And so we return to Rayleigh RC for the penultimate round of the Rayleigh RC Drift Championship. Exactly 16 competitors made up a top 16 for the CS class and a further 6 entered into the rear wheel drive class (which has made me really want to make my D4 RWD!!).
The track for round 8 didn’t vary massively from the track used for Round 7. However some clipping points had been moved and the ideal qualification line was altered which proved to be a challenge for many of the competitors, especially once they started to feel the pressure of the battles!
The cars would start on a small straight then initiate into a 90 degree left hand turn. The inside line of the turn was taped off, if the drivers entered the taped off section they would have points deducted, thus forcing the drivers to take the outside line which would give them enough momentum to run the wall down the next section of straight and through the first clipping point which was against the wall. Following that section of straight was a left hand hairpin turn. The drivers would have to dive to the inside line of this one to score the next clipping point. This proved difficult for a lot of the drivers, many understeered into the wall on the outside of the hairpin. If they made it through that corner the drivers would then transition into a right hand hairpin followed by a transition through the third clipping point into a really long left hand sweeping corner which passed the Rayleigh RC scenic tyre shop and the pits/waiting area. The last clipping point was just before the finishing line at the end of the sweeper.
Judging would once again be provided by Rayleigh Tyres and affiliates. Steve Wellham is a veteran in drifting having taught the rest of Rayleigh Tyres how to drift. He also once owned a 190e which, being the Merc fanatic that I am, makes him super cool! Darrel Smith was also judging. You can see him do a skid of his own in his 1.4 Volvo at King of the Ring on the 2nd of January at Arena Essex! Ron Rasburn, the head of Rayleigh Tyres, also came along to judge the battles.
Rear Wheel Drive Qualifying
The day would begin with the qualifying for the rear wheel drive class. Both classes qualification would consist of one practise run followed by two judged runs. The best score of the two runs determines the drivers place in the battles.
First to the line was Craig Hammett in his green 180sx bodied D-Like RE-R. Craig’s first run was safe and consistent but he drive the middle of the track missing the clips. A lot of drivers put in a safe run first so they know they have scored points on the board then go all out in the second run. It is a common tactic used in drifting. Predictably, Craig did get much more aggressive in his second run and scored all the clipping points, a small straighten between the tyre shop and the garage on the final corner is the only thing that let the run down.
(Craig’s D-Like 180sx)
Following Craig was Lewis Broughton driving what was my favourite car of the day and arguably the coolest looking RC car I think I have seen in a while; a Nissan B110 Sunny in a correct period mustard brown with correct period wheels. Beneath this piece of lexan artwork lay an MST FXX. Before qualifying started there was an issue with the drive gears on the FXX. He managed to get it fixed in the nick of time and went out for his qualifying runs: In his first run Lewis sadly spun just in front of the second clipping point. His second run was much smoother and faster but sadly he just clipped the wall by the finishing line.
(ah the ’70’s!)
Tom Gaskin representing Team Stealth rolled up to the line next in his matte black S14 hiding a Yokomo DPM. Tom unfortunately hit the wall chasing the first outer clipping point in his first run but made up for it with his second run which was much better.
(The ‘Team Stealth’ S14 living up to it’s name by hiding behind Tom’s other car; his CS PS13)
Jordan Innell converted his RE-R to rear wheel drive for this event. He had only driven the car in it’s current configuration with a gyro for a couple of days before this competition and so was giving it a bit of a trial by fire. His first run was fast and aggressive but his second run saw him hit the wall going for the first outer clip.
(Jordan got his long pink thing out to play)
Andy of Kingstar RC was next to take to the line in his Street Fighter inspired FC3S RX7. Andy was standing by me while I was writing and told me before his run “Don’t quote me on this, but I really should have gone to the toilet before doing this”. He sadly hit the wall on the outside of the third corner, maybe put off by the discomfort in his bladder, but gave a nearly perfect run on his second lap!… Actually I was wondering why there was a damp patch on the stage….
