stages?” I would say yes, it is especially for those who don’t start out using the handbrake but instead opt for the clutch kick.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that initiating with the handbrake is the easy option but out of these two ways to get the car sliding it is definitely the option with the least to remember.
I know I went through that phase (probably several times) and others I have spoken to also agreed that feeling frustrated plays a big part in the early days, its all part of the learning process! But keep at it and things will eventually fall into place!
As the day wore on I watched from the passenger seat as Lucy progressed more and more, each run thinking about what she did in the last time and where she might need to improve or change tack.
Overall I thought she did amazingly for her second ever time out! On my second drift day I was still piddling around in the playpens at Pod (big mistake on my part!)
The first corner of West course did prove an issue for her, but after speaking to a few other people who have driven Teesside they all said that they had issues with that corner too early on.
In spite of this it didn’t put Lucy off and she continued to push herself on turns two, three and four, showing some real signs of promise!
Towards the end of the day we did have one fight with a tyre wall. This led to the rear bumper being smashed, however we knew this might happen so we were (sort of) prepared for it.
It was down to not having the car in the right place for the transition and running too wide as she went into the uphill section after turn three, hitting the tyre wall, pushing the rear bumper out of line, and creating a new exhaust hole on the opposite side of the bumper as well as adding a few tyre marks up the rear drivers side 1/4 of the car.
It was great to see her out there, it was as much a learning experience for me as it was for her. I definitely think she will be back on track again, however next time she will more likely be using my Skyline as we have since decided that the Laurel is in far too good shape to use as for skids.
What’s next for the Laurel? The damaged bodykit will be replaced, and much more, but you will have to wait for my future posts to find out more.
With Rogue Concept 2019 being just around the corner, and the Skyline is more or less ready to attend. I thought I would share Driftland’s video from last years event.
If you are in the area this Saturday (4th May) or fancy a drive up to Driftland for the day, please do come along as all proceeds are going to charity and the more people we get in attendance the more money we can raise for a great cause!
So by the time this blog goes live you will have seen the many posts saying how good British Drift Championship is under new management. Now, the question is was it really that good? Was it really that much better?
I have been a big fan of drifting for a long time and remember a time before Dave Egan, I watched the sport grow under his ownership and draw in huge crowds. It’s fair to say Matt Stevenson had some big shoes to fill.
So round one very quickly came around after the new ownership was announced and before I knew it I was throwing my car back together to drive down for PRO AM on the Saturday.
Time for change!
First things first the biggest change of all, the track is in reverse. I had reservations that this would slow the action but how wrong I was! A wild entry really pushed the drivers to their limits seeing many drives having fast paced offs. I have driven Teesside and enjoy the standard layout but this new layout pushed drivers and made the track longer something that was well overdue after damage to the barrier. A very noticeable thing with this layout was that the lower powered cars were having trouble keeping up on the south bank which in turn saw the demise of the underpowered heroes but none the less I enjoyed the battles.
Along with a new layout the Bdc had several other promising additions favourite of all was the massive improvement in technology. Anyone that has attended an event before will remember the shocking PA system, well that has gone and a super clear sound system has you covered from all areas of the track (I could even hear it clearly in the car park).
Another great improvement was the live stream footage on the big screen on both days not just the pro day, this would not have come cheap but gave the people at the track a better view of the action.
Although drones have been used many times in drifting the live stream drones really do bring a whole new level to the viewers at home but truthfully hold very little improvement to spectators at the even as you don’t want to take your eyes of the action to look at the screen if you dont have too.
Another new feature to the day was the addition of a “trade village”. The idea is fantastic probably the best new feature yet but……… it lacked content with only 4 stalls(Walton motorsport, Bdc merch, xite, ratrap RC and a burger van) it felt empty. I really hope Matt hangs on to this idea and builds on it as I really think with the right brands at the event it will push people off the couch and to the event.
