Back in 2008 the British Drift Championship held its inaugural round at a rain soaked Teesside Autodrome. I remember the day well – overcast skies turned to drizzle, then drizzle to rain. By the time we had the top sixteen out on track, the rain was bouncing three feet off the ground and piloting a jet-ski around the waterlogged track may have been easier than a drift car.
Three years down the line BDC returned to its birthplace for round three of the 2011 championship. In stark contrast to the rain soaked first round we were greeted by blue sky and 30 celcius temperatures.
As the eighty four drivers and teams arrived on the Saturday morning, the paddock area had to be extended out onto the West circuit to accommodate all the drivers. The BDC Paddock now resembles a small village.
There is something magical about a race paddock early in the morning. I love just walking through taking in the sights and sounds of the teams preparing for a weekends competition.
Awnings mark out the various property boundaries in BDC-Ville.
With such a large and sprawling paddock, personal transport is a necessity.
But with a short trip to the grid everybody could make use of the enormous amount of practice time available.
Even with a few minor teething problems there was plenty of time to get everything sorted.
One of the best looking cars in the paddock! Phil Maclachlan's V8 PS13. Aggressive from any angle …
… even more so in maximum attack mode.
Teesside veteran Ian Harrison was straight into the groove in his R32.
There's something about a Rocket Bunny Kitted S13, still the best aftermarket styling you can get in my opinion.
Focused. Sitting on the line visualizing the upcoming run. Even with a 30 degree ambient temperature and cabin temperatures through the roof, the level of concentration was intense.
Long third gear right hander tightening into a second gear hairpin, quick transition into a left hand hairpin before opening the taps and climbing the box for the flat out right hander to finish.
With a long super-smooth right hand turn one I indulged in a few gratuitous wide pans.
The idea was to have the car isolated in nothing but a merged blur of green and orange …
… still a little too much detail left in the background for my liking, one day I'll master it.
Christy Carpenter was one of the surprise entries from across the Irish sea.
With high temperatures and high levels of grip tires were taking a pounding all weekend.
With a lot of the cars only getting two or three laps to a set before returning for fresh rubber.
Before returning to the track for another assault.
This is the first chance I had to catch Simon Perry's wheel arch vent system in full effect.
The only shade from the relentless sun the infield had was the back of the Maxxis PR truck. A spot very sought after by the assembled media.
Grabbing a lift to the driver briefing.
The briefings as usual were chaired by Mark 'Sweeps' Buckle.
Winner of the very first BDC event, Team Japspeed's Shane Lynch.
With the main event drawing close just enough time for a few final tweaks.
The final practice session was intense..
..With five and six car trains heading out on track the smoke was just incredible, only leaving small windows to grab shots before the next onslaught of thick blinding smoke.
The now familiar sight of hundreds of shredded tires on the outside of the final turn.
Armed and dangerous. Stephen Brooks fresh back from his first Formula D event.
1PM and the battles commenced.
Marc Huxley took the over all win in the semi-pro class in his SR20 powered Corolla.
With Mike Marshall emerging victorious after some hard fought battles in Pro.
Teesside is famous for close competition, The Super-pro class took it to another level! Falken Tires Matt Carter was easily the the most aggressive driver if the day, not giving an inch in any battle.
It wasn't the best weekend for championship leader Mark Luney and Team SATS. A surprise 9th place in qualifying saw the Cosworth Supra running against Simon Perry in the top 16 battles. whilst Following in Perry's smoke Luney ran a little wide and collided with the tire barrier. The damage was not enough to put him out of the competition, but a 10-0 advantage to Simon Perry spelled the end of Mark Luneys weekend.
After a torrid time the previous day with ECU problems, Paul Smith Beat Simon Perry in the third place play off.
Steve Moore eventually took his first win of the season after an insane OMT battle with Matt Carter.
Matt Carter now leads the overall Super-Pro leader board by 11 points, but with 3 rounds remaining it's still all to play for in the 2011 championship.
With two long days of sunshine and action drawing to a close, all that's left to do is disassemble BDC-Ville and head north for round 4 Knockhill next month.