The Drift Allstars series returned to the UK for the penultimate round of the Championship. The troubles the UK has been having over the last week almost put the event itself in jeopardy, but I'm glad to report that though some areas were badly effected by the unrest, the UK on whole is not the war zone that the mass media had been reporting. The only riot here [Jeremy Clarkson tag on] was on … the track! [Jeremy Clarkson tag off]
The venue was a trip down memory lane. Not used for drift competition for 6 years, the Birmingham Wheels track is normally used for stockcars and short circuit events.
Surrounded by intimidating armco, bearing the scars from its previous victims. The track has a nasty sting its tail for anyone unlucky enough to get it wrong.
The compact layout called for precision driving..
..and close quarter drifting.
Driftworks are based just a few miles away from the track. So taking advantage of a rare 5 minute drive rather than the usual few hours, fielded the DW S15 for competition.
And as usual smoked the place out. They were getting just 3 laps to a brand new set of Federals.
Walton Smith and the Jap-Performance crew made it after an epic all night mapping session on a new engine..
.. now with an RB26 bottom end. The results from a long nights mapping – 509BHP with wheel-spin on the rollers with an extra 150BHP in the midrange. Perfect!
The tight layout suited Fillipo Pirrini and the MX5, putting in some seriously quick laps in practice.
Anthony Morely's Skyline was a bare shell at the beginning of the week and did well just to get to the event. After a few boost problems Anthony settled into the groove and started turning in some decent laps.
An event in the Midlands will always bring out the old guard of British drifting. Team Nightspirit were pretty much responsible for bringing drifting to the UK so it was nice to see a few of the old salts there. Chris (Paz) Parry..
.. and Jay Walker of Jim's Factory who both now favour BMWs rather than the AE86s of old.
Pirini's little Mazda is a very, very cool car..
..packing well over 300BHP, it's a formidable little tool.
In the RC drift paddock this replica of the Lowbrain PS13 caught my eye..
..Pretty good likeness don't you think?
Faruk was kept busy with a massive 31 media signing on through the day.
All things safety were handled by Andy Harris and the MSS crew.
You may have noticed the lack of big rear wings from the event?
Due to the rear clipping points being right at end-plate hight, most people removed them with conventional tools rather than use the wall.
Tom Yates was the only person to get up close and personal with the wall. On the final clip during his qualifying runs he tapped the armco a little hard with the rear bumper and got dragged into the wall.
Brad (Lighting) McQueen was on form with some amazing wall scrapping runs.
James Deane's qualifying run was nothing short of epic! Running the entire wall through the first turn and being inch perfect on every clip, he was awarded 99 points by the judges. Not a score that is given out lightly.
As the sun set the stadium lights came up and the top eight drivers came out for the meet and greet session.
Expertly handled by the man of many many words, Bryn Musselwhite.
I'm not really a fan of night events. They look spectacular but I always struggle to shoot in the dwindling light.
Thankfully Birminham Wheels has pretty even lighting around the entire track so dark spots were not an issue.
By 9.30 it was pitch black and the battles on track were getting fierce.
Phil Morrison and Nigel Colfer's Battle for 3rd was a touch and go affair. I genuinely had no idea who would come out on top it was that close.
Phil demonstrated just how smokey the cabin of the S15 gets after 2 fully committed runs.
After a very hard fought competition James Deane extended his lead in the championship with the win. Christy Carpenter came home second and Phil Morrison third.
All that's left in the 2011 Drift Allstars championship is the Final Flagship round held at Wembley Stadium next month. Paddy and myself will be there to bring you all the action from what promises to be the event of the season.