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As the dust settles on an incredible season opener of the 2018 British Drift Championship (BDC), many people may have been confused by our approach this year. Each off-season we analyse each championship and create a list of improvements to further progress the series. We could have easily pressed copy and paste after a successful 2017 and made our lives easy, but that has never been our philosophy. This off-season, our analysis lead to a deeper and more worrying question – do people care?

Of course, the drift community cares; they, after all, are responsible for where we are today. But do the general public care? The answer is, probably not. Most of us true fans believe drifting to be the greatest motorsport on earth. It’s dramatic, challenging, visually dynamic and totally unique in its presentation and format. A community of die-hard fans and drivers over-achieving and self-sacrificing as a team for the unrivaled love of the sport.

In fact, we have done a good job fooling most people into thinking the BDC is ‘professional’. Drivers stand beside well-presented and expensive cars with nothing in their pockets, whilst driving instructors, fabricators and chefs are expected to become presenters, track marshals, and judges. The show is insanely under-staffed and each staff member over-worked, almost to the point of collapse. Neither the drivers or championship have any right, budget or experience to present as high a quality event as they do. In fact, some purists feel no guilt in picking holes and criticising everything online as they relish their role as anti-establishment heroes to this ‘high-revenue’, ‘high-budget’ and ‘stable’ motorsport. Irony at it’s finest.

So who is a true BDC fan? In my opinion, there are two kinds – those that brave the conditions, sacrifice their time and contribute to its very existence by attending in person, and those that watch livestream. Essentially, those that give, and those that take. Livestream was introduced to create a fanbase for the BDC and each driver across the world. To allow those that genuinely couldn’t make an event the ability to follow their favourite driver. To promote the sport to new fans and encourage them to come experience the atmosphere. The question now is, has it become fickle convenience?

It is important to recognise that the people who physically attend each event are its lifeblood. The BDC would not exist without them and drivers would not have the media exposure they have without the budget they create. We also value their opinion above anybody else. Another important group of people is our sponsors, who believe in our collective dream, even when it may be a risky commercial investment. This group of people are genuine supporters and fans, pushing the sport forward. They are the life and soul and we appreciate every single one of them.

The internet audience is less relevant, as it’s unlikely they will contribute anything other than an opinion. It disappoints me that many purists now fall into this category and use the service we provide them, for free, as a platform to gain social-media attention. It is a selfish approach and I feel we have pandered to them for too long. We are sometimes so afraid of criticism (we are only human) that we shy away from taking the chances the sport needs. I think it’s time for people to decide if they believe in the direction BDC is going, and if not, why do they tune in?

Purists will praise the ‘glory years’ of the mid-2000s and wish the pause button had been pressed there when they were relevant. In reality, it wasn’t that publicly popular then either. With flourishing practice day and amateur competition options in the UK, the grassroots side of drifting is more successful, in terms of driver entries and revenue, than pro competition. We are now the underdogs, but it’s important to know that the BDC is not, and has no aim to be, grassroots. I believe every driver and staff member wants to break new ground, improve all aspects and achieve public recognition. Why else would we put ourselves through it? We at BDC want everybody to watch and appreciate these incredible drivers and help them achieve their dreams, because they truly deserve it. With true general public recognition comes increased sponsorship, higher reward, better driving and new possibilities. It’s the next step, and as of yet, has never been achieved anywhere on earth.

If recognition from the general public is what we want, there are some hard truths we must, as a community, accept. If drifting is as great as we all think it is, it would already be mainstream. That means something is not clicking with the regular guy on the street. Is it too complicated? Is it too repetitive? Is it not entertaining enough?

At Round 1 of the 2018 BDC in Rockingham this past weekend, we tried to address those issues. Our new graphic system was intended to make the format more visual. Our judging system was simpler. Nathan Black was there to provide comic relief when things got too serious. We completed a Top 16 in 90 minutes to keep the action unrelenting. We even had an international TV show filming at the event to enhance our reach to the public domain. All were brand new additions that need time to get right, but we knew the risks and I believe they worked (at times) to elevate the show.