(Andy’s RX7 sports a fairly simple but effective livery)
Rayleigh’s very own superstar Bryan Sebastian displayed a near perfect qualifying lap in his first run. The second was looking to be even better but a spin on the finish line put an end to it.
(Bryan’s black PS13 sporting a pink kit and sticker bombed bonnet)
Last but not least for qualifying in the rear wheel drive class was Liam Payne with his FXX sporting a Pandora KE70 shell. Liam’s first run was fast and smooth. The second run was restarted after Liam crashed on the first hairpin. The restarted run was good apart from a love tap against the wall at the back of the second hair pin which was hard enough to disrupt his drift.
(KE70 looking good!)
Reading back through this I realise that I could be seen to be very critical of the driving in the rear wheel drive class. This is not the case! The last time I really got to watch rear wheel drive was when it was just starting to become a thing back in 2012. Since then it has come on leaps and bounds! Both the development of the cars used and and the quality of the driving has rocketed in the past couple of years and it looks fantastic on track! I really really really want a go haha!
Bryan finished 1st in qualifying followed by Liam, Tom and Lewis.
Team DHB’s shorter half Alan Palmer, who has not only won several rounds of RRCDC but has won competitions at other tracks, was first onto the stage with his Yokomo powered chocolate brown FC3S, now sporting a nice new gold livery. Alan had been complaining of understeer throughout practise but put in a perfect 1st qualifying run. His second run was also very good! But I’m going to mean and highlight the fact that on this run he was a few inches short of hitting of the last clipping point.
(DHB Wing mounts! scroll back through the archives of this blog to find my review of these)
Next up was Team DHB’s taller half Craig. The King of RC drifting put in a perfect first run but tapped the wall on the penultimate corner of his second run. Not hard enough to stop him drifting but hard enough to disrupt his angle. (I’m being so critical today!)
(This just screams “I let Richard drive my car around Arena Essex”)
Legendary shell builder Paul Simms rolled up to the line in a Yokomo PS13 covering a Yokomo DIB. Paul put in two clean runs with a stylish feint entry into a final clip.
The man who made this all happen, Rayleigh RC’s own Chris Blackwell, was next. Chris caught the Tetsujin curbing on the inside of the first hairpin. He kept his foot in but the run was too late to save and he barrelled into the wall behind corner 3. He more than made up for his error in his second run though putting in a fine lap!
(Chris let me drive his car around Arena Essex too. Infact if it was silver it would look just like my E36!)
Jay Collins was next with his CS modified Sprint 2. His copper coloured PS13 had an interesting addition in the form of a piece of masking tape with ‘I AM GAY’ written across it. I am glad he is comfortable enough around us to not feel he has to hide who he is, we at Rayleigh RC are welcoming of everyone regardless of their sexual preferences. I wish him the best of luck in his future relationships. Jay’s first run was restarted after he ran into the exclusion start at the start of the track (probably not the first time his front end has plowed through a forbidden place). His following run was smooth and fast. His second judged run was a little more aggressive.
(‘ello boyz, take a good look at my cockpit.)
Bryan Sebastian’s runs were just of the high quality one expects from Bryan. Fast smooth and consistent!
(Bryan’s Chaser, on lock all the way around the track, apart from there. Which, of course, was the only semi-decent shot I got of it.)
Andy King was next to qualify. Mr Consistent Andy put in two great nearly identical runs! In both runs he was fast and smooth!
(Believe it or not, the other pictures I got of this car were worse.)
Captain Matt Fellows took to the metaphorical high seas with his frigate like MS01D. Red Bull apparently gives people wings but it gave Matt’s car sails, the MST appeared to float around the track effortlessly in both his runs despite the cumbersome pace of the car. A good display of broadsiding from the young captain one has to say!
Arley Reed hit the wall entering the 3rd corner on his first run but his second run went much better!
Matthew Hurford in his own words “folded under pressure”. In his first run he hit the back wall of the third corner and in his second run his oversized wing mounts caught the wall on the final sweeper, dragging his car into the wall. The high quality DHB wing mounts escpaed unscathed as did the high quality wall.
