Monday, 23 April 2012

Northern Drift Championship Round 1 at Teeside Autodrome

The Northern Drift Championship is a new entry into the drifting calender. It was designed as an entry level drift competition. This series is based solely at the Teeside Autodrome, which is renowned for being a great track for spectators as well as drivers.

Dunkz's John Deere Nissan S13

The event has 3 classes as with other drift championships. Since this is an open championship the field will be divided during qualifying. The driver will then be placed into the Novice, Semi-Pro or Pro class. Both Novice and Semi-Pro classes will be ran individually and there will be no twin drifting. The only twinning is in the Pro class and because of this the Pro cars must meet British Drift Championship (BDC) standards.

Mint's Mazda MX5 Interior

The event is split into two days with the first soley for practise and the second is the qualifying and main competition rounds. The judging of the competition has been altered slightly to meet the ‘open to every drifter’ style event. The track will be marked in different sectors, each sector will be judged separately so if a driver spins in one sector, the rest of the sectors will still count towards the final score. It seemed that all Novice and Semi-Pro battles would be done similar to normal twin drifting however the cars will not be so close. This will mean that both cars get judged at the same time but will not run the risk of hitting each other therefore not requiring a roll cage.

Scottish contingent at Northern Drift Championship Round 1

With the introduction to the event over, my journey for this weekend began on Friday. After work I rushed back to the house and got ready to leave. In this time the lads coming from Aberdeen had already made their way down to Edinburgh with Dunkz in the JD and Ryan in his JZX110 a bit further behind. Me, Cam & Kinghorn convoyed down to Berwick Upon Tweed and waited for Dunkz and Ryan to catch up. When Dunkz arrived you could see by the look on his face that the JD was not a good commuter car. The car was also so low it was constantly sparking all the way down the road as the car scraped on any slight imperfection, so some weight had to be shifted. The car was so low that even when jacked up, the wheels look like they were sitting standard on other lowered cars.

Dunkz's car is so low, this was it raised to change the wheel

The rest of Garage LSD lads apart from Kinghorn were travelling to a high quality hotel close to the track. I only went as far as Darlington, where I met my friend Henry. Through Henry, I met the local drift team, Team Sunset. Their speciality being BMWs. Reggie’s BMW E30 4 litre V8 Estate is their main machine. Between Reggie, Pete and rest of the Team Sunset lads, they’ve built a bit of a beast.

Team Sunset's BMW E30 4.0 V8 Estate

When I arrived the car bumper was still getting painted and wiring issues were still getting sorted. It seems that leaving everything to the last week is the standard. They mentioned how they swapped a BMW V8 into a PS13 for Matty Stevenson in under a week in time for the next round of BDC. It turns out that Pete will be driving Reggie’s car for the competition.

Team Sunset

Team Sunset's BMW E30 V8 Estate

Amongst all the work, there is always time for fun and games. Hoho decided to have a go on the modified drifting tricycle. It looked like a lot of fun in all honesty to the point I might actually need to hunt one down.

Hoho enjoying the drifting trike

By the end of the night, it was about 2am. The car was pretty much ready with just a few things still to put on like the rear bumper, but since that was waiting for the paint to dry there was nothing more we could do that night. So we headed home and prepared for the next day nice and early.

Reggies BMW E30 V8 from Team Sunset

Saturday morning, I woke to many messages from the Garage LSD’s chat. It seemed that I kind of slept in, but the practise didn’t start till 2pm. Dunkz, Cam, Ryan, Kinghorn, Stu and the rest of them were already at the track preparing their cars for the days practise. However I made another stop to Team Sunset’s other headquarters before I headed out to the track where I found Daz.

Daz from Team Sunset's BMW E30 4.0 V8

Daz was just putting his final touches on the car with some polish when I arrived. Now his BMW E30 540 V8 conversion was gleaming and I mean it as it was so red that it made some of my pictures over saturated. There were still a few things to be done before Daz makes it to like the alignment which he had booked at 2pm, some might say it was leaving it a bit close for comfort.

Daz from Team Sunset BMW E30 V8

When I arrived at the circuit I found the Scottish contingent had invaded Teesside. Some of the best local Scottish drifters turned up for this competition. Walking into the track I spotted Jeek and his BMW 540, Kyle and his Chizcab, Stu and his Mazda RX7 FC3S and of course our very own Dunkz with the JD.

Dunkz's John Deere Nissan S13

Mint doing some last minute adjustments

Stu (The Hats) getting ready

Jeek's safety plumbing

With the preparations and a driver briefing done it was time to get started. Only the smaller west track was available to practise on as the main circuit was in use for karting till later on.

Stu (The Hats) Mazda RX7 FD3S Smoking Pink

Eddie Amos in his Nissan S13

Kev from SXOC drifting his CA19.5DET'd Nissan S13

Through the day all the cars were put through their paces in the heat wave we were having. For Dunkz it was testing the JD to see what it could do after coming out of full refresh. Dunkz had worked some crazy hours in the lead up to Teesside to get the car ready for the first round. His first couple of runs we watched Kinghorn noticed that there was fuel spilling out as he transitioned up the hill. The JD was brought back into the pits and the tank drained to help prevent this. With that sorted the Dunkz want back out for a few runs but was plagued with overheating issues. In order to remedy this he borrowed my fan cowling from my s14 to improve the air flow through the radiator. Although not perfect it allowed him to start putting a few runs in and the JD looked amazing on track. I think everyone is just really glad to see the sight of the car going sideways again.