The Bdc merch stall also introduced a program which really helped identify drivers and cars (great idea) and its only £2.50 nice keep safe to remember an event.
Back to business.
Overall the two days saw many top-level drivers fall from grace. The second clip seemed to really have the drivers pushed to breaking point, it was very rare to see it done perfect with many drivers dropping wheels or cutting the track. When it went well it really did go well though, if both drivers hit it just right it created an artwork of exciting driving styles.
One of the biggest victims of the new layout was none other than championship favourite Martin Wonnacott. After several good laps it all went down the drain the freshly built chaser took a heavy blow damaging most of the suspension. In true drifting style Martin came back out and pushed hard but the car seemed off its earlier pre-crash form which would later see him knocked out.
As the day went on it really did start to hit home truly how many big name drifter had not returned after the winter break. A huge miss from the grid was the Irish in general, seeing no more than 3 in the battles it felt like something was missing, was it their skill, wild driving style or their energy who knows but they were a big miss. Not only were the Irish a miss but the big names of the past seemed to have vanished crowd favourites like Simon Perry and his son Brett, Driftworks, Richard Dalby Smith, Matt Carter and many more really left the grid feeling a little incomplete. Another real loss for the sport in a way was Matt Stevenson himself one of the very few that would truly destroy his car to please the crowd.
Regardless of the fact I missed the presence these drivers brought to these events, the fresh looking grid did step up and put on a good display of driving. Will this fresh grid grow and win over the fans? Only time will tell but to me it’s looking very promising.
Both days saw strict judging and close call battles even several “one more times” but Aurimas Vaskelis showed dominance throughout and took home first place in his 1000hp e46 bmw.
Would I recommend attending?
OFCOURSE I WOULD! Don’t get me wrong it did seem to feel like something wasn’t quite there yet but this is all new Matt has started totally from the ground up and I am sure that as the year goes on this will start to become one of the best in the world but support is key, show your support and it will grow.
Tomas Falvey threw his beautiful s15 off track and onto the grass as flames curled around the bonnet, marshals ran to his aid but so did Matt Stevenson he could have easily stood back and hoped his team had it covered but instead sprinted to the car. This does show the Bdc is truly in good hands and I look forward to seeing the promising future of BDC and of this sport in the uk.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog keep an eye out for more in the future but until the go give our facebook and instagram a follow
It’s taken a while for me to get around to writing this post, but its finally here.
What is JAE?
For those who don’t know or haven’t been JAE stands for Japanese Automotive Extravaganza, and it is essentially a weekend long car show where like minded Japanese car enthusiasts from all walks of life congregate for two to three days of food, drink, sunshine, silliness and JDM goodness.
For the past few years, Lucy and I have been in attendance mostly as traders (previously with STLTHY.com) and every year we’ve had a blast! Meeting new people, chatting, drinking and looking at the wide variety of vehicles on show, so we were looking forward to heading back to Peterborough show ground and this year we also had the company of Craig, his S13 and a friend of Craig’s.
On arrival we were already surprised by how empty the venue was, but we put this down to the fact that in previous years there had been an extra day before to allow clubs to head down and get set up. So with that in mind we got our tent set up and got to work setting up the trade stand. Then, as it was getting late in the day we cracked open a couple of cold(ish) ones got some food and chilled out for the evening.
The next morning we got up, got the stand open and lay in wait for ur first customers. Throughout the day, it was surprising just how few people there were walking around the trade area. At first we thought it was just because the weather was so warm that people were lazing around making the most of it, but as the day wore on it became clear that this wasn’t the case.
Evening came and we decided to shut up shop for a bit to get some food and then wander round and have a look at the cars on show. This is when we realised just how much smaller than usual the attendance was. In previous years we would be walking for what seemed hours taking photos and chatting to folk, and looking around all you could see was tents, cars and people. But now there was mostly grass with a small cluster of cars and tents in the middle.
