The 7th round of the monthly Rayleigh RC Drift Championship saw 18 competitiors battle it out for a variety of prizes supplied by RC Mart.
The surface of the track at Rayleigh is Prima GT carpet and the control tyre is a Yokomo R4. A combination that allows for some very tight twinning! The track layout for the competition today promoted such twinning. The cars would launch from a short straight section of the track and into a left hand 90 degree corner which carried along the bank wall and into a hairpin corner; the apex of which was marked off with tape as a dead zone forcing the drivers to take a wide line, if any more than two wheels went into that dead zone they would be penalised by the judges. From there the cars would transition into a right hairpin with the first clipping point on the outside wall of that corner, giving the cars plenty of room to transition. A diagonal section of straight gave the drivers room to transition into another hard left hand corner where the second outer clipping point was located. This opened up into a left sweeper with a forth outer clipping point in front of a scale garage then the drivers had to run the pit wall to a ‘hero box’ (you were given extra points for going through this) and across the finish line
The day would be judged by ex-BDC driver, BDC judge and master fabricator Mr Ian Waddington, The ‘King of The Ring’ Ron Rasburn and Darrel Smith, who apparently did a skid once.
Qualifying would consist of a single practise run followed by two judged runs, the best score of the two runs would determine the drivers overall qualifying position.
Proceedings begin with one half of Team DHB’s bearded brigade: Alan Palmer with his Yokomo DPR powered ‘chocolate brown’ FC3S RX7. Alan put in two fast runs with only one small mistake on his first run where the tapped the wall on the first outer clipping zone a little too hard. The runs didn’t capture the hearts of the judges though, he qualified in 10th!
(Alans Yokomo DPR)
Next up was Carl ‘ManBob’ Hillis. Like the smooth gentleman our Man Bob is, Carl put in two very smooth but very conservative runs, opting not to go for the ‘hero box’. His performance saw him scrape into the top 16.
(Carl Hillis’ Sakura D4)
Jordan Innell rolled up to the line with his D-Like RE-R. Sadly the pressure got to Jordan; he crashed out on both his qualifying runs and failed to make it into the top 16.
(Jordan’s big pink thing)
The Nissan S-body king himself, Tom Gaskin, rolled up to the line in his MS01D driven PS13 adorned with Hono Circuit stickers. Tom spun in his first run but managed to pull it back with his 2nd run placing him 9th.
(Tom Gaskin with one of his 112 Nissan Silvia shells)
Bryan Sebastian was next his MST XXX-D VIP. Bryan is always a spectacular driver to watch and once again he didn’t disappoint. The first run was exactly what the judges asked for, then he went out on the second run and added more angle… I was impressed! But as is the high level of driving now at Rayleigh he only made it to 2nd.
(Bryan’s stickerbombed JZX100)
After Bryan was my good friend Matt Fellows, another Nissan S-Chassis enthuiast who owns two real ones and two RC ones; one rear wheel drive and one CS 4wd. This one, adorned with his trademark Redbull livery, was his CS car. Matt put in a safe first run then went a little out there with his second run; running through all the clipping points and the hero boxing scoring him a very respectable 5th.
(Redbull on the car Monster on the trailer. The ladies don’t call Matt ‘The Heart Stopper’ for nothing!)
Next to the track was the 2nd half of Team DHB Craig. Craig’s also an impressive drifter to watch. Not only for his style and consistency but because he manages to do it with only one hand! He has adapted an airplane controller for use with the car, a fine example that nothing is impossible with a bit of determination! Craig put in two good runs. The occasional loss of angle meant that he was only able to score 7th.
(Craig’s Mark X redefining ‘big gay wing’ seriously, that thing is silly!)
One of Rayleigh’s younger drivers, Arley, put in two very fast, aggressive runs with lots of angle giving him 6th place.
(Arley’s airborne Mark X. He must have taken a wrong turn!)
Rayleigh RC’s Master and Commander Chris Blackwell brought his ‘a-game’ to this round! The first run was clean but Chris made a big correction in front of the garage by clip 3. He made up for it in the second run though by running the entire pit wall between clip 3 and the hero box securing him 4th place.
