Round 2 of the British Drift Championship saw Team Japspeed returning to one of the best spectator tracks on the calendar….Teeside!
This is a track that all these Maxxis drivers are very familiar with, so it was approached with confidence. That said, the new management had some surprises in store for the drivers with 2 large concrete walls on the clipping points around the circuit adding much more risk than ever before at the Teeside track!
Practise on the Saturday afternoon was a short 45 minute session where the drivers could get to grips with the slightly different layout and give the cars a good shake down to check for any faults with the cars. With all the cars having no issues and all the drivers feeling confident, we were able to spend the rest of the day watching the Pro-Ams battle it out for the title.
Along with the arrival of Sunday morning came rain. The slippery conditions during practise saw many cars being caught out and sliding off track or spinning out. However, with the new super grippy Maxxis VR1 compound mounted on the rims, the Team Japspeed cars were still able to throw the cars in with high speed and angle and hit a nice line every time. Throughout practise the track began to dry out as the sun shone, unleashing the unbelievable potential of the new Maxxis compound. Maxxis drivers Matt Carter, Paul Smith and Shane Lynch were all throwing in aggressive entries and promising runs, ready for qualifying.
After a quick tyre change and re-fuel, the boys were back out on track lined up for the first of their qualifying runs! First out was Shane in the Sharpie 370Z, an aggressive entry and a good smooth line gave high scores but settled him in 6th position, being marked down due to slightly falling short on two of the clipping points. Next off the line was Paul Smokey Smith in the new JZ86 who threw the car into the first corner like he was on the old Maxxis compound tyre. The extra, unexpected grip meant that the car fell short of clip 1 and lost some points on the score. With an important lesson learned, his second run had much more aggression on entry hitting every clip almost perfectly awarding a very high score for his second run! Finally, it was Matt Carter’s turn to tear up the track. With his usual aggressive style and crowd wowing performance he also scored well in qualifying running the walls confidently on every run! The results were: Shane 22nd, Carter 13th and Smokey 6th!
With Smokey sitting in 6th he had a buy into the top 16, meaning that the #doorhunter and Shane would have to battle it out in the top 24 to earn their place! Shane pulled Ollie Elmore and Carter was paired to fight Adam Simmons. Shane’s battle was first and Shane was to chase for the first run. Both cars entered with good speed and proximity, as Shane came in to apply pressure to Ollie’s door, contact was made between Shane’s front wheel and Ollie’s rear wheel, causing Shane to get marked down for contact. With nothing to lose in the lead positon for the second run, Shane put in a flawless lap hitting every clip and showing great speed and angle. Unfortunately the point gap from the first run was too much and Shane was eliminated.
Carter set out to battle Adam Simmons and applied the pressure from the outset. Carters out right pace on the first run matched with his extremely close proximity chasing put him straight through to the top 16 battles.
As top 16 battles commenced, Paul Smokey Smith called Ollie Elmore and Matt Carter called Richard Grindrod! Smokey set off to battle Ollie. With the extra power and grip Smokey was able to pull gaps ahead of Ollie giving as good point’s gap and sending him through to the top 8! A hard push from the #doorhunter caused Grindrod to push wide allowing Carter through for the over-take! After a strong second run Matt secured his position in the top 8 as well!
For the top 8 battles, Smokey would challenge Martin Richards and Carter was to take on Aurimas Vaskelis in his E30 BMW single turbo V8. A very strong and extremely close battle from both drivers left the judges thinking for a while regarding Paul Smokey smiths fate in the competition. After deliberation, they decided to give the win by a small amount to Martin Richards knocking Smokey out of the competition at that point. With Carter set to battle Vaskelis, Matt applied the pressure from the outset causing Vaskelis to make an error and spin out. Advantage to Carter. Vaskelis’s chase run had to be overly aggressive to attempt to take the win but the run backfired when he made contact with Carter giving Matt the win and sending him through to the top 4!
For the top 4 the #doorhunter was set to battle with Jack Shannahan, a notoriously challenging opponent within the BDC. On Carter’s lead run he was able to pull a considerable gap over his opponent on the first corner giving him a point’s advantage going into the chase run. A very close and aggressive chase run saw him securing his position within the final!
For the final battle of the day, Maxxis driver Matt was to challenge another Shanahan……Connor. A close first battle kept the crowd in anticipation ready for the second run. However complications with Connor’s car on the line caused his team to call a 5 minute rule to attempt to solve the problem. Unfortunately the team were unable to fix the car in the time given meaning that no second battle would take place, allowing Carter to take the win for the day!
Not only did Matt Carter win 1st place in the drivers’ championship but we also took home 1st place for the Team Constructors trophy due to the amazing performance of the whole team throughout the day! We are excited for round 3 in June!