Trax might be short and sweet, with Silverstone filled from just after dawn and empty at dusk during the single Sunday of the event, but the 2012 edition proved to be another knock-out. Sometimes literally, in the case of our poor Speedhunting girls. A combination of drifting, car clubs, gymkhana, BMX stunt bikes, tuning, track-day driving and DJing – all in one day – is almost too much.
The Speedhunters team again turned up mob-handed to support our two cars – Darren McNamara’s uprated AE86 and Fredric Aasbø’s new 86 would be joining in on the British Drift Championship round at Trax – and this time we were ably supported by new recruits Charlotte and Melissa. Camera in one hand and stickers in the other they were out to investigate all that Trax had to offer, starting with this Senna-stickered NSX.
The first task of the day was to spread the word about the #FeatureThis programme, with the chance to win a feature shoot that would appear in Speedhunters the prize for the winning car’s owner. Was this the winner… Does Melissa’s coy look give it away? Stay tuned…
Multi-tasker Bryn Musselwhite commentated whilst ferrying the girls around in his stickered up Twizzy – not exactly built for three…
The problem with electric cars is not being able to hear them coming…
While the Speedhunters crew gave out stickers – and tried to persuade people to put them on their pride and joy – there were some cars that had, if anything, a surfeit already…
Sticker bombing taken to the next level, with entire magazine spreads utilised here!
Nothing and no one was exempt from Charlotte and Melissa’s attention. It would depend on your opinion which end of the cute scale Shane Lynch was…
…whereas others were so undeniably cute they were off the scale!
Our blacker-than-black set-up in the corner was next to the Maxxis BDC truck, with the tuning vendors area by the pits and the clubs stretching off into the horizon.
The location meant drift competitors having to navigate back through Silverstone’s access roads to get from the paddock to the section of the track being used for the British Drift Championship round, meaning every so often you got the incongruous sight of drift cars growling their way through the spectators.
Another guest car on the Speedhunters stand came courtesy of Time Attack specialist Romain Levesque, who rocked up with his Eurospec Honda CRX.
The work for the Speedhunters stickering crew had started close to base, with Romain adding a Speedhunters logo to his windscreen and a limited edition #Featured sticker to the rear window.
Darren McNamara had already stuck on some of his signature DMacbots to his wing endplates – one would get knocked off during the drift competition, perhaps providing a marshal with an even more exclusive souvenir of the day!
Fredric Aasbø and his crew were set up on the other side of the Speedhunters booth to Darren: this was the first time I’ve seen the new wide-body 86 in the flesh – it looks awesome. The livery shimmers in the sun and the camber is just insane!
With Trax on for just a single day, the programme was packed for all the teams: an early start was necessary to get the day rolling and only the weather could – and would – prove a temporary stumbling block.
Silverstone saw the launch of the new EDTN Collection 01 range of Speedhunters merch: the full range was on sale, plus a preview copy of the Volume One photography book for us all to salivate over.
Tunes were provided courtesy of Speedhunters Digital Producer and resident DJ Rob Bullough…
…creating a great atmosphere throughout the day and a cool background to the signing sessions.
Spread out around Silverstone’s sprawling in-field were the dozens of vendors, hundreds of car clubs and thousands of cars. That mean a lot of walking…
Trax operates on a grand scale: attendees form a carpet of cars covering a huge swathe of Silverstone, with all the usual suspects on show. Clubs from all over the country turn up for this big date in the modified car year.
There’s a huge amount to take in: my brief was to go wide, go high. Vantage points at Silverstone are few and far between, so there was a little bit of scaling required to get some altitude. But when I did get up high (grandstands good; gantries less so; tops of buildings even less), the grand scale of Trax was clear to see..
Walking around the clubs, there was a state of constant flux as cars moved position or went out to join in the on-track sessions. With all the different engines on site, it became a game of ‘what’s that engine’ as the sound of yet another different exhaust note approached.
Though sometimes your senses deceive you. Hearing a rotary or a flat-six or something else exciting became commonplace, though then I heard something that sounds absolutely almighty. Deep and rumbling, with a constant banging undercurrent. It sounded amazing. Ah. It was cleaners dragging along some big rubbish bins. Oops.
It should be easy enough to use your eyes to spot cars you like, but even that doesn’t always work.
