Early on a Sunday morning, the massive Nissan plant in Sunderland echoed to the sound of screaming engines and tortured tires, as the British Drift Championship 2011 came to a climax with the final round.
Practice and qualifying had produced some surprise results, leaving all three classes well and truly up for grabs.
As the gates opened to the public, the Super-Pro practice sessions were well underway.
A few mechanical woes were sorted during the night …
… but some problems were just too big to sort. Jamie Kenyon blew a rod out of the side of his SR20 powered MX5 in practice and his weekend was over.
The abrassive surface was causing massive tire wear with a set of rears lasting up to six laps, a few drivers starting running low on rubber.
Belinda Challis’s turbo started making all the wrong noises during the morning sessions forcing her to nurse the R32 into the finals.
Qualifying had taken its toll on the injured mark Luney. The damaged shoulder was refusing to play ball and he missed out on the morning sessions.
The SATS truck tail lift was proving a popular place to view from.
Time to download the in-car cameras and analyze the runs. With a championship up for grabs, even the smallest improvement may make the difference.
A consistent season saw Wayne Keeber safe in third place overall.
Second in qualifying Japspeed’s Paul Smith was looking good for the main event with some trademark ‘smoke screen’ runs.
Destroyed tires were a common sight round the paddock …
… a look at the final turn showed why! Marbles build up at every event, but I don’t think I have ever seen them so deep.
Judge Rich Newton was on Facebook/Twitter detail during the lunch break.
The assembled media discuss likely positions to shoot the finals from. I’m not entirely sure where Drifted’s Jordan Butters was intending to go.
Andy Arnott had the drive of his season in Semi-Pro class. Winning against Mark Lappage in his first top 16 battle, he met Belinda Challis in the top 8. The battle with Challis went OMT 3 times before Arnott was finally beaten.
The Semi-Pro championship was decided in the quarter finals. Marc Huxley found himself up against Championship Leader Matt Campling. Looking to take the advantage in the first battle, Huxley ran out of tires half way through his chasing run and was out of the game.
Campling’s car was bristling like a hedgehog after making contact with a corner marker and found himself in the final with Belinda Challis. Campling took the win and secured himself the Semi-pro Championship.
Pro class championship leader Micheal Marshall found himself up against team mate Chis Hawkins …
… with Hawkins taking the win.
Ian Philips in the V8 powered R33 was looking unstoppable.
Surprise of the day was Semi-pro driver Sam Holt. Given a wild card entry into the Pro class he found himself progressing through the field …
… to the point where he found himself in the Pro-class final, up against the all conquering Ian Phillips. Phillips took the win leaving Holt with an amazing second place.
In the Super-Pro class Danny O’Brien also had the drive of his season. Up against Paul Smith in the top sixteen battles, a spin from Smith saw O’Brien through to the top eight.
Matt Carter clinched the championship in the top sixteen. An engine failure from his opponent Jody Fletcher have him a ‘by’ into the top eight and that was all he needed to wrap up the 2011 Super-Pro championship. He met with Team Japspeed’s Steve Biagioni in the top eight who took the win against the newly crowned BDC Champion.
Julie Robinson had an, um, little altercation with the turn one barriers in her battle with wild card Ian Philips. I shouldn’t laugh but it was the funniest thing I have seen all year! The R32 was completely wrapped in water barriers and Maxxis hoardings chasing the V8 R33 as Robinson refused to back off.. Awesome!
Mark Luney had taken to driving one handed to compensate for his injured shoulder. It seemed to be working well as he took down Wayne Keeber to progress into the top eight and Simon Perry to get into the semi-finals.
Ashley Stevens clipped the barriers in turn two, removing his wing giving a 10-0 advantage and place in the Semi-Finals to O’Brien.
Ian Philips beat top Qualifier Shane Lynch for his place in the Semis.
250hp against 800hp (SATS Cosworth had turned the boost down). O’Brien met with the one armed Luney in the Semi-Finals. Luney smelled blood and hounded the Competition Clutch S14 all around the course, sealing the deal with an overtake in the final turn.
Steve Biagioni found his way to the finals with a win against Ian Philips …
… leaving a Biagioni Luney final. An advantage in both runs saw Mark Luney take the BDC Round 6 Super-Pro win.
The effort had taken its toll on Mark and he had to be helped from the car. Considering it was in doubt he would be even able to drive at the start of the day, the win was nothing short of miraculous.
With Luney taking the top step followed by Biagioni and an amazing drive from Ian Philips to see him on the third step of the poduim. Matt Carter with the overall Super-pro win with Mark Luney in second and Wayne Keeber in third and that brings the 2011 BDC to a close. I can’t quite believe it’s all over.
Roll on 2012!
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