(Matt’s DRB! We (I.. I don’t employ anyone but we sounds more professional) at Garage-R like DRBs!)
All I’ve put for Gary Stout’s qualifying runs on my notes are “great run” and “great run” which I think is pretty self explanatory.
Tom Gaskin put in a clean and fast first lap. His second lap saw him getting a little too brave and he had to make a couple of small corrections having got a tad too close to the walls for comfort. Massive angle through the final clip saw the crowd sheer though!
(actually proud of that picture)
Rayleigh RC’s youngest driver Ricky was unable to complete his laps after the steering end points on his controller were turned right down. The judges let him have another go at the end.
Rob Moore performed two incredibly aggressive laps in his new R35 GTR. The GTR, which I don’t actually have a picture of was vinyl wrapped and looked really good! You’ll have to take my word for that though as I am rubbish at my job!
Nathan Manning, who had never driven in a comp before put in two smooth qualifying runs. Clearly un-phased my the pressures of the day!
(Nathan’s 4 door R33 with the intercooler exposed.)
Alas! Rayleigh’s brave knight Sir Carl Hillis arrived at the track after a morning of celebrating his years sporting achievements and wooing many a damsel, I am sure. With no time to spare our brave knight threw his German stallion onto the field of battle. A small hitch saw the mighty warrior spin in his first but as in all good stories, he rose from the ashes and put on a spectacular performance.
(The man, the machine, the legend. Carl ‘Man Bob’ Hillis)
All that was left to do was rerun Ricky’s qualifying. The first run saw the young chap spin in the troublesome third corner but his second lap was much better! Ricky takes the phrase ‘never lift’ to heart. I don’t think he once let go of the throttle! Watching his driving makes for spectacular viewing!
Because there were only 7 drivers, Jordan and Liam would battle to see who got the spot in the semi-final, then the loser of that battle would face Lewis to see who would take the other spot.
Bryan and Craig Hamnett were the first to do battle. Bryan was first to lead and Craig gave chase. Bryan took the advantage in the first battle after Craig hit the wall. Bryan did make a small error on his chase run tapping the back of Craig, it wasn’t hard enough to disrupt Craig’s drift though and so Bryan goes through!
Tom Gaskin spun on his lead run against Andy, then hit Andy on his chase run, giving Andy an easy victory.
The first run in the battle between Liam and Jordan had to be restarted after Liam spun at the start. Unfortunately for Jordan Liam held his own during both the battles that counter which saw him through to the semi final. Jordan, would then face Lewis in the little Nissan Sunny. Jordan sadly understeered into the wall behind the first hairpin on both his runs seeing Lewis move into the semi final against Liam.
Andy knew he had a tough battle on his hands when he drew up to the line next Bryan. Andy gave it his all and reeled Bryan’s Ps13 right in! However, Andy focused a little too much on his proximity to Bryan which caused him to make a few small corrections throughout the course. Not a mistake that Bryan would make, who mirrored Andy beautifully, a performance that would see him into the final.
The best looking battle of the day was between Lewis’ B110 Sunny and Liam’s KE70 Corolla. Both nicely detailed old school shells sporting period correct wheels. Sadly the battles themselves were wrought with disaster. the first set of battles saw Liam hit the wall in the first run and Lewis hit the wall in the second. In the first one more time battle Lewis spun round and Liam crashed into him and in the second battle Liam went wayyy off line and Lewis had to over take. The judges called for a sudden death battle which saw Liam lead and Lewis give chase. Lewis took the victory after a clean run sitting on the door of the white KE70.
So the battle for third and fourth would be fought between Liam and Andy. A difficult battle to judge. Andy took the spot on the podium after giving a good chase with close proximity to Liam.
And thus the final between Bryan and Lewis was upon us. Bryan’s perfectionism didn’t waver under the pressure and he put in another superb pair of runs! Sadly Lewis’ drift stalled slightly in the final sweeping corner giving Bryan the victory.
