s14 “winter Build” begins – Roll Cage install & 2015 plans

As I may have mentioned on my last post, due to funds & saving for the engine swap, I’m no longer going to Anglesey Matsuri this year. That sucks, but it does mean saving a ton of money. Because of this, I’ve been doing somewhat of a parts-buying spree over the past few days, and have decided to go into full “winter build” already.

Firstly though, something that I’ve wanted to do for months. Offer up the new turbo & manifold to my new engine. Strangely I’ve had this setup lying around for about 6 months, but never had it all together until now.

Oooooof! Can’t wait :)

Anyway, I set out on finally fitting the Apex Performance full cage that I’ve had sitting in my garage for almost a year. Taking all the interior out wasn’t too bad, just time consuming. A little over an hour from complete interior to this, not too bad.

Getting the rear part of the cage in was easy. Then I realised I had to get the front part in first, so that was easy. Then trying to get the rear in while the front part is in – impossible! Seriously, took me almost the entire day trying to figure this out. Eventually did it.

Obviously not bolted in, and none of the bolts are tight in the cage yet, but its 90% there at last! Just need to get both door bars in & fitted, and I’m good to bolt to the car.

I wanted to keep as much of the interior from the car as I could, but annoyingly I’ve had to remove a lot of it. The carpet will be going back in, but roof lining has had to go. As well as the rear door panels & B+C panel trim. I may be able to modify these to get them back in which is something I’m going to try.

Obviously the dashboard will need cutting to suit too, along with the door cards, all of which I’m going to seriously take my time on as I want it to be as neat as possible. Even though I’m going down the “competition drift car” route now, I still want this to be a nice place to be – carpets, dashboard, door cards & as much sound deadening as I can keep!

As far as how the car is looking, no change! Apart from a glimpse of the cage sitting in the car, looks hard!

Oh, and my classic Mini in front of it. Sat there under all the Nissan parts!

DriftCup Round 3 Lydden Hill 2014 – Write up, photos & videos

Well, as strange as it is for me to say this, but last weekend I took absolutely zero photos of the car or event in question. Luckily however, others were there to capture the action. Lydden Hill Drift Cup Round 3. This was my first ever competitive drifting event, I’ve been drifting just over 5 years and I’ve never done anything competitive, so I was somewhat more nervous than what I’m usually like at practice days.

It was raining the entire drive up (left my house at 3:45am), and arrived just before 7am in an absolute torrential downpour. Luckily I bought a gazebo the week previous, which helped a lot.

The day got started with a drivers briefing, explaining what the judges were looking for in terms of qualifying lines, and how practice & qualifying was going to work. We got 2.5 hours of practice, then lunch, then onto qualifying for Street class & Cup class groups. I was in Street class.

After lunch I did my 3 qualifying laps. 1st lap, 1st corner – spin. Zero run. BALLS! I finished the rest of the run & queued back up behind the other 24 cars. 15(ish) mins later, I was onto my 2nd lap. Calmed down a bit and did pretty well, thought I hit all the clip points fairly well. And again, after another 15min-or-so wait, my 3rd & final qualifying lap was done. This lap I was really pleased with.

After lunch the qualifying results were called out in front of everyone. To my absolute surprise, I qualified FIRST in my class!!! I was blown away, couldn’t believe that. Then, after the Cup class qualifying results were called, all of the Top 16 guys from both classes were called in for a Top 16 briefing. This explained furthermore on what the judges were looking for, and what to do in various chase & lead situations. I was teamed up with 16th place qualifier, Ryan Potter.

We had 1 practice run first, then onto the lead & chase battle. I lead first, I didn’t look back at all so I had no idea how well or not Potter did. Because of this, on my chase I went pretty hard & got pretty close to him! Was fun to drive with Potter, especially being both Navan s14′s!

As soon as we finished, I was called up and congratulated by a marshall who told me I was through to the Top 8! Wow, amazing!!

My next battle was with someone (at the time) I didn’t know. Dean Newport in his R33. Suddenly the pressure & nerves got to me a bit knowing that I’m now through to Top 8! It was suddenly real, but because of this I made a few mistakes. I chased first and screwed up my entry. My handbrake “button” locked on & for a split second stalled the car. I managed to regain drift and catch Dean back up though

Then on my lead run, I did pretty well, fairly smooth & was happy. The judges called a OMT (one-more-time!) Sweet. Now that mistake I made is completely in the past I thought, forget that and I have a 2nd chance at this…

I chased again, this time went super hard & tried to get as close as possible to the R33. Needless to say this resulted in some pretty cool photos

I was pretty stoked with my chase run, with minimal mistakes I thought. Then onto my lead. My entry was great, everything going well, but I made the mistake of looking back too much in the worry of where he was, and then miss-shifted from 2nd to 5th gear on clips 6 & 7. My car straightened completely over the last 2 clipping points. DAAAAMMNN. Kicking myself I knew that was it.