Nevertheless there were still some gorgeous cars on show:
Even the atmosphere from previous years felt different, there was a sense that people didn’t really want to be there or at least if they did they weren’t enjoying it as much as usual. I can’t really explain it but the whole thing just didn’t feel the same as it had done in previous years.
It was a real shame to see a show that was once the highlight of so many car clubs and individuals show calendar reduced to this.
A couple of days ago I went with my better half Lucy to her first drift day down at Santa Pod raceway in Northamptonshire.
As we were making a roughly 300 mile round trip I thought it best to put my newly acquired trailer license to use and tow the car down there. That way if anything went wrong we could still get home to fix it. So I booked a trailer hire from Rothwell Trailers (I highly recommend them!) We got the car, spare wheels and tools loaded up. Set the alarm for 4:45am and hit the sack!
At this point if you’ve been to a drift day yourself, or a car meet, or car show, you know what happens, the alarm goes off way earlier than you’re expecting it to, you get up get out of the house and quick as you can and hit the road, and this is exactly what we did.
The journey down there was pretty straight forward aside from Google Maps deciding to set itself to avoid motorways! That gave us a rather nice view of Nottingham centre!
Once we figured out what was going on we set it to not avoid motorways and got back on our way.
We finally arrived at Pod just before 9:30am and promptly got straight into briefing before unloading the car and getting swapping out the rear wheels. She was ready to do her first skid!
The morning started off pretty much as expected just trying to get her used to the feeling of the car when it breaks traction and then trying to make it break by stabbing the clutch pedal. As the morning progressed she start to get to grips with the car more and more and on a lot of occasions we saw the beginnings of her first donuts.
Lunch time came and we sat and chatted about how she was doing and talking over where she was struggling, the main things were:
What to do once the car has broken traction and the steering wheel has gone to full opposite lock.
To make sure you give it enough throttle to start and just listen to the engine to figure out whether the revs are up high enough.
Not to pay attention to the cones for the time being. While they’re good for learning to control the car around them I Think the fear of hitting them was getting in the way of her learning what to do to get around them.
With these in mind she went back out in the afternoon in the only playpen that didn’t have cones and within minutes she was a completely different driver! To the point that before when she had spun out she would immediately let off the throttle and start again, now she was holding it and letting the car skid and feeling her way around what happens when she turns the wheel while the car is spinning up those rear wheels. Before we knew it she had performed her first successful donut, and then another, and another!
As the afternoon progressed you could see that the frustration of the morning had finally lifted, she was correcting herself where she needed to and most importantly she was having fun thrashing that Laurel around the pens, by the end of it she had not only done enough donuts to restock the local Krispy Kreme but had also performed several figure eights!
For me it was amazing to see her out there for the first time after years of watching me and wanting to have a go herself. I can’t wait for her next drift day to see her progress and who knows one day maybe we’ll be driving together!
If you’re thinking of getting started in drifting in the UK, I would definitely recommend checking out Santa Pod’s DWYB days as they offer fenced off, safe areas for you to get to grips with the cars. However I would also advise caution, if your car is lowered you will more than likely find you spend the day listening to bits of bodykit or exhaust bouncing off the ground just as we did.
One of the most common thing you hear in the car scene, “the car scene is dead” well if anyone was going to prove it wrong it was E85.
As everyone knows the winter months really do push cars into hiding, with excessive salt use and dreadful weather it is probably for the best too. That all being said a meet was announced for JANUARY!!!!!!!!!! With much doubt I attended anyway as these meets seem to draw out some rare JDM goodies.
Being one of the first to arrive I had the pleasure of watching the hoards of cars descend on the usually quiet car park. Before I knew it there was a line of cars waiting to get into a car park that was bursting at the seems. Like a scene from the fast and the furious cars revved their engines and played loud music, the event could be heard for miles.
It was only when I stared walking around the true monster showed their face. Feeling like I had just stepped onto the streets of japan I was surrounded with some of the coolest Japanese cars to have ever graced our roads.