CS Top 16
The first battle in the top 16 of the CS class would be between Tom Gaskin and Matt Hurford. Tom simply dominated Matt and secured himself a place in the top 8.
Crowd favourite young Ricky would battle young, but not quite as young, Rob Moore. The battle went to one more time after Ricky folded under the pressure of battle and Rob folded knowing the the crowd would boo him off stage if Ricky got knocked out. In the first one more time battle Rob seemed to push the fear of forever being the villain aside and sat right on Ricky’s door. The crowd jeered and mocked the elder driver as the cars swapped places. Rob charged away from junior Ricky on his lead run but in the penultimate corner Rob’s GTR ran flat out into the inside wall of corner, spinning across the track. This was now Ricky’s moment, all he had to do was keep the car sideways and he would take the victory… Which he did! The crowd exploded in noise! “RICKY! RICKY! RICKY!” Must have been heard for miles around!
In a David vs Goliath battle Craig Draycott and first-timer Nathan were next to battle. Both were sporting rising suns on their shells, were representing DHB wing mounts and both lacked front bumpers on their shells. David (Nathan) cast his stone against the veteran Goliath (Craig). The Yokomo out performing the MST seeing Nathan through to the next round.
The battle between Gary Stout and Matt Fellows was a tough one to judge. Both drivers put in a fantastic set of first runs and the battle went to one more time. The second set was close too, the judges gave Matt the win though.
Rayleigh RC’s main man Chris would battle DHB’s Alan Palmer. Chris folded under the pressure and made mistakes on both of his runs giving Alan the win.
Unbeatable Bryan was beaten by the Chuck Norris of RC drifting Carl Hillis who had his BMW planted on the door of Bryan’s Chaser all the way around the track.
Another close battle would be staged between Arley Reed and Paul Simms. Both runs were very clean but Paul managed to hold the closer proximity on his chase run giving him the advantage and the win.
As with full size drifting a driver can call for 5 minutes before a battle to fix his or her car. Andy had to call for 5 minutes before his battle with Jay to fix a broken arm.. Much do the joy of judge Steve who charged off to go to the toilet. The fastest I’ve ever seen him move! In or out a car! With seconds to go Andy manage to get his car on the track and proceeded to dominate his opponent.
The first battle of the top 8 was a dramatic dual between Alan Palmer and Tom Gaskin. Alan managed to spin off the start forcing a restart then proceeded to stick right to the door of Tom. The pressure was now squarely on Tom’s shoulders who cracked, making a couple of small corrections within his chase run giving Alan the victory.
A surprise result followed Alan and Tom’s battle when new comer Nathan knocked out Carl Hillis.
Much to the absolute dismay of the crowd young Ricky crashed out on both of his runs against Paul Simms allowing Paul to go through. How’s the conscience today Paul?
The battle between Andy and Matt went to a one more time after a close set of first battles. Andy took the victory after Matt buried his car in the wall.
There was no separating Alan Palmer and Nathan Manning in their first set of battles and the one more time battles. The fight went to sudden death but Nathan’s battery ran out before he could get to the line. A 5 minute rule was used and Nathan was able to get his car back on track. Alan chose to be the chase driver and sat right on Nathan’s door seeing Alan into the final!
Both Andy and Paul put clean runs in. The experienced judges were looking for every little error or difference now and gave the victory to Andy.
Fight for 3rd!
A difficult one to call from where I was sitting. Both Paul and Nathan put on a fantastic show and displayed their best driving of the day. Nathan did make a couple of small corrections though which saw Paul take the spot on the podium!
Both Andy and Alan had been driving fantastically all day and both certainly deserved their place in the final! Both appeared to give fantastic runs, the judges must have seen something I didn’t though and decided on a winner! That winner was…
ALAN! Well done Al 🙂
(3rd place Andy King)(2nd Place Lewis Broughton)(1st Place Bryan Sebastian)
(3rd place Paul Simms)(2nd place Andy King)(1st place Alan Palmer)
Another great day at Rayleigh RC. Once again the level of driving ha really shot up! I’m really looking forward to the next one!
Thanks for reading!