The 2018 HEL Performance Driftcup champion would be decided at Driftland, Scotland. Our one round of the year where we head north of the border and bring a new challenge to the drivers at the only purpose build drift track in the UK.
Dave Bastin came into the round with a 9 point lead over rival, Andy Frost, although Danny Whyman and Chris Wright both had a chance to win the championship if their rivals were knocked out early in the battles.
The rest of the drivers were still aiming for the podium places to get maximum points from this round in order to move up the championship rankings. The top eight drivers at the end of the season get the opportunity to move up to the British Drift Championship so this would be their last chance to score valuable points.
This year the track layout would be tight and technical with a wall run at the final clipping point, it was obvious who was pushing their limits on this track with all of the clips on the outside line. If they ran wide it was easy to see as they dirt dropped, ran up a bank or hit the wall.
The morning practice session started in damp conditions but the track quickly dried out along with the smoke building up in the air as the drivers got more confident.
The crowds soon got to see how close the competition was going to be at this round with many of the runs in practice looking like the afternoon battles with drivers sticking to the door of the lead car at every opportunity.
Practice was soon over, it was time for the drivers to qualify with only two runs to impress the judges. Lisa Branch topped the session with a score of 82.3 on her second attempt.
Andy Frost was the highest qualifier amongst the four championship rivals, he had qualified in fourth place with a score of 79.3.
The Top 32 battles kicked off with Matt Fountain and Owen Atkinson going One More Time before the judges could pick a winner, Matt would continue through into the Top 16.
Chris Wright moved himself a step closer to the championship as he knocked Martyn Giles out of the competition at this early stage.
Andy Frost also continued through into the Top 16 after his battle with Chris Dawson, Andy was showing that he means business right from the start of the battles as he sat inches from Chris’ car at the final clipping point.
Dave Bastin battled Will Foxwell before advancing into the Top 16 where he would be set to line up against Andy Frost.
Kev Bennett was on form as he battled Ant Thompson, keeping close enough on his chase run before pulling a small lead, securing the victory and advancing through to the Top 16.
The first battle of the Top 16 eliminated one of the championship rivals as Matt Fountain beat Chris Wright.
The next battle would have everyone cheering for their favourite driver as it was likely to be a large part of deciding this year’s champion. Dave Bastin would win the championship if he won the battle although Andy Frost could win it if he won the battle and made it through a few more battles.
The judges couldn’t decide on a winner after their first runs so it went for a one more time, it was a close battle again but Andy Frost took the win, now he had to focus on getting through the battles and score enough points to win the championship.
Danny Whyman was still in the running for the championship as he beast Chris Barnham to advance into the Top 8.
Top qualifier, Lisa Branch, was also making her way through the battles as she beat Luke Conte to earn her place in the Top 8.
Andy Frost lined up against Matt Fountain in the Top 8, he had another strong lead run before chasing hard throughout the track giving him enough of an advantage to advance into the Final 4.
Danny Whyman’s championship hopes ended in the Top 8 against Lisa Branch, she was looking to be a strong contender for the win at Driftland.
The final four kicked off with Kev Bennett and Andy Frost’s battle although it was more of the same from Andy as he pulled away on his lead run, earning a place in the final.
Lisa Branch and Jake Lynch battled to decide the remaining place in the final but Jake couldn’t do enough to stop Lisa’s charge through the battles, she took the win and a well-earned place in the final.
Kev Bennett and Jake Lynch lined up to battle for the third place on the podium, there was contact on the first run which gave Jake the advantage and the victory along with his first podium!
Andy Frost knew by now that he had secured the 2018 championship but could he end it perfectly with a win at the final round? Lisa Branch lined up beside him and led on the first run, as they came through the middle of the track the cars were so close with Andy timing the transitions perfectly.
They swapped over and Andy Frost had another great lead run, this time a small gap separated the cars. Andy Frost took the win and ended his season in style!
The drivers took their places on the podium to celebrate in front of the crowd of family, friends and supporters.
It’s been another amazing year with so many drivers rising through the ranks of the HEL Performance Driftcup and continuing into the British Drift Championship. We are already looking forward to 2019!