From Evo’s to skylines there was a bit of everything but one of the first to really pull me in was a white Nissan s14a.
This car seemed like a lightly modified s14, low with minor body changes that was until you look under the bonnet.
Sporting an rb26 skyline engine this was clearly not your average car. Hats off to the owner this car put most cars to shame tonight and drew some of the biggest crowds.
Although I am a sucker for big RWD cars the Japanese hot hatches brought their A game too. A Suzuki ignis sport parked away from the action really caught my eye, I think its fair to say that these are very underrated sporting a 1.5 engine, bucked seats and a body kit as standard they are a great started car and have a real JDM look.
Several Mazda mx-5s came and went but this one kinda caught my eye with a lightly modified look and an excellent choice of wheels it really did look like a street drift car.
As always there where a few rare cars but the two that got my attention where a volvo(yes I know its not Japanese but its rwd and can drift like a hero) and a rather odd import corolla.
The fun didn’t stop there as far as unusual cars go, have you ever seen a bright yellow Micra with 3 spokes and neon’s ? well you have now!
Whilst we are on the subject of Micra’s I came across this rather clean Micra sporting the death or glory stickers.
Overall E85 drew out some awesome cars for a winter meet and I look forward to the next one.
After a battle for the full month before getting the car ready for the event I bolted on the last few parts the night before the event. As if it wasn’t scary enough drifting my pride and joy I was taking a car I built in the street to an event with NO testing at all, what could go wrong?
I will get it over and done with, I crashed….. Not once, not twice but 3 times. I am by no means a pro drifter but I consider myself quite familiar with Teesside but I was in for a shock, the combination of the new setup and extremely slippy surface got the better of me. After the first big crash into the tyre wall I thought my luck was on the up so I tied the national/bdc track to find my 3rd gear entry confidence far outweighed my skill and I did some off-roading. At this point I knew things had to change so back to the pits I went.
If you’re new to drifting this is the best advice I could ever give you, TYRE PRESSURE. As I had struggled massively with grip I lowered the front pressure to 18psi and the rears to 40psi. A few small adjustments to the rear toe and I was back on track and the car was starting to find its stride.
My confidence in the car had grown and that’s when I had strike 3. I came up the hill on west track on a rather spicy lap a lot wider than I should have washed off the track, as soon as all 4 wheels were on the grass I was a passenger and into the tyre bail I went. Unlike my first meeting with the wall the car came off really well no damage.
Now at this point your thinking give up whilst your cars intact, so that’s exactly what I did. Well I needed the toilet so I came off track emptied the tank and went straight back too it ha.
Every lap after that I bonded more with the car pushing it harder every lap until another driver with a beautiful red sr powered s13 asked if I wanted to try some twinning. I paused when he asked but knew that’s what I came here to do so nervously agreed the first 3 laps where absolutely dreadful and that’s putting it nicely my timing was all over. after a pep talk from my mate Connor I tried again but this time I tried drifting as if he was not there and I worked I couldn’t believe it I was drifting on track with another s13 and a driver I really looked up to. I think forgetting about him helped build my confidence then when I believed in myself the hunt was on.
The reality is I have an underpowered car (shocked face) so chasing that sr powered monster was going to be a challenge for me but I gave it my best shot. I managed several good laps with him before disaster struck…….Powering up the hill a massive bang and the car died it sounded like a rod had ejected my poor little CA. I limped it back to the pit opened the bonnet expecting to see my piston but nothing, no oil, no broken bits what had happened. Thankfully a boost pipe had evacuated the dance floor it was a nice easy fix and I was back at it again in now time.
During my down time fixing the car a new challenge had presented itself the sun had gone and I was surrounded in darkness. Now don’t get me wrong I have slid my car around in the dark but I had never initiated a drift at over 60mph in the pitch black. For the record your car lights are totally useless as soon as you’re sideways the track you need to see is no longer illuminated. That being said it was by far one of the most exciting challenge I had ever faced.
