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 :)