Pausing for a coffee, the owner of this Rover shouted over: “You should take a picture of this, mate!”. Should I, indeed? It turned out yes, as this old Rover was a hilarious sleeper. Originally a 2-litre turbo diesel, it had been fitted with a 2-litre Perkins engine and Garrett turbocharger. He had an intercooler – but it was lying in the boot.. The Yokohama sticker tyres were the only visual clue to its potential, and best of all, it ran on vegetable oil. £2.50 to fill it up. That’s a good price for embarrassing all the boy racers on the motorway.
A number of race series and venues were showing off their wares, like Santa Pod with this line-up of dragsters: mini-me to monster-me.
Steve Guglielmi’s 750hp Evo 9 GT was showing off its lovely ceramic goodness on the Time Attack stand. Half a dozen of his fellow UK-TAers also showed off the series’ weaponry.
Renault Sport had a big display of rally, road and track cars from across the years, including a ’97 Maxi Megane rallycar and Laguna SuperTourer from ’99. The British Rallycross Championship representation included the pair of DS3 Supercars raced by Doran père et fils – both showing signs of battle damage having been shipped up directly following the last BRC round at Lydden Hill.
Back to the club goodness, and tuned Japanese cars old and new were of course out in force.
This being the UK, domestic product was also proudly on show, both from the Blue Oval…
…and its perennial competition, the griffin.
Some exotica was also scattered about, like a pair of Nobles and this trio of long-nosed Marcos. The TSO in the centre was the last hurrah from this eccentric firm, and one of just a dozen examples produced before the company went under.
The vendors market was the place to pick up a turbo, colour-code your piping, pimp up your sound system or generally wander around picking up ideas.
Though everything always comes back to stickers…
The lucky ones had managed to book up time for the many on-track sessions that utilised the whole of the new Silverstone Grand Prix track: quite an opportunity that was enthusiastically seized on by hundreds of drivers. Looking at the circuit, this was no tame, ‘no overtaking and no timed laps’ lazy Sunday drive.
It was mayhem out there! I saw cars going four wide on the exit of the Loop… Spins were frequent.
The carrion birds waited expectantly in the gravel traps…
The centre piece of the whole event, and new for 2012, was the Monster Energy Gymkhana. Normally you can wander around the car clubs and find owners around the cars if you need info, but this time a lot of the fields were full of cars but empty of people. Everyone seemed to be watching the drifting or pressed up against the Gymkhana’s perimeter fence, overseen by the ominous Monster tower.
Constant action took place on the big expanse of Silverstone’s parking area where the course was marked out: a combination of drift and demo cars kept everyone entertained.
Stuntman extraordinaire Terry Grant rocked up with his Legends car and grunty TVR. He never fails to make it look easy to the spectator – but utterly terrifying to the poor girls lined up as donut markers. All this whilst usually driving one-handed and filming the spectacle on one of the girls’ phones!
Kicking the Legends car into a donut that he set to auto, Terry then jumped out, ran to the TVR and put that into a synchronised donut with the autopilot Legends car. He’s the man!
The British Drift Championship round was using its usual sweeping S course, laid out on the run down the Wellington Straight, through Brooklands and the long double-apex of Luffield and finishing on the run to Woodcote.
It’s a fast and challenging layout. Finishing a run, the two competitors would spin-turn and run the course in reverse to return to the staging area.
Those saturated Silverstone clouds could not be denied: the early afternoon sessions were ruined by a slick of rain across the track, and any chance of a rainbow was limited to this livery.
Fredric’s 86s was going great guns, and his qualifying went perfectly. As expected, he was at the centre of a media scrum for most of the day.
For Darren it was a different story: the AE86 needed constant attention because of steering problems that he just couldn’t shake off, but it just shows D-Mac’s quality that an off-day still yielded such a strong result in the face of stiff competition from the BDC regulars.
I finished the day with an elevated view of the finals. The sense of anticipation grew as the cars assembled ahead of the final runs of the day. Also, I was a little bit scared that the trapdoor to the roof I had climbed would slam shut, as it did a couple of years back.
As with how difficult it often is to get down low at race-tracks, it’s also rare to be able to get up high, but from my eyrie I had a fantastic view of the action. Look at the little cars!