When you read this your probably thinking it sounded like a bit of a stressful day which don’t get me wrong it really was but I must say it was by far the most challenging but fun day I have ever had.
If you ever get the chance to do NYE at Teesside you really should it is like no other drift day and will test your skill in so many ways
I have uploaded a small video of my car during the day follow the link to see how I got on.
photo credit to: ADimages (on instagram and facebook)
So now that I had the basics done on the car it was time to take it to the track and start getting some seat time. I knew being my first time I wasn’t going to be doing anything amazing and I certainly didn’t expect myself to be linking the big track at Santa Pod I just wanted to start getting a feeling for the car and just see how I got on throughout the day. Thankfully my good friend and long time drifter Joe came with me to lend a hand and give me some much needed advice.
I started out simply driving around a cone getting faster and faster until the backend started to step out, this was to get a feel for how the car felt once it started to break free on the back. After a few minutes of doing this in one of the play pens, I then moved on to making the car break traction but kicking the clutch. It took a while to start getting a feel for this as the first few times you do this your natural driving instinct kicks in making you want to let off the accelerator (as though you’re about to change gear.) then when I started to get a feel for this I moved on to trying to stop the car from simply spinning out by trying to control the skid. This took most of the morning but by lunch time I was able to control a skid around a cone in a donuty fashion.
After lunch it was time to try and push myself again and move on to trying to figure eight around two cones. Sadly and though I did enjoy every attempt at it immensely this took me most of the afternoon to get one figure eight linked. There were a couple of important things I learned from this day, besides the basics of how to skid a RWD car.
1. Never be too hard on yourself, even when you think you’re starting to get it, don’t get mad at yourself when you mess up as this only leads to more mistakes.
2. It always helps in those early stages having someone more experienced there to talk over how you’re doing and what you’re finding difficult, if I hadn’t had Joe there with me I don’t think I would have got any where near as far as I did. In fact I’m pretty sure I would have still been spinning round making a smokey mess if it wasn’t for him.
3. Just enjoy yourself, you will get it in the end everyone learns things at different speeds so just because you know one person who managed to link the big course after one day on track, doesn’t necessarily mean you will. Just go out and have a blast!
Sadly all photos and video for this day have been lost.
Last weekend I took a trip to Teesside Autodrome. It had been a while since I had been behind the wheel of my beloved R32 Skyline, and with the wintry weather closing in on us, it seemed like as good a time as any.
As with any drift event, the day started with my alarm going off at some unholy hour and hitting the road, in this case with Lucy in tow in her daily (as my support vehicle). We arrived at the track just after 8:30am and after signing on we got to work setting up my little pit area. My good friend Ste Warrior (who was instrumental in talking me into going in the first place) was also in attendance with his MK2 Ford Escort.
After briefing both Ste and I got ourselves ready to go out on track, I started off by going out for a few runs on my own just to get a feel for the West circuit again. It was where I had spent all of my time when I was last at this track and I set myself the goal of being able to consistently run this circuit without spinning, which for much of the morning seemed like an impossibility.
My early runs were very tentative, I kept my speed low, and more annoyingly I seemed to have forgotten how to initiate properly! For some reason when kicking the clutch I was lifting off the loud pedal and as a result I would either end up initiating too late or not at all.
Thankfully another good friend of mine Joe Birkett was on hand to point out where I was going wrong and after going back to the pits to adjust my front tyre pressures, have a drink and a chat about where he thought I was going wrong, I went back on track and sure enough things started to come good!
As the day wore on I found I was starting to enter the turns with more and more speed, and yes while on some occasions I was still spinning from time to time but not it was because I was pushing myself, NOT because I was being cautious.
By the end of the day my confidence in my driving ability had returned to normal, so much so that I even decided to have at least one go at the infamous (in my eyes) South Bank course.
Overall I had a blast, I got to spend time with my wife and friends doing something I love, and I look forward to doing it again soon!