With such a reliable track, media and backroom team now handling the running of each event, we have the confidence to be more creative and try new things. This is an exciting time, where we are confident in the competitive side being consistent and fair, while the presentation side is open to dramatic change. Otherwise, we keep going in circles.

I like to imagine the public acceptance and recognition of professional drifting is stored within a locked safe. With each passing event, we pick our numbers and give the lock a pull. We accept that some numbers will be right and some will be wrong. The drift community will always argue over and critique the numbers we choose, but putting the same ones in time after time doesn’t make sense. We now have the most committed and passionate minds standing around that safe, more determined, committed and together than ever before. We don’t plan on stopping our attempts.

Last weekend easily broke both the attendance and viewership records for the BDC, a fact that surprisingly doesn’t satisfy our team. We think there is a lot more work to do, starting today … We are now entering the unknown, open minds at the ready.

Thank you all for your support and we will see you at Teesside Autodrome in June.

Dave.

Comment(s)

  • I started off as a live streamer and it inspired me to come to round one. I even dragged my wife and young daughters with me where we stayed fur the full day. Despite the cold there was no part of the day we could tear ourselves away from the action. The fan accesiblity of meeting the drivers and seeing the cars up close adds to the appeal. My youngest daughter who suffers anxiety issues was adamant she’d talk to the only female driver in the pro class, and she made my daughters day. I’ve loved drifting for years and my long suffering wife who knew little of the sport enjoyed her day and found the rules and scoring easy to understand. We hope to make more events even it is only the season close BA k at Rockingham. Keep up the great work.

    • I will be honest I only went to knockhill one year to get a glimpse of Shane Lynch as I’m a huge Boyzone fan but I couldn’t believe how hooked I became. Now I have my husband and 10 year old nephew as hooked as I am. We love the live feed it keeps us up to date with what’s going on till you guys get to Driftland where we will defo be joining you. The live feed is awesome but nothing compares to watching it right in front of you and my nephew loves getting see the cars and meet the drivers.

  • It was a really entertaining weekend! So much balls to the wall driving. The only downer was the uncontrolable part. The weather. Seems to have a fresh and open feel to it this year. Probably the only thing i missed was drift games. Not sure as to why it was not present this time round. But not the end of the world. The only other thing i think was needed was if possible a slightly larger grandstand as we did struggle to get a seat for the top 16 on sunday. Which isnt really too bad a thing depending on how you look at it. The international drivers shook up the grid well and added a unknown element to it. This format IMO works. Keeps people switched on and entertained. The big downside to other drift events with live streams is the amount of downtime between the track action. This year from what i saw of the live stream on saturday was perfect. Just action all the way through. How it should be. Being there on sunday was way way way better even if it felt like winter still. Would do it all over again to hear the scream of roaring engines from insane builds and some seriously close battles. Hats off to all involved. Uk drifting just turned up the wick again. BRING IT ON!!

  • 1. Nathan wasn’t fun to watch he was as annoying as it could get ..

    2. If BDC wasn’t so corrupt it would attract many more public members. It is wrong when you see a battling couple at the starting point and before the battle starts you already know who’s going to be put through…

    3. BDC commentators need to learn what’s real door to door battle and what’s real running the wall…tagging the wall by hitting it is not running it…beimg miles away from it isn’t running it either…

    4. Maybe you should consider starting it later in a year because as much as you might not want to accept it, some real fans have families (little children) and it is a whole day out there.. i was cold by just looking at those viewers out there and so glad i didn’t drag the kids out there but chose to watch at home instead.

    • If BDC had it’s highest attendance and record viewership at the weekend, how is it the wrong direction? It’s important to note that attendance was up 50% and viewership up 800% on the same event two years ago.

      1. Nathan wasn’t fun to watch he was as annoying as it could get ..

      He will always divide opinion, that is his job, to shake it up a bit. If some people like him and some don’t, it’s a plus that some are getting extra laughs during the event. The crowd were all laughing in the grandstand, so maybe it was a bit more ‘you had to be there’

      2. If BDC wasn’t so corrupt it would attract many more public members. It is wrong when you see a battling couple at the starting point and before the battle starts you already know who’s going to be put through…

      I remember the years of listening to internet comments about “James Deane always wins because the judges are from Cork”. Good thing the European and FD judges were too. This claim is nonsense and as much as fans want the underdog (or their favourite) driver to win, we stick to strict criteria. No drivers complained about any calls last weekend as they understood the criteria/rules.