(Old Nissans don’t die, they just get faster… as bits fall off)
After Chris came Paul Simms. Paul is a master shell builder and his efforts for this round were certainly not an exception. His rear engined (as in it actually has a model Honda 4 banger in the boot) EK Civic atop his Yokomo DIB is a work of art and rightfully won the best shell contest. Paul’s runs were conservative but were enough to see him through in 11th place.
(Would love to have a go in a 1:1 one of these)
Tom Blackwell was next in his Team Magic E4D chassis under a Pandora R34 Skyline. Sadly Tom was too busy working to really get out on track, his first run was restarted after he buried his car in the wall chasing the first clip. The 2nd run didn’t go much better as he hit the wall approaching the 2nd clipping point and he failed to make the top 16.
Rhys Thomas put in a fast but clean run with his HPI Sprint landing him in 12th.
(Why does no one make a vape juice that smells like burnt rubber?)
Another Sprint piloted by Jay Collins graced the track next. Jay hit a wall on his first run but made it round on his second run seeing him into 14th
(Jay Collins PS13)
Rayleigh’s youngest competitor Ricky was next to qualify. Ricky is only 9 years old and already his driving puts a lot of his elders to shame. He got a little brave on his first qualifying run which saw him bounce off the wall by the hero box but his second run was clean and saw him qualify an impressive 13th!
(Ricky’s much loved S15)
‘Who is’ Mike Brittle was up next. Mike put two of my favourite qualifying runs of the day. Both runs were exceptionally clean but he came into the hero box on full lock on both runs! It looked incredible! The judges agreed and gave him 3rd place.
(Mike’s JZX representing Garage-R and Rayleigh Tyres)
Mark Smith put in a safe first run with his relatively new Yokomo DIB. His second run unfortunately saw the most spectacular ‘off’ of the entire qualifying session as he tagged the wall in front of the garage and went spinning off into the car holding area. However the safe run saw him into the top 16 with 15th place.
(Mr Smith’s stunning wide arch GT86)
Rob Moore stole the show and took the top qualifying position after two spectacular runs in his mohawk sporting S13
(Pop up lights, Tetris and a mohawk… ah the 80s <3)
Last but not least to qualify was our celebrity appearance for the day; A man who wants to take the title ‘King of Instagram’ from Dan Bilzerian, Mr Andy King of RC Kingstar! Andy suffered a bad bit of luck in his first run after under-steering into clip 1. His second run also had to be restarted but then he managed to turn it around and put in a solid qualifying run featuring a great wall run in front of the garage and landing him a commendable 8th place!
As with any regular drift event the top 16 knock out competition would see 1st place battle 16th, 2nd battle 15th etc etc. So the first battle of the day would see mohawk enthusiast Rob Moore battle the mighty Man-Bob Carl Hillis! Carl was first to lead. Rob managed to stay right by his side all the way around the track despite Carl trying to throw some difficult to follow lines. Advantage goes to Rob as they swap places. Carl knows he has to stay right with Rob to get an opportunity at a One More Time battle but is over aggressive and hits the wall by the first clip seeing Rob into the great 8.
Bryan Sebastian would face the beautiful GT86 driven by the equally beautiful Mark Smith. In the first battle chaser Mark had to make a correction in the sweeper by the garage tapping Bryan. Bryan then fell into a bad bit of luck in his chase run by making an error which saw the judges call a one more time! The one more time was pretty much over before it started. Mark hit a wall on initiation to the first corner in the first run and Bryan simply dominated on the second run and secured his place in the great 8.
Andy ‘Kingstar’ King would battle local legend Tom Gaskin. The first set of battles were sloppy with mistakes being made by both drivers but Tom got back in the game in the first of the one more time battles by really sticking his PS13 right on Andy’s door! Andy tried to reciprocate but a huge straighten exiting the final hairpin saw Tom through.
In the next battle young Ricky mirrored Chris Blackwell beautifully and then pulled away in his lead run after Chris makes a fatal error on the first hairpin.
