The 2017 HEL Performance Driftcup season has been a very successful year with 85 drivers taking part over the five rounds. We have seen 18 drivers move up into the British Drift Championship, surprising many with how competitive they are in the Pro-Am class.
Rockingham Motor Speedway has become a very popular venue for drifting recently with Round 1 taking place during the Spring Matsuri weekend at the venue.
The outer paddock at the venue provides the perfect location to create custom layouts to challenge the drivers and round 1 saw just that, a technical layout with mainly rear clipping points throughout the course.
The day started with a damp track and remained that way through to the qualifying session which saw Alistair Sutton take the top spot with an impressive run scoring 82.3.
The track had rapidly started to dry as the battles kicked off, Dan Brown and Alistair Sutton both showed very strong performances in each of their battles as they made it into the final.
Dan’s car would then suffer a broken drive shaft in the final taking him out of the battle.
The final podium saw Alistair Sutton on the top step, followed by Dan Brown and Haydn Cruickshank.
Mike Walton, Robbie Burgoyne, Dan Brown and Dominic Gates all managed to move up into the British Drift Championship after this round.
Round 2 at the Adrian Flux Arena is always one of those rounds that shakes up the order a bit and this event would be no different.
The track gains grip throughout the day as the dust clears but its unforgiving if the drivers run wide onto the shale of the speedway track.
Alistair Sutton had another strong performance in qualifying, taking the top spot for the second time with a score of 88.7.
In the battles Tom Hutchinson quickly came through as a contender as he progressed through the battles, ultimately he would end up in third place on the podium.
Alistair Sutton had made it through into the final against Stuart Maclachlan, it was a close battle but this time the top step of the podium would go to Stuart Maclachlan.
Round 3 and a return to Rockingham Motors Speedway for a different layout on the outer paddock, this time it started off faster and got progressively tighter throughout the course allowing for some very close runs.
By this point in the season everyone was pushing more and more aiming to improve as they looked toward the second half of the season. This resulted in more committed driving across the whole line up of drivers.
Philip Hayden qualified in the top spot at this round with a score of 84.2. Some other driver had very impressive runs with newcomers with Oliver Bolton and Aiden Clarence both placing in the top 20.
As the battles progressed there would be a couple of standout performances, Aidan Clarence surprised many in his battle with Alistair Sutton in the Top 32. He took it to a One More Time before taking the win and knocking the championship leader out at this early stage of the battles.
Oliver Bolton was also impressing everyone as he progressed through the battles making it through into the final where he would line up against Dave Mittell.
Oliver took the win on this occasion leaving Dave Mittell to stand in second place on the podium and Jack Wootton in third place.
Dave Mittell, Rob Johnston and Oliver Bolton all moved up into the British Drift Championship following this round.
Teesside Autodrome hosted Round 4 of the championship with the layout matching the British Drift Championship for the first time.
This really challenged the drivers to keep advancing their skills and progress towards their goals of moving up into the UK’s top drifting championship.
Phillip Hayden would top qualifying again with a score of 84.3, a full 8 points ahead of the closest competitor.
In the battles Adam Charville was looking strong during his debut event, he certainly had the car to compete at the higher level and was proving his driving was up to the standard. His day would end with a car failure in the 3rd & 4th place battle, leaving Ian Lonsdale to celebrate on the third place on the podium.
Alistair Sutton was having another tough event with Aiden Clarence knocking him out of the competition again, this time in the Top 16.
Jack Wootton and Huw Gwion Savill battled in the final with it going One More Time before Jack took the win, the podium was set and it was looking to be a close finish to the season with a single round remaining.
Huw Gwion Savill, Ian Lonsdale, Mike Jackson all moved up into the British Drift Championship after this round.
The final round of the championship headed north of the border to Driftland, Scotland.
Multiple drivers could win the championship but who would perform under the pressure and who would be defeated by the local drivers?
Qualifying would be dominated by Will Foxwell with a score of 79.3, five points ahead of local driver, Stuart Mclellan.
In the battles the championship contenders would all do well progressing through to the later stages where Alistair Sutton would find himself up against Stuart Maclachlan in the Top 8. He would be knocked out at this stage.
The final battle would be local driver, John McDonald, against William Hanna. John led first with William keeping as close as he could, when they swapped over William would run wide handing the win to John.
It was an unbelievable end to the season, the round had been won by a local driver who had flipped his car earlier in the day and the championship had been decided during the Top 8 battles.
John McDonald took his place on the top step of the podium followed by William Hanna and Stuart Maclachlan.
Alistair Sutton had become the 2017 HEL Performance Driftcup Champion after a long challenging season with just a 9 point lead at the end of it all.
It’s been an incredible year and we look forward to 2018!