Sure enough, I was knocked out & Dean got the win.

However, I had a fantastic day overall and have definitely got the bug for more competitive drifting. I’ve always said that I never know how good or not I am compared to other people, but qualifying 1st place reinforces my doubts on my abilities. There’s always room to improve, and always time for more practice, but its nice knowing that I’m holding my ground at least.

As always, there are videos from my onboard GoPro :)

My 3rd run qualifying lap (I think my best)

Top 16 battle lead & chase with Ryan Potter

Top 8 battle lead & chase with Dean Newport (and OMT battle)

As far as the car goes, it went as smooth as I could have hoped for. The engine is definitely getting tired now, with VVT rattle at an all time high, and with an odd hot-starting issue.

But as of now, I’m no longer drifting or using the car at all until next year, and until my new engine setup is done. So it’ll be a fairly quiet winter & few months in terms of actual drifting, but it means I can take some time to sort the car out, the new engine & turbo setup, and save some funds in time for early next year practice days & events.

Finally, thanks to all involved with the running & organising of DriftCup. Everyone I spoke to was very friendly, very well run, and all the marshall’s were on form. Can’t wait for the 2015 season to kick off :)

Snetterton 100 circuit drifting – SXOC weekender 2014 – DWYB 27th Aug

Ok, absolutely tons of seat time had over the past few days, things have been very hectic, but a lot of fun!

On Saturday afternoon me & Ryan Pothecary set off for Snetterton for the SXOC weekender. I followed him up with my Land Rover and s14 on the trailer. Its so much nicer going to events now and towing, rather than driving the s14 there & back!

We arrived in the dark, was very foggy & cold, and got the cars unloaded, gazebo setup all ready for the morning. I slept in my Land Rover, actually had a decent night sleep considering! Got into the swing of things and remembered how much I love the Snetterton 100 circuit, then randomly my handbrake begins to fail, which is not ideal when ploughing into the 180* left hander at 90mph+

I came into the pits, removed calipers & discs only to find one shoe had completely cracked! I didn’t take any photos as I was annoyed & just wanted to get back out there, so for the rest of the day I ran with it de-adjusted and didn’t touch my handbrake.

That night, a mate of mine (pit crew) swapped my offside shoe assembly with Ryan’s (as his sil80 uses a hydro working off discs/pads), and as my car wasn’t completely broken, I bought a ticket to drift on the bank holiday Monday too.

With the handbrake adjusted, a few laps down and it bed itself in, and I really settled into it. Managed to chase Ryan down, with my mate taking 1000′s of photos from the passenger seat. So good!

Started to rain, and me & Ryan got a little too friendly. We both spun into the double-apex right hander (Oggies), and ended up smashing into the front of his car with the offside rear of mine. Bugger!

Luckily only cosmetic damage though, so I did a couple more runs, although it was fairly stupid as the track was like driving on ice! Very tired, by around 4pm I had packed up & was on my way home. 3 days & 2 nights at Snetterton sleeping in my Land Rover, I was broken, certainly more than the car!

As always, here’s a full incar video from Snetterton (in the dry). I have to say myself here, but I am really happy with my driving over the 2 days. From looking back at my previous Snetterton attempts, you can clearly see an improvement, which is something I always aim to do.

And then the wet track version, along with the crash at the end

Tuesday saw a “day off” (fixing car stuff, sorting tyres, etc) ready for Santa Pod DWYB on Wednesday with a ton of friends. Pod was fun, although I was very tired still I didn’t put in my best performance by any means. Its also very noticeable how incredibly different Snetterton is to Santa Pod – almost a completely different driving style has to be adapted to suit.

Either way, I had fun. My main aim was to get some real close tandem runs down with my mate Adam, who’s also in our team Throwdown. I think we succeeded :)

It was all good fun. Half way through the day I pushed a little too hard and actually hit Adam. I don’t regret this as its something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – make contact while drifting and carry on!

It was on the same offside rear corner that I hit Ryan as well, typical. At least I didn’t replace the rear light between Snetterton & Pod lol

And again, incar video :)

Anyway, finished up at Pod a little earlier than normal as I was so tired. The car wasn’t doing its best either, a full service and some TLC are defiantly in order now. Here’s how she’s sitting at the moment

Phew! What a hectic past few days!!