      3. BDC commentators need to learn what’s real door to door battle and what’s real running the wall…tagging the wall by hitting it is not running it…beimg miles away from it isn’t running it either…

      I’ll inform them of your complaint.

      4. Maybe you should consider starting it later in a year because as much as you might not want to accept it, some real fans have families (little children) and it is a whole day out there.. i was cold by just looking at those viewers out there and so glad i didn’t drag the kids out there but chose to watch at home instead.

      Unfortunately we are at the mercy of the venues and their schedules.

      • Thanks for the reply. I didn’t say it was going a wrong direction. It was one of the bests this year. There were some ” whoah” moments and awesome battles. The new marking system was great.

        Can’t really say much more about Nathan I suppose he just wasn’t my cup of tea..glad there wasn’t much of him haha..

        It has got nothing to do with my favourite at all. He wasn’t even battling at a time where i thought “this is so obvious if X is going to go through it eill be so wrong!” And unfortunatelly he did… but who am i to judge hey

        I think a lot of the fans who watch all other Drift series in Japan Australia and America are disappointed in what stands as running wall not just in BDC but in drifting in the UK in general… i think when you watch all the other series, you expect just as much heat and near miss moments in BDC as in other countries..but only get a few.. however this year we had quite a few proper door to door high speed battles and my blood boils just by thinking about them right now ?

        I understand that, it’s just a shame.

      • I’d love to talk with you personally as I’m a massive fan and don’t want to put my points here! But well said Sir!

  • I watched the live stream because I couldn’t be there and to be honest I’d pay to watch the live stream too. I can’t always make the events due to family commitments but I’d happily pay a subscription to contribute to watch the season. I was blown away with the coverage, the camera angles and aside from a little notchy commentary (no I couldn’t do better) I thought overall it was outstanding. I cant wait to Watch the next one. I could easily see and hour long programme, with some driver profiles and background on builds spanning the day over maybe 2 episodes with a suitable cliffhanger half time. Great to watch on the day in the event then great to get the highlights in a convenient programme afterwards. I have never grasped why drifting hasn’t become mainstream in the UK. I competed along time ago when Stiggy had his starlet and the best we could hope for was a banger oval near Northampton. I dont have the magic answer but it deserves better now. Good work to all involved

  • I had the whole weekend reserved for the stream. I am from Germany, thus unable to attend. I would if it was within reasonable driving distnce. Sure you see everything fine online, but you dont smell the tyres, d9nt feel the burn in your eyes. I dont think you have to worry about fans going online instead of live. Football stadions are full, even if you see better on tv. I would leave a suggeation if I may. Try including a graphic that puts a RL car in comparison with VR ideal line. Like in skiing.

  • Great words David. A great event too.
    I was unable to get to the event as I had plans in place already. However, to be honest, the distance to travel usually is a decider for me anyway. I’m sure I’m not alone in that respect.
    I did manage to catch quite a few hours on the livestream and it was SUPERB !!
    I am an (amateur) tog and regularly attend Buxton, 3 Sisters (already bought my tickets for BDCand Driftcup events) and Teesside too. They are all within 2 hours from where I live.
    I’ve applied for media at the Driftcup event and awaiting news. I doubt I’m good enough for BDC standards – so haven’t tried to apply.
    However, the point being that I know a lot of the drivers on the drift scene as I’ve been an avid follower since 2015 and love the banter, the ease at which you can approach all the drivers (males and females) and the fact that the sport is so approachable to the public – the very followers that you credit so well.
    The very people you credit for following the drift scene have probably been there for the majority of the time and get great satisfaction from interacting with the drivers and talking about their cars, face-to-face. Very few motorsports allow you this opportunity and THAT is a great selling point for the sport. Don’t give up, but please consider that some followers can’t travel (or chose not to travel) the country to follow the Drift Family. Livestream gives us all the ‘fix’ we need until the event is closer to home.
    I’ve even had the pleasure of seat-time with a couple of guys that are doing pro-am / pro in BDC one week and a local circuit the next week – these guys/gals are as approachable as you and I – and that is a credit to them and to the circuits they attend.
    Livestream on Sunday was awesome and I wished I was there to see it live.
    Keep up the great job you and your Teams are doing – it’s appreciated by so many people who love a sport that is so approachable and affordable to watch. Thank you – and a BIG THANK YOU to ALL your Team that help keep everyone safe at these events.
    Regards.
    Mike Finch

