Drifting is fun.
It is, isn’t it? Sometimes, those of us who get wrapped up in running a drifting championship feel like letting our hair down, with people who, as well as being our championship competitors, are also our friends. With that in mind then, the BDC headed over to see an old friend out in the wilds of Norfolk.
With help from long-time start line marshal Malcolm “Malx” Foskett, our showcase event, Battle Arena, could begin. With a lineup comprising some of the best names in UK competition and some true grassroots heroes, we set out to have some fun!
The first night’s competition had a simple brief. Entertain, at all costs.
This “freestyle event” meant competitors could do whatever they wanted, as long as the judges up in the tower found it entertaining. With the mellow tones of Malx and BDC veteran Steve “Stiggy” Evans on commentary, drivers of all shapes and sizes set out to put on the best show they could for the crowd, be it solo, in pairs, or even up to six drivers sharing the tarmac at once. We saw 360 entries, backwards flicks, suicide drifts, nose-to-nose donuts and sixth gear burnouts from the assembled competitors.
One of the standout vehicles for those in attendance was Roo Gladwin’s Kei Truck. A pint-sized Daihatsu pickup with a turbo Mazda MX5 engine lobbed in the back, it was a marvel that it even worked at all, much less to the level of sheer tyre-shredding excitement it delivered. Good enough for a top five finish.
A young gun itching to prove himself in his brand new build was fourteen-year-old Archie Harmer, who teamed up with another of the BDC’s young stars, Lwi Edwards, to put on an amazing show with nose-to-nose donuts, huge entries and some of the closest twinning we’ve ever seen. Fourth place, and a new name on everyone’s radar.
Third place went to a rag-tag crew of BDC Pro 2 boys – Jay Wilding, Charlie Hulme, Tom Van Beek and Matt Holder, who rolled out four-up to stick it to each other’s doors, and you could have thrown a blanket over all four of them! Well done boys, very deserving of third place.
Second place consisted of four Js. Jim Mountain, Josh Payne, Josh Moore and Joe Gore. Four Js, four different styles of BMW. One touring, one compact, one coupe and one saloon. The boys placed a new level of trust in each other as a four car suicide drift (two cars drifting one way and two drifting the other) was enough to net them second place.
Who won? Obviously it was the Students of Lunatic School. Six Lithuanians and about 4000 horsepower would always be a recipe for extreme entertainment and so it was as two Nissans and Four BMWs containing Nerijus, Egis, Justinas, Arunas, Paulius and Petras set out to put on one Hell of a show. Finishing off three six-car suicide drifts with triple nose-to-nose donuts, the Lunatics claimed a well-deserved win.
So, on to the Top 32. Rather than having your traditional layout of pairing off drivers after qualifying, drivers were instead selected randomly to square off against each other, and once again, as is a common theme for rainy days in the BDC, the spotlight shone on one man – Charlie Hulme.
Charlie and his trusty S13 took on all comers and won, the wet conditions suiting his setup absolutely perfectly, obliterating all challengers until he squared off in the final against the local favourite – Josh Payne.
Josh definitely had the support of the crowd, as a thunderous level of noise flooded the arena whenever his name was called by the announcers. Josh had fought a similarly tough battle to reach the final, and as neither one of the drivers could call on more than 350 horsepower to pull away from the others, we were assured an extremely close final.
After a ten-tenths push from both drivers, with millimetre perfect lead runs and wheel-to-wheel chases, the judges simply could not split them and decided the two should go one more time. Climbing back into their filthy cars for one last battle, the two put on just as great of a show as they had been all evening, with slightly closer chase proximity on Charlie’s part being enough to clinch it for the Yorkshireman.
Third place finisher Nerijus Voliukevicius was pleased to claim his second podium finish in as many events, and his playoff battle against Tom Van Beek in the small-but-mighty MX5 was an amazing spectacle.
Prior to the podium ceremony, all four of the top finishing drivers were invited back out to the track for one more run to celebrate. There were even fireworks. Congratulations to Charlie for winning a complimentary season entry to next year’s championship, Josh for a brand new set of Yellowspeed Coilovers (which will do nicely for his 2021 build), and Nerijus for scooping some Simpson safety gear.
Keep an eye out for Archie and Petras at the next round too!
Now we’ve had our fun, it’s time to get serious again. See you all at Buxton for the championship decider. Tickets are on sale now in limited quantities so don’t miss out!