Starting a new drifting series is never easy but over the weekend the inaugural season of Drift Cup came to a close at Lydden Hill circuit in Kent. We’ve seen some fantastic drivers rise to the fore and many that have made a name for themselves as a result. Round 3 was no exception, with the entrants descending on the circuit bright and early on Saturday morning.
Unfortunately the weather was not on our side to begin with, with torrential rain dousing the venue from the word go. It was great to see a nice variety of cars entered, with the usual mix of Nissan S & R bodies and BMWs complimented by a Nissan Laurel, a handful of Cefiros, a 350Z and a Toyota AE86.
The rain eased off slightly as the drivers listened intently during the drivers briefing. Drivers of varying standards had entered to try their hand at competition drifting, with some being regular drifters at the track while others had never driven their car on a track before.
The judged line was to be the same as the traditional drifting line as used at Lydden Hill. No-lift entries were expected into clip on on the outside of the track before heading to the apex for clip two.
Clip three required the drivers to carry as much speed as possible up the hill before turning into the hairpin and hitting clip four on the exit. A loss of angle here was permitted to enable drivers to carry speed up to clip five.
Clip five required drivers to carry speed, while points would be deducted for any unnecessary manjis. Clips six and seven required the drivers to keep their foot planted – any use of the handbrake would result in points deductions.
Organiser Mark “Sweeps” Buckle was joined in the judging tower by local driver and BDC competitor Ian Waddington and BDC Super Pro driver Alex Law. The track was split into three judged sections with 100 points in total on offer.
Practice started with the rain showing no sign of easing off; two small rivers had formed on the track! This led to some interesting entries but, despite the conditions, the drivers coped very well. A water feature had had made itself present just after clip five but it actually aided to slow down those that had initiated early.
The conditions did improve slightly as the morning went on and drivers were gaining confidence along the judged line. Some found the gravel and one or two paid the tyre wall a visit but there was no serious damage caused.
A short break before before Street class got underway saw many nervous faces in the pits as they strapped on their helmets and headed out to the start line. For many drivers this was their first taste of being judged for their drifting which served only to add to the experience and excitement. The Cup class was also not without its excited entrants, with many wondering if their practice will have paid off.
Each driver had three runs to show the judges that they could nail the judged line and stick close to the clipping points.
Once the Top 16 announcements had been made the drivers were called for an additional briefing to explain how they would be judged during battles. With some having never twinned competitively before Sweeps and the judges went into great detail so as to ensure everyone knew what they were here to do.
Street Class was topped by David Cooper in his S14.
Callum Fairclough took the top qualifying spot in Cup class in his E36 BMW.
The Street class Top 16 saw Darren Peacock damage his BMW E30’s sump after an over-enthusiastic reach for clip six saw him mount the curb. Mark Norfolk was also pushing hard when a collision between himself and the unforgiving wall between clips two and three brought his day to an early close.
The Semi Final between Arron Stevens and Dan Brown was fantastic, the judges failing to separate them after the first two runs resulting in a one more time.
The Final between Arron and Dean Newport-Hall was close but Aaron took the victory, with Tom Hutchinson taking third.
The Cup class battles saw a few incidents, including Sam Gatter misjudging his chase run and making contact with the door of Matt Pickering’s S14.
Top qualifier Callum Fairclough made easy work of his Top 8 battle against Chris Brooks but was subsequently defeated by Matt Kerr (who would eventually find himself in the final).
Clive Littlechild in his AE86 made contact with Jamie Owen after the latter’s S14 cut out while Jacko Emery in his E34 BMW made his way through the field to the final.
The Final saw Jacko line up against Matt Kerr, with the former’s consistency winning out over Matt’s aggressive style.
Overall the final round of the 2014 DriftCup series was a massive success and served to highlight the standard of grassroots talent in the UK that is stepping up to competitive drifting. We can’t wait to unveil our plans for DriftCup 2015 and hope to see you there!
You can view our photo gallery from the event here.