Photo credits: Ste Warrior, Craig Johnston, and John Bearby
A couple of Fridays ago (16th March) I went along with a friend to a drift day at Oulton Park race circuit. Thankfully I had managed to get the Skyline road legal and ready prior to the event which meant I would be drifting my own car (Yay!!)
As you can imagine the day started extremely early, we hit the road at 5:30 am and arrived at the track just before 7:30 am. Unloaded the cars, tools and spare wheels and then went to sign on and get some breakfast.
Then while we were waiting for briefing we got our cars ready to hit the track, in my case swapping out the 18’s on the rear for a pair of my 16″ drift wheels and checked the tyre pressures etc.
Once Briefing was over we were told to report to the first of the two tracks they have (for the drift day) and line up in pairs ready for the sighting lap. After we had completed the sighting laps it was pretty much up to us which track we then chose. I opted to start on the track 1 as it was known since I felt it would be the best to give the Skyline a bit of a shakedown.
There were a few problems to start with, the main one being that the last time I had drifted was back in September of last year at Teeside, so I was a little out of practice. The next was that it had been raining heavily prior to our arrival so the track was soaked and even if it hadn’t rained the organisers would have soaked the track to keep the “tyre noise” down. The other issue was that for some reason I could get no front end grip so turning in to initiate turned into understeering off of the track.
The lack of front grip was really frustrating, and before long I came off the track and to try and rectify the problem. First I tried lowering the tyre pressures on the front. Sadly this didn’t work. Then I decided I would swap out the front wheels for the rears. The wheels I had been using to drive around on were a set of 18inch Lehrmeister Riverside split rims, they were staggered fitment so the fronts are 8 inches wide and the rears are 9.5 inches wide.
Now with a much wider wheel on the front, I finally attained enough front grip to allow me to initiate… now all I had to do was get used to the extremely slippery surface on the wet track.
After a while of spinning, going off track and hitting the plastic posts (that we’d been told not to hit during briefing) I was finally starting to get back into it and feel less and less frustrated with myself and the car.
As the day went on I found that there were moments where I would consistently get things right and then others where I would get things wrong and end up spinning like a top.
Overall the day was good for getting back into things after a few months off and definitely got a good amount of seat time and I would drift at Oulton Park again, however, there were one or two downsides for me:
Getting sin-binned because of an overzealous newbie marshall who decided to report even the slightest spin out on his section of track.
The track conditions, I understand that they have to keep the peace with residents who may live near the track but I think on this particular day the GT cars that were hooning around the main circuit were probably making more noise than any drifting could. (Having said that the wet track conditions may have highlighted some previously unknown set up issues with the car, so who knows.)
Spending 20 minutes when I got home cleaning the car, I know some people wouldn’t have bothered but for me, even though it currently looks like something not even Frankensteins monster would be seen dead in I didn’t want it looking like I didn’t care.
A couple of weeks ago I headed to Teesside Autodrome for my first time as a novice drifter. I had such a good day getting to grips with both my car and the track. Initially things were pretty sketchy especially as this was to be my first time drifting in the wet. However as the day progressed my confidence grew and I managed to get in some pretty decent skids.
The day also helped me to understand how my current set up can be improved in terms of the cars handling etc. I made a short film of my day (made shorter by the fact the camera died in the afternoon!)
I didn’t go with the standard talking to the camera style vlog though as I wanted to try something a bit different, So I hope you enjoy it.
Last month Lucy and I took time out from packing and getting readty to move house to have some fun drifting at Santa Pod. Our good friend and fellow drifter Joe Birkett also joined us, partly to hang out, and partly to kick my ass into moving out of the playpen’s and into the kidney.
Overall the car performed as I have come to expect, even if kicking its head in all day did raise one or two small things that need addressing. Despite this I still have a blast killing some tyres.
Thank you to Lynden of 1Mind for the awesome header photo.