It had been a long month of drifting as we approached the final of the British Drift Championship. Four major events and 2500 miles later, I can't quite believe the 2011 Drift season is over. It just seems like yesterday I was making my way north to Donnington Park for the opener of BDC six rounds ago.
It has been quite a season in BDC. Surprise results, drama, special guests in the form of D-Mac and Fredric Aasbo entering the Silverstone round and above all truly epic driving in every round.
As we went into the final Matt Carter was leading the Super-Pro class from Mark Luney by just seven points, so it was still all to play for.
The drama started before the event. It was in doubt that Luney would even be able to drive after suffering a serious off-track accident. Damage to his right shoulder and arm had rendered him virtually one handed.
To add to the drama of the final round. Matt Carter suffered an engine fire in practice throwing the reliability of the Falken S14.5 into doubt.
With the grass roots Semi-Pro class still up for grabs …
… and the Pro class. Champions would be crowned at the final round.
With everything riding on the final round there was an unusual tension in the paddock. Points to be gained, class promotion on the cards for some, possible demotion for others. Every point counted and every run scrutinized.
With tire smoke ebbing into the pits from the track, it gave a surreal Victorian "Pea-Souper" feel.
Simon Perry's crash helmet matching the livery of the pink R33.
Stephen Brooks was on chase car detail, filming for his final film of the 2011 season.
With the development of the Japspeed 1JZ powered Impreza coming together, Steve Biagioni was showing why he was 2009 champion.
With over 70 competing drivers, judges Julian Smith, Rich Newton and Mitch Clarke had their work cut out.
Before qualifying commenced, the obligatory drivers briefing was held …
… for the judges to explain exactly what was expected of the drivers around the custom made track.
'Reach for the sky punk' Mark Buckle mugged scrutineer Malc Fosgate just before the driver briefing.
With everybody's attention taken up with the briefing, it gave a perfect opportunity for a nose around the BDC race control. The Judges note books … I could tell you what was inside but I feel I may become an intimate part of a motorway flyover if I did.
A peak in the back room revealed the Cosworth supplied trophys made from Formula One engine parts. Very, very cool.
One of my favorite cars in BDC is Jarack (Jeek) Fedirico's 540 BMW.
.It's a big ol' beast to throw around but looks and sounds amazing.
Rocket Bunny S13 in white, what's not to like?
Staying on the Rocket Bunny theme, Anthony Scott brought along the original UK PS13. Unfortunately a hard season had taken its toll, after three laps the Bunny kicked its legs in the air with a blown head gasket.
A place for everything and everything in its place. Back of the Team SATS truck.
Mike Marshall was just one point behind top pro class qualifier Ian Phillips.
Even in serious situations it never fails to amuse me the influence of the camera on its subjects.
Who would have thought Speedhunters' own creative director would have had a world wide influence in drift-media fashion.
Mark Luney took to the driver's seat and make it to fourth place in super-pro qualifying.
With mechanical problems held at bay, championship leader Matt Carter qualified third.
But it was Team Japspeed's Shane Lynch who took the top spot with an 87 point run.
With Saturday's qualifying over, all that remained was Sunday's main event to end the season. I'll be back in part two with Sunday's action.