With the initiation point directly below me, I got a real sense of the energy involved when the e-brake was pulled and the cars began their terminal approach to the first clipping point.
The runs back to the start-line were hardly sedate!
Fredric was absolutely killing it, the fronts at seemingly impossible angles. Maximum attack.
As Larry has already mentioned, the standard of the tandem drifting from the top guys was exemplary – though there was some contact between Fredric and Steve ‘Stiggy’ Evan that saw the Starlet fired off track, luckily without damage. Stiggy would get his own back, as you’ll see later…
With the sun peaking through the clouds, the final damp patches dried and that dense smoke could rise again. The drifting day finished in perfect style – particularly for Fredric.
The Toyota is still very early in its development of course, so Fredric and his team are still ironing out some bugs. Imagine what this car will be like in the future, if this is how good it is now…
All in all, a fantastic day for everyone involved, and a great excuse for the Speedhunters crew to celebrate.
But not just us: Simon Perry was ecstatic at getting his third-place trophy, with Ross I’Anson on the end of some Perry-style man-love. As he said, silverware at Silverstone: very appropriate.
Stiggy decided on some felt-tip additions to Fredric’s livery…
…to identify the point where the 86 and his Starlet came together!
The sun finally came good right at the close of the day, and the packing-up began under a beautiful blue sky. Larry’s new sun-hat concept still requires some work though… I think Europe is confusing him.
With the sun setting, it was the end to another great Trax event. Keep a look out for more detailed coverage coming up, including more on Darren and Frederic’s experiences, a slew of car spotlights from Ross and Camille telling us how she got on wrenching on Fredric’s 86!
one thing that make me very like to Speedhunters... you recruited Melissa Clarke ! Most of men will know who is she :p
I spot a Team NFS wrapped Toyota Chaser!! Or maybe it isn't a Chaser.. But I want a closer look!
The rainbow coloured Silvia belongs to Dan O'Brien. Funny thing is I seen it while at Aberdare park Road races back in July, instantly recognized it from the photo! Small world haha
Terry Grant was in Bucharest with DRIFT ALL STARS. He is awsome!!! That litlle car has an engine from Hayabusa!
Wonder when we give up drifting, it's so not a meaningful sport, it's concept derived from the street has long moved on and I think this should, race these cars in groups, or stick to Time trials, skids are for kids, or Mabee I'm two old!
While I enjoy perusing the Speedhunters website, and have done for some time now, I can't help but think you guys are becoming a little full of yourselves. I understand that you are trying (successfully) to build a brand, but in an event such as this, do we really need so many gratuitous self promotion shots? There are a dozen or so images in this story that show little apart from the SH logo/staff. By all means include a few fluff/team/skite shots in your coverage, but learn when enough is enough. It's not just this story either - it seems to be becoming a regular occurence. There are some stunning action photos in this set, and no doubt there are twice as many on the cutting room floor that were worthy of inclusion. There are also plenty of cars hiding in the backgrounds of shots that crying out to be featured over another photo of a bloody sticker.
Hondafan RodChong Thats one thing that got my back up, £5 for a sticker. i brought one but i feel proper ripped off for it.
Hondafan Hi TomFum. We've decided to go for a more expensive option for the sticker vinyl. It would have been possible to get the cheapest stock possible which is only good for 1 year exposure on the outside of a car before it starts to shink up.
We have gone for a stock which is good for 3-4 years on the outside of a car. It's more expensive to produce but quality is important for us.
It's the same reason that we have decided to use American Apparel stock for our shirts and hoodie designs. It's more expensive but the quality is great.
Aasbø's 86X from the front looks so mean with those eyes and that mouth. And an Angry Birds pig from the back :P
Great pictures, saved to for my Speedhunters desktop background rotation folder :D
AlexanderEvensen Hehe... You're right about the Angry Birds image – I was trying to think what it reminded me of and that's spot on!
I saw there first nice lookin' Opels / Vauxhalls Astras, so there is proove that this car can look good. Wierd and awesome in one time.
One of the engineers I used work with was an old Rover man, we used to wind him up rotten lol@Jonathan Moore
Looks like a good festival. 3 feedbacks Jonathan:
1. Wish I couldve been there
2. i want ALL of those t shirts
3. The new girls look fun!