I’ve been following BDC since 2008 now. Every year it has gotten better and better. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it out to round 1 due to other commitments (work) but there was a huge buzz about the event on the internet so I had to check out the live stream.
Now, from a spectators point of view, BDC this year has just done the most amazing job! The live stream is top quality and having the stream on Facebook means that those of us who were doing other things on the day can go back and watch the action. Having the judges able to explain their decisions to the audience takes out a lot of confusion and the commentary is top notch! The level of cars and driving has once again taken a huge step. There were battles in the top 16 which could have easily been finals. Fantastic showmanship from everyone involved.
The track at Rockingham is an unusual shape but one that works well for close proximity drifting. The cars leave the line nose to tail and the lead car has to go through a chicane to set the pace entering on the straight section leading into the first corner which is a long sweeping 180 degree left hand bend. After the left hand bend the drivers instantly transition into a slightly tighter right handed 180 degree corner and the final corner is a really long 270 degree left hand sweeper which brings us over the line.
Simon Perry v Julie Robinson
An unusual facing between Simon Perry in the very advanced, heavily modified R35 GTR and Julie Robinson in her somewhat more basic R32 Skyline.
The power difference between the two cars I would say was the deciding factor in this heat. Julie made no serious mistakes but was unable to match the proximity that Simon was able to provide in his chase run.
Mike Walton v Conor Shanahan
Mike Walton has worked his way up into Pro by taking 2nd in Pro-Am. He was theoretically in a comfortable position against young Conor Shanahan who was driving a S14a borrowed from Johno Hare after his own car was taking by his big brother Jack Shanahan.
Conor didn’t let the new car phase him though. He would chase first and made minor contact with Walton’s car in the last corner giving Walton the advantage. Unfortunately in the second run Walton dropped two wheels off track and sent a cone flying which saw him eliminated from the competition.
Richard Grindrod v Oliver Evans
Oliver Evans, the winner of the Pro-Am class would now begin to eliminate a line of giants in UK drifting. First on the agenda was Richard Grindrod. Richard is a Driftworks sponsored driver in a Chevy LS powered E36 BMW. He was clearly on the back foot against Evans though who dominated both rounds of the battle.
Jack Shanahan v Tomas Kiely
Jack Shanahan and Tomas Kiely have been driving against each other since they were 10 years old. The two know each other very well and had brought fairly similar cars. The battles the pair produced were some of the most incredible battles I have not only seen in UK drifting but in international drifting too.
The judges could not decide on a winner of the first two runs and I can’t say I can blame them. The pair were absolutely door on door the whole way around the track and then were also door or door all the way around the track in their deciding runs. Really not a battle I would have liked to have judged but somehow they made a decision and Jack Shanahan went through to the top 8.
Matt Carter v Aurimas Vaskelis
What was promising to be an amazing battle was unfortunately cut short as Vaskelis had to pull off the track with a mechanical issue giving Carter an easy victory.
Martin Richards v Jo Fletcher
Both had an amazing pair of runs but Jo tapped the wall with the back of his car and was sucked in to a crash forcing Richards to spin. Thankfully Richard’s car was unscathed and Fletcher’s car looks as if it only took minor damage.
Huxley v Grundy
I didn’t know who to cheer for in this battle as Danny Grundy is a local driver to me and has worked his way up from King of the Ring which is amazing but I really, really, really love the little ’70’s Celica that belongs to Huxley.
The first run which saw Mr Grundy give chase was a dead tie. The judges couldn’t give an advantage either way. The nerves then set in for Danny who missed the starting chicane voiding the run. They drove back round to the start and set off once more. This time Huxley was able to take the advantage and the win after a couple of small mistakes from Grundy.
Wesley Keating v Matt Stevenson
The first set of battles were dead even so we went to one more run. Of the two Stevenson was definitely the more aggressive. He had more angle and seemed to have a little more flair. The judges kept their level judging heads though and stated that Stevenson did over rotate and did drop a tyre off track at clipping point 4. This is why I’m not a judge.
Simon Perry v Conor Shanahan
The battle between these two was another incredibly close one that I just wouldn’t want to call. Perry had the better chase run though which put him through to the semi final.
Oliver Evans v Jack Shanahan
The next giant to be taken out by Oliver Evans was 2016 champion Jack Shanahan. The major deciding factor was a little contact caused by a mistake Shanahan made on his chase run. An incredibly close battle but the underdog takes it and goes through to the semi final.
Matt Carter v Martin Richards
Two 1.5JZ powered R32 Skylines built by two teams that have rivalled each other in the UK for many years. Matt Carter in the Japspeed prepared car and Martin Richards in the Driftworks prepared car.
Carter had the advantage in both battles and took the win. Richards did well but Carter was just amazing that day.
Wesley Keating v Marc Huxley
This battle was sadly cut short as Keating pulled off track with a mechanical issue. He was still smiling though which is what it’s all about.
Simon Perry v Oliver Evans
Can BDC veteran Simon Perry and his R35 GTR stop Oliver Evans? Nope! Evans puts down a fantastic chase run and takes the victory and a well earned spot in the final.
Matt Carter v Marc Huxley
The SR20DET powered TA20 Celica would face the mighty 1.5JZGTE Japspeed prepared R32 Skyline. Huxley did well to keep up in the Celica but Carter is an awesome chase driver and is not put off by the power variation at all allowing him to take the win.
Marc Huxley v Simon Perry
In all my years I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more unequal pairing. A 1970’s Celica against a R35 GTR.
Both drivers put down spectacular runs but it was Huxley that came out on top. It’s amazing that Huxley can get that little car so far into the competition against much more modern chassis’ with more aftermarket support and double the power. Drifting is really a wonderful thing.
Oliver Evans v Matt Carter
Oliver Evans, the man who dominated Pro-Am has just worked his way into the final of Pro against Matt Carter, an experienced driver in a serious machine. It was a close battle, both drivers gave it their all and more. One small mistake would separate the winner and loser though. One tiny correction. It was Evans that made that correction. Matt Carter would take the crown.
So our final results are:
4th- Simon Perry
3rd- Marc Huxley
2nd- Oliver Evans
1st- Matt Carter
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