  • Absolutely love the new look BDC!! It’s really come together over the last couple of years and the standard involved in both the drivers and cars this year is beyond compare! There are cars in the BDC now with power figures like that of Formula Drift in the states, and honestly some of the drivers we have could make a serious show there as well.

    I’d love to be able to come to every event but that just won’t happen, so the live streams are great! I can drop in and out of the stream to suit me and it the graphical overlays and presentation is phenomenal.

    As someone else has said I’d genuinely pay for it, something similar to the WRC might be an idea if revenue is something that the BDC worry about…

    People will always turn up to the events, and having the online portion allows the fans to share it with their friends, who share it with their friends and so on!

    Big up the BDC!

  • A super day out my son is bdc mad and I like taking him as you can see all the action within a compact track unlike track racing when u r waiting for next lap and miss an overtake also the entry cost is less and you can walk around the pits meeting the drivers

  • I was a BDC driver back at the very beginning of the sport in the UK. Was very fresh and exciting and relatively easy to get into. The sport and the organisation has come on leaps and bounds. And I think the current format is working well. I too would happily pay a small subscription for the livestream, as other providers offer. I’m sure that money wouldn’t be used to line the pockets. I would like to see it go back into the events costs or to the drivers as prize money or for exceptional work of the staff.

    The livestream is an easy option for ppl and I agree with another comment that sometimes it’s impossible to attend events due to distance. A day out to Teeside for me and the fam for example could cost me several hundred pounds in fuel, merch and the expensive burgers ?

    With a livestream subscription I’d like to see some driver POV live footage of that’s viable. Maybe also including some viewer interaction letting them become part of the judging as well maybe.

    Would argue that there may not be enough to keep some entertained during breaks and throughout the whole weekend. I don’t know what rockingham allows but maybe more for families and kids such as simulators or driving experiences. Also with all the hundreds of brilliant sponsors, talented fabricators and tuning houses, why is it only hoodies and t shits on sale? I went with enough cash to buy a kit for my car and some other bits I desperately need. How about inviting sponsors or other traders to have their own trading Area or integrate some selling into the pits? Bit of revenue for the pitches, and some good commerce available. Couldn’t even buy a sticker anywhere unless it was BDC produced.

    On one last note, the exclusion of Drift Games imo was a huge let down. Watching the likes of Huxley etc initiating backwards last year for the sole entertainment of the crowd was just awesome! A noticeable lack in audience cheers on the Sunday I noticed over last year. Don’t get me wrong, I love the event and I’m proud to be in the scene and hope to get back competing soon, and know u guys are putting a huge effort in. Great attendance, but possibly not enough organisation and revenue to make this a long lasting sport that can breakthrough into mainstream tv etc.

    The BDC for me is way more exciting than formula 1. But considering how long it’s been established and following it already has, it’s hard to see why it isn’t fighting to be the UK’s no1 motorsport and televised throughout the season. Need to get it to that level, open it up to the millions who still don’t even know what the sport is and get it on the map. Just hope it’s not gonna take another ten years before that happens.

    Great show tho, great to see McKeever back and absolutely dominate rd1 setting a huge benchmark.

    Keep up the good work guys

  • I have been travelling the country attending BDC for about five years now. Live stream is great but there is no substitute for being there even though it was freezing this weekend (coming from Glasgow I’m used to it). Attendances are visibly getting higher and there are enhancements made year on year which add to the experience. The whole team are doing a fantastic job and providing a high quality event that is great value for money which is why I will be attending the full weekend every round. The general level of drifting continues to rise all the time as well resulting in some awesome battles and great entertainment. Keep up the good work guys, looking forward to Teeside already.

