June 25th 2017 saw the epic collision of two major drift series; The British Drift Championship and Drift GP. With a custom built drift circuit crafted by the judges for optimum drama and excitement the gauntlet was set at the National Exhibition Centre [NEC] in Birmingham. Drivers from the British Drift Championship and Drift GP would have to push their skills and their cars to the absolute limit.
The circuit was the most dangerous yet in BDC history - with the majority of the track lined with concrete walls there was no room for error. Coupled with the increase in competition from the 10+ European drivers each with impressive cars with serious power and ability it soon becomes clear Maxxis drivers Shane Lynch, Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith and Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter would have their work cut out to claim the top spot.
Practise saw the drivers taking a more cautious than usual line as they became accustomed to the track; avoiding the concrete walls. As the pace quickened, the proximity to the walls greatly increased as the guys pushed harder and harder towards the judged line.
One car was seen out of the competition early on as during practise Shane [at the wheel of the Japspeed IS200] performed a hefty clutch kick mid corner which resulted in the spectacular destruction of the car’s prop shaft as it shattered across the track; putting an unfortunate end to the weekend for Shane. For Maxxis drivers Matt and Paul, confidence was only growing along with pace and precision setting them up perfectly for qualifying.
As the rain clouds rolled in qualifying began. Vehicle settings were set for a dry run but dialled back a bit in order to maintain control if the rain was to pour. Paul Smith was first to head out for his qualifying run. Pushing a bit wide on entry his run scored mid field giving him a safe position to push harder and take more risks for his second run. Going into the first corner with much higher speed his line was improved and the second run scored much higher than the first giving him a safe position within the top 32 of 17th in qualifying.
Next up was Matt Carter. Matt came in fast skimming the first wall in his Maxxis VR1 tyres and laying down a great first run only falling slightly short of the second clip. He approached his second run with much more ferocity and skimmed every concrete wall on track with his back bumper; placing him very highly for the upcoming battles in 7th position.
Matt was first to battle in the top 32 against Mark Webb. After an impressive first run Matt held his lead but did not manage to pull too much of a gap over Mark. With the scores close, Matt entered the second half of the battle with full #doorhunter aggression. Running on Mark’s rear end round the track, contact was made causing Matt’s bumper to fold in against the front wheel jamming his steering and causing him to spin out. The judges assessed the footage and called the battle in favour of Matt sending him through into the top 16.
Next up was Paul Smith to battle Jodie Fletcher for a place in the top 16. Both cars left the line with maximum speed and entered the first corner aggressively. Paul threw the car onto Jodie’s door and lit up the rear tyres with maximum attack, reaffirming his name “Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith”. Through the second corner it was apparent that Paul was having an issue as the gap between the cars slightly increased. Calling a 5 minute rule it became apparent that a belt had come off the engine causing it to overheat and a total loss of power steering. After the team quickly fixed the belt, the engine temperatures were too high and the car had to retire in order to preserve the engine.
With Paul knocked out, Matt Carter had it all to do in the top 16 to battle on and retain his title. Martin Richards was the next contestant to challenge Carter; a match made earlier this year in the BDC which made for a very close exciting battle. This was not to change. After very close driving, Carter had to push harder than ever to get a clear win over Richards. Ringing the 1.5JZ to the limit, the antilag system was in full force throwing flames from the exhaust. The Maxxis VR1 tyres reached such a high temperature that he managed to set them alight mid battle, lighting up the arches. Despite this Matt kept his foot hard on the throttle which saw him blaze his way into the top 8 where he was to encounter Jack Shanahan.
Entering this battle with anticipation, Carter knew that he would have to enter the first corner at his highest speed yet to stay close to his competitor. After a very close battle Carter knew he would have to lead with way with more speed and aggression than ever. Unfortunately, his speed into the second corner was just too high causing his rear end to slam into the wall and awarding Jack with the win into the top 4.
However, due to Jack and Matt being the only British drift Championship drivers to remain in the competition at this point, he was awarded with second place points in the BDC allowing him to extend his lead within the championship even further ahead of the field going into the final two rounds!