DriftCup 2016 – Round 1 Rockingham Speedway
is a grassroots competition and the new 'feederǯ' series for the British Drift Championship
The season kicked off in style at Rockingham Speedway last weekend amidst the excitement of the Spring Matsuri event that coincided with the competition. Drifters travelled from all four corners of the UK to experience the action the weekend offered.
It was a foggy morning when Flatout Factory drivers, Tom Hutchison and Frazer Jamieson started the journey towards Corby and its famous Speedway.
On arrival at the venue the lads could not even see the top of the grandstands the fog was so thick! During the drivers briefing it was explained that due to the poor visibility that the weather caused, there were some delays to the start of the competition. Both drivers are used to turning up to drift tracks they have never seen before but its unusual to not have a look even after the drivers briefing had finished!
The track layout was a traditional style course with a quick entry to a long drift , into a transition and then onto a slower section to the finish line, perfect for encouraging close quarter twining! The judges for the event were all seasoned veterans of competition, Ryan Pothecary, Paul 'Smokey Smith' and Dan Firminger. They explained that they would be looking for committed driving and close proximity would be rewarded. While sticking to the line was critical to scoring good points.
The car that Tom is building for competitive use is still under construction and it was Hadyn that lent Tom the S14 that he was to drive for the event. The car had a SR20DET along with a GT2871rs turbo fitted, the 'Disco Potato' of the drift world, coupled with steering and suspension geometry by Nispro it was a basic but very competent car with a terrific power delivery and handling package.
Haydn was driving his Cresta at the event and driving it very well too!
It took Tom a few runs to settle into the new chassis but he soon started to find the line the judges wanted during in the long practice session before briefing. It was clear to see from the practice session that the standard of driving at the event was very high.
The variety of cars in attendance was amazing to watch for all the fans that sat out the gloomy start to enjoy what was turned out to be a beautiful spring day. One combination that was particularly good to watch was the V8 powered Toyota KE70 of Barry Stevenson and the YB powered Escort Cosworth of Richard Gladwin.
Qualifying took the format of 2 judged runs and the field ran in numerical order, placing Tom close to the end of the pack. After 2 fairly average but consistent runs Tom qualified 24th and passed though to the top 32 battle stages.
The first battle was against Rich Hudson in his immaculate PS13. Yohann considered this to be one of the toughest battles to be drawn against. The car and driver combination was looking very good out on track in morning practice and seeing Rich qualify in 9th place.
It was a tough battle with both drivers putting in good solid runs until Rich span on his chase run seeing Tom progress to the next round.
Tom's top 16 battle was against Kriss Darling in his Silver BMW Compact, another driver that was looking very strong in practice. The first run was a very close call however, Kriss put 2 wheels off track on his chase run while Tom ran the line and took the win.
Now onto the Great 8 and fighting for spots in the Semi Finals the guys were getting really excited. Both Tom and Frazer love the battle environment and having spent many hours practicing together at the drift school while working with pupils and on 'Hot Lap' passenger duties, they were really enjoying the opportunity to get up close and personal with other drifters.
Toms Battle was against Justin Richardson, a regular at the Santa Pod DWYB practice day events in his beautifully painted Nissan Skyline R32. This round saw some very close battles and eventually went to two '1 more time' situations with Justin eventually taking the win and progressing though to the semi finals.
The final was a close affair between Mark Webb in his S14 and Peter Hadyn in his BMW E36 compact. Both veterans of competition the battles were intense with Webby coming through to take the top spot on the podium and Oliver Evans finishing 3rd.
The current Championship standings place Tom Hutchison at 6th and Frazer at 9th place at the end of Round 1.
It was a fantastic event for all those involved and the hard work and professionalism of the organizing team showed with how well the event ran. The standard of driving was the highest that we have seen at DriftCup so far and goes to show how much the sport is progressing in the UK. The whole Flatout Factory team are looking forwards to Round 2 at Norfolk Arena, we hope to see you there!