  • We are from Vancouver so have to watch the livestream. Wouldn’t miss it and get up early to watch it.
    We planned an entire holiday around the bdc and idc schedules last fall. We were at teeside and mondello for the final round of each series. It was a dream come true for my husband and I. We got to meet the shanahans and many other drivers we’ve been watching for years. We got to see and touch some of our favorite cars and it was an amazing experience. Without the livestream we never would have even heard of these series. I also would definitely pay for a livestream subscription – worth every cent!! We’d go back to see it all in person in a second if we had the time and money.

  • Another quality event put on by the BDC! I attended with my dad and we both sat on the grandstand until we couldn’t take it any longer…. hands and feet frozen and knees frozen in place, if we weren’t in the grandstand we were sat in the carpark eyes fixed on the phone watching the livestream while still hearing the screaming engines just feet away! The thing we love so much about the BDC is just the raw aspect to all of it, nothing is covered up, no one is too important to speak with you, Dave can very often be spotted in the grandstand or the pits with the drivers and fans. The only small thing that could have made the weekend better is if drift games was brought back! It was loads of fun last year and gave the drivers a chance just showcase more talent! Cheers BDC for another great event and hopefully the next will be a bit warmer!!

  • To the people who criticised BCD i wish they would bring back membership fees,.
    I went to all of the IDC Events and last year the 1st one i missed out on as i was in hospital with my Rheumatoid arthritis,.
    I usually get to the Saturday pro am event and also have to stay in hotels to attend the pro events,.
    You have no idea how abit of drifting takes my mind of the aches and pains,. It has been a god send!
    You guys running these events are most appreciated,. My view is that it will continue to grow,. Iv been impressed by every event,
    Never walked away feeling disappointed,. But more so inspired.. This year i will be attending every IDC event and hope to make it over to some BDC events at some stage,. Id rather pay for watching the events even after attending them too.,
    Dave Egan your team is a great one,. The sportsman ship involved from the guys in the car park through to the guys calling OMT, from the guys putting in the run of their lives to the man in the chip van making a cuppa tea,. It is what it is and I see a sport i want to bring my children up around as the respect and goodwill involved in an event is an inspiration,. Something hard to come by in this dsy and age! Best of luck!

  • 1. Re the under-staffing at BDC events is there no vacancies for volunteers for the season or does this all fall back to a possible lack time to facilitate the appropriate training required to have competent volunteers ? I know I myself amongst others would gladly volunteer !

    2. Regarding the live streams; as a BDC fan I think the streams are incredibly important to raise awareness for drifting. I always share the live stream to my page so everyone on my Facebook (including my Granny!) can see. I think it’s important to remember you will always have more spectators at home for any event, drifting is not alone in this one, and there will always be cheap people who get what they can for free.

    3. Your most concerning question is ‘if drifting is as great as we all think it is, why is it not already mainstream?’ Good question! But I think you’re asking the wrong folk; everyone here loves drifting and has no clue why others don’t love it just as much!

    4. I attended round 1 at Rockingham on Sunday 1st April and despite the awfully cold weather the event did not feel tediously long and I did not struggle to follow the judges decidions AT ALL. I found the graphic scoring system and the simulation of the perfect qualifying line great and it’s probably a particularly useful tool for new spectators. I also found the reduced numbers of competitors that made it into the final battles (compared to last season) to be just right, it meant the event didn’t feel like it dragged on too long, particularly in the cold weather, but also hopefully there was enough opportunities given to the drivers.

    5. Is there a reason that Drift Games are not featuring this season ? I and many others really enjoyed watching the drift games and I also feel that it may appeal to those new to watching drifting.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my feedback, I hope it’s useful.

    Keep up the good work !

  • I was a BDC driver back at the very beginning of the sport in the UK. Was very fresh and exciting and relatively easy to get into. The sport and the organisation has come on leaps and bounds. And I think the current format is working well. I too would happily pay a small subscription for the livestream, as other providers offer. I’m sure that money wouldn’t be used to line the pockets. I would like to see it go back into the events costs or to the drivers as prize money or for exceptional work of the staff.

    The livestream is an easy option for ppl and I agree with another comment that sometimes it’s impossible to attend events due to distance. A day out to Teeside for me and the fam for example could cost me several hundred pounds in fuel, merch and the expensive burgers ?