In what I thought was one of the closest battles of the day Matt Fellows took out Rhys Thomas. It literally says on my noted from the day “dunno what seperated them”. Both put in very clean runs but the experienced eyes of our judges must have seen something that I didn’t.
Next up would be a battle of epic proportions, a battle that would push man and machine to it’s limits, a battle that could end friendships and business partnerships. After months of memes posted on Facebook and ribbing at practise days. Team DHB’s Alan would face Team DHB’s Craig! Craig would lead first and Alan, who didn’t appear phased by the pressure stuck his RX7 right on the door of Craig’s Toyota. The next battle was a little scrappy as both drivers realised what was at stake here; Craig tapped Alan’s car exiting corner one but the Alan made a mistake by the garage! One more time is called. Alan puts in another flawless run mirroring Craig’s lead. Craig fought back and put in a good effort drawing himself insanely close to the lead car! But the focus on proximity meant his chase run wasn’t as clean as his team mates which saw Alan through to the great 8.
The next battle between Who’s Mike and Jay would simply be a display of chassis development. Jay’s 50:50 Sprint was very fast but wasn’t able to match the flair and angle of Mike’s Sakura D3.
The final battle of top 16 would see Arley face off against Paul Simms. The rear engined Civic was clearly giving Paul some issues as he was completely off line in his chase run for the first clip and then hit Arley near to the second clip. Arley made a fantastic job of mirroring the unstable Civic in his chase run, an impressive bit of driving that saw him move on in the competition.
Rob Moore would face Tom Gaskin in the first dual of the great 8. Tom had the more powerful car of the two and was able to pull away for Rob in his lead run. Rob did a great job at mirroring Tom’s line but when the cars switched Tom was able to keep his MST’s power under control and was able to stay right on Rob’s door all the way around the track. Another impressive piece of driving and a well deserved win for Tom.
A long and hard fought battle between Ricky and Matt Fellows followed. In the second one more time battle the only differing factor between the two drivers was a slight overshoot by Ricky in clip one which saw him tap the wall a little too hard. Fantastic driving by both though! I look forward to seeing what Ricky can do in the next competition!
Two of Rayleigh’s finest drivers; Alan Palmer and Bryan Sebastian would be next to battle. Another close match where both drivers were able to drive in close proximity of each other. However a tiny little bit contact caused by Bryan not slowing down quite enough for the first hairpin saw Alan through to the semi final.
Arley Reed crashed into the wall heavily on his chase run against Mike Brittle. Arley had a good lead run but it simply wasn’t enough to rectify his mistake.
Next up was a battle between two of Kent’s finest Matt Fellows and Tom Gaskin. Matt sadly under-steered into the first hairpin on his chase run giving Tom an advantage. Tom made no errors on his chase run at all and sailed his way into the final.
Alan vs Mike was another close battle. Both drivers clearly wanted that spot in the final and put in a great set of runs. After much deliberation the judges put Alan through to the final!
The battle for 3rd and 4th was another difficult one to call. Matt had much cleaner runs and did what the judges ask but Mike manages to execute his drifts with such style. The judges seemed to agree and called for a one more time. Matt was able to mirror Mike much better in his second chase run and held a better proximity but the nail in the coffin was when Mike hit the wall just before the finishing line in his chase run.
So this is what it all comes to; the battle for 1st and 2nd between Tom Gaskin and Alan Palmer. FC3S Mazda vs PS13 Nissan. Beard vs no beard. A fantastic way to end the day with a battle between two of Rayleigh’s finest drivers. I honestly thought the first set of battles were too close to call but the judges had made a decision.
ALAN PALMER WINS!!
(Alan in the grey Craig in the white)
The prizes were handed out by a beautiful specimen of a man (I have to say it no one else will) me.
1st prize for the comp was a trophy
2nd was a Nissan S13 which rightly went to a Silvia fanatic
3rd place was some Demiworks shell bits.
Craig won an R30 Skyline in the raffle
And Paul Simms won a R32 Skyline under bumper set for best body.
A great day all in all and I’m really looking forward to the next one!
Thanks for reading!