Dunkz drifting the John Deere Nissan S13

Dunkz drifting the John Deere Nissan S13

Sadly, Dunkz only managed about 10 runs before the bottom end gave in which spelled the end of the event for him. Getting home would be a dilemma, but fortunately Kyle from Chizfab was to the rescue. He offered his trailer for the JD and Dunkz would drive the Chizcab home. Before we left the track Dunkz was already hunting for a new engine to put in the car and on writing this it’s already back in JD and the work has began to improve the car for round 2.

He did managed to hit record on his borrowed GoPro right before it died though. Video is of course from Garage LSD. Dunkz wasn’t the only casualty of the day, Daz in his E30 also had a bit of a drama.

Daz from Team Sunset Drifting his BMW E30 4.0 V8

An altercation with a tyre wall after the first corner of the west track. He ended up damaging his bottom arms which got twisted and bent slightly. Fortunately this was fixed at the trackside with Team Sunset’s expertise.

Daz's Accident

Within a short period, the car was fixed and back out. It really helps having access to everything within driving distance to the track.

Daz's damage fixed

Daz Drifting his BMW E30 V8

By the end of the evening, the main track was free to play on. This is the track that the competition will also be held on, but the time on this track was limited so everyone only got a handful of runs.

Mike Robinson in his Nissan S14a 200sx

Jefferson Harper Drifting his Nissan 200sx S13

Mint drifting  his Mazda MX5

With the end of the first days practice it was time to get some food. We ventured into Middlesbrough and went to a well-known local restaurant – Europa as recommended by Henry. This was one of the places where the original Chicken Parmesan was created. Let me just say…I had the Pork Parmo and I would highly recommend it. After dinner it was time to grab some snacks and the rest of Garage LSD headed back to the hotel. I needed an early night so went back to Darlington. The rest of the lads grabbed a few beers and ended up playing host to the guys from slide motor sport for a viewing of ‘wreck em’ in one of the cramped Metro inn rooms.

Stu (The Hats) Wheel Pile

On Sunday morning, I had to get to the track early as there was meant to be an SXOC stand. On arrival however, I was directed to the public car park where all the spectators were parked.

Show Stand

There was a free practice in the morning on the main track. Drivers were free to come and go, allowing them to learn the main track and the lines that they would need to take for the competition.

Daz from Team Sunset Drifting his BMW E30 V8

Michael Jankowiak drifting his BMW 5 Series

Qualifying was mainly uneventful with everyone putting in their best runs of the day to be judged and categorised into different classes. For Jeek of 7eam Chizfab however, one of his qualifying runs had an un-expected twist.

Jeek drifting his BMW 540i

Most of the time Jeek keeps his run consistent, until that last corner on his last qualifying run:

Jeek from 7eam Chizfab "Oni Camber"

Jeek from 7eam Chizfab "Oh noes"

The wheel studs let go and the wheel came flying off leaving Jeek doing his best tripod impression. Luckily enough the wheel bounced into the tyre wall and stopped. The studs needed changing, but unfortunately Jeek did not make it back on the track for the competition itself.

Jeek and his broken BMW 540i

The drivers were separated out into 3 classes. Stu, Kev, Kyle and Jeek were placed into the Pro category & Mint was placed in the Novice class. Daz from Team Sunset was placed into novice and Pete from Team Sunset was placed in the Semi-Pro class.

Pete from Team Sunset drifting Reggie's BMW E30 V8

Onto the finals and the novice category was up first. Most of the drivers put in some good runs, with a few spinning out. Daz from Team Sunset came out on top with Mint in his MX5 coming in at third place.

Novice Class Results

1st: Darren Rickerby / BMW E30 Team Sunset

Daz from Team Sunset Drifting his BMW E30 V8

2nd: John ‘GB’ King / BMW E36

John ‘GB’ King drifting his BMW E36

3rd: Steven Murray / Mazda MX5

Mint drifting  his Mazda MX5

Semi Pro Class Results

In the Semi-Pro class Pete from Team Sunset beat the rest of the competition with his crazy angles and constant billowing of smoke.

1st: Peter Crown / BMW E30 Tourer Team Sunset

Pete driving Reggies BMW E30 V8 Estate from Team Sunset

2nd: Jefferson Harper / Nissan S13

Jefferson Harper Drifting his Nissan 200sx S13

3rd: Matt Stevenson / BMW E36

Matt Stevenson Drifting his BMW E36

Pro Class Results

In the Pro class, we had quite a few drivers from Scotland. Kev was up against Kyle, with Kyle gaining the upper hand in their runs. Kyle and Stu came against the Slide Motorsport duo in the semi-finals. Both narrowly losing out to both of them which resulted with a Kyle vs Stu match up for the third place on the podium. In the match up Kyle was trying to get Stu closer to him when twinning by tapping on his door. Eventually Stu got the better of Kyle in the runs and was rewarded with the third position. The winner of the Slide Motorsport’s duo was Adam Simmons who beat Jason Clark in the final.

1st: Adam Simmons / Nissan Skyline R33 Slide Motorsport

Adam Simmons Drifting his Nissan Skyline R33 from Slide Motorsports

2nd: Jason Clark / Mazda RX7 FD3S Slide Motorsport

Jason Clark Drifting his Mazda RX7 FD3S from Slide Motorsport

3rd: Stuart Lawson / Mazda RX7 FC3S

Stuart Lawson (The Hats) Drifting his Mazda RX7 FC3S

4th: Kyle Chisholm / Chizcab BMW M3 Cabriolet

Kyle Chisholm Drifting his Chizcab BMW M3 Cabriolet

After the events and the trophies were handed out, it was time to head home.

Scottish Podium pair, Stuart "The Hats" Lawson and Steve "Mint" Murray

I have to thank Teesside Autodrome for hosting such a fun event. They are willing to cater to a market for drifting competition without the need of the full-scale BDC competition. Being the first event of the championship, they strive to improve over the coming months. Hopefully this event will become even greater as it grows.


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