    With a livestream subscription I’d like to see some driver POV live footage of that’s viable. Maybe also including some viewer interaction letting them become part of the judging as well maybe.

    Would argue that there may not be enough to keep some entertained during breaks and throughout the whole weekend. I don’t know what rockingham allows but maybe more for families and kids such as simulators or driving experiences. Also with all the hundreds of brilliant sponsors, talented fabricators and tuning houses, why is it only hoodies and t shits on sale? I went with enough cash to buy a kit for my car and some other bits I desperately need. How about inviting sponsors or other traders to have their own trading Area or integrate some selling into the pits? Bit of revenue for the pitches, and some good commerce available. Couldn’t even buy a sticker anywhere unless it was BDC produced.

    On one last note, the exclusion of Drift Games imo was a huge let down. Watching the likes of Huxley etc initiating backwards last year for the sole entertainment of the crowd was just awesome! A noticeable lack in audience cheers on the Sunday I noticed over last year. Don’t get me wrong, I love the event and I’m proud to be in the scene and hope to get back competing soon, and know u guys are putting a huge effort in. Great attendance, but possibly not enough organisation and revenue to make this a long lasting sport that can breakthrough into mainstream tv etc.

    The BDC for me is way more exciting than formula 1. But considering how long it’s been established and following it already has, it’s hard to see why it isn’t fighting to be the UK’s no1 motorsport and televised throughout the season. Need to get it to that level, open it up to the millions who still don’t even know what the sport is and get it on the map. Just hope it’s not gonna take another ten years before that happens.

    Great show tho, great to see McKeever back and absolutely dominate rd1 setting a huge benchmark.

    Keep up the good work guys

  • We don’t stop from day start till the very end as yes I admit we are broken by the end of the 2 days….but if we are asked we will do a little more for the team that is BDC
    Our drivers in both classes at BDC are some of the most aproachable drivers in motorsport.
    We have a fantastic bunch of pit crews and teams that will show you just about every nut and bolt on their cars.
    Myself,Minnie,Tom and Callum cover all the pit grid and start line yes 4 of us… that’s because every single driver understands what’s needed and are so great to work for.
    Live stream ..we watch as much as possible on our phones and it’s great.
    In short in my 42 years of competition motorsport the last 2 years have been exhausting but epic (and im not even driving )

  • Brilliant analogy of how the bdc is performing as with any sport it is the money that is put in, makes it more allusive, eg grass track or banger racing minimum tv coverage
    F1 has its own tv show.
    Mabe need to make a big bid to sky to try and get the balls rolling?

  • Hey guys james from Cyprus . Just wanted to say i have been to 2 BDC events last year and it was amazing . You have an audience here in Cyprus that follows the BDC and we wish we could be there . Our championship compared to yours is nothing and I wish our organizers would visit your event and gain back the passion and love for the sport as this is not the case here . The live stream graphics was a fresh of breath of air and im excited to see what comes next !! Your BDC championship is truly moving forward and making new and interesting moves forward to make the drift scene and sport more popular world wide I salute everyone involved in the BDC specially David E .

  • Having never seen the sport of drifting before, I was a little unsure of what to expect when my son dragged me 200 miles north to watch the BDC……………………
    WOW, what a buzz!! The action was full on and nonstop. The commentary from the tower was great and the judges comments really helped you understand the sport, the whole event was very well organised and we’re looking forward to round 2.
    As a soft southerner I would’ve liked a roof on the grandstand and some heaters, I’ve just about defrosted.
    Thanks to all involved at the BDC you’ve acquired a new fan.

  • Being as i stay in the north of scotland its not always possible to make every event, the one’s that i can, i do. Been a follower and fan of the BDC for a long time, also the IDC, i even took the family to global warefare at mondello and it was an amazing experience, nothing can compare to being at any event in person.

    Keep up the amazing work

  • Coming from Scottish Islands to bdc (bar driftland) is hard one to do so making livestream is fantastic! Would quite happily pay the old yearly fee for the event.
    Judged events will always have controversy which tbh I think is good as gives people something to talk about! Just turn off FB commenting ha
    Having yourself in commentating panel other than judging makes event more enjoyable to watch.

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