It’s pretty impossible to try and squeeze an entire weekend of insane motorsport into one short blog. Especially because round four was the most impressive round yet with a purpose-built circuit, concrete walls and a challenging layout to spice things up for our return to the NEC.
As usual there are so many incredible stories to tell about both classes but maybe we should start with the incredible journey of the HEL DriftCup drivers who came, saw and conquered. Four HEL DriftCup drivers earned their chance to compete in the BDC after qualifying in the top 8 of the last DriftCup round, and all of them gained a BDC license thanks to their impressive debuts.
Charlie Hulme, a humble lad from Yorkshire made it all the way into Top 16 of the Pro class after his incredible performance in Pro Am battles landed him in the 4th place spot. From DriftCup, to Pro Am to Pro. The NEC was stunned. But the new drivers didn’t stop there – Marcus Clare in his R32 Skyline scored incredibly high in the Pro Am qualifying which meant that he was sitting second and also slid into the great 8, proving that British competitive drifting is flourishing with up and coming talent. Damien Choppen impressed the judges and reached the Pro Am top 16 only to be beaten by Lwi Edwards, and Chris Parnham qualified 15th which was an achievement to be proud of considering the experience of the BDC drivers which he qualified above.
There are now new points leaders for both the Pro Am and Pro championships, as a dramatic turn of events saw Vaskelis fail to qualify and sacrifice first place of the Pro leaderboard. Lwi Edwards drove consistently yet again to claim the top of the Pro Am class at just 17 years old as well as earning him the most XITE’ing Pro-Am driver.
Yet it is Josh King who scooped up first place by pulling off a huge initiation and running a great line in his lead against Fountain. King proved once again that behind the wheel of his E36 he can really shake things up.
William Hanna triumphed over Stephen Fitzgerald, Lwi Edwards and Martyn Cowley (his battle against Cowley saw Martyn suffer one of the most dramatic crashes of round 4) to fight Matt Fountain in the top 4. Hanna suffered from mechanical failure in his first run and Fountain was handed the second place trophy. Hanna went on to claim the 3rd step of the podium.
Amongst all of this action, it can’t go unmentioned that the track was incredibly wet thanks to a heavy downpour on both days. Drivers were pushing the limits on the line whilst trying to avoid an unscheduled date with the wall, but those that came out on top were showing the concrete some love.
In an intense 3rd place showdown we saw a battle of the southern boys as Bolton went against Sutton – two fantastic drivers in their rookie year of Pro who aren’t afraid to go against cars with twice the power. Of course, it was another extremely close, hair-raising tussle between the two in the final hour, but Bolton snapped up third place and jumped to 7th place in the Pro standings overall.
After some very close battles and difficult decisions made by the judges, our finalists put on one hell of a crowd pleaser as we saw a ProDrift family fight.
It was Martin Wonnacott versus his teammate Alan Hynes – a battle with such closely matched skill that the entire grandstand was on edge. Hynes was crowned first by the skin of his teeth and the ProDrift green army were on their feet. But what meant more to Wonnacott than second place, was the realisation that he had now reached the top of the Pro Class points table.
Round upon round, we see different faces on the podium and a huge range of cars competing. This round really did show that drifting is one of the most captivating and unpredictable motorsports in the world.
These jaw-dropping moments make all the late nights, the long miles and the awful British weather worth it. Round four called out the hardcore fans and boy did they answer.
Thank you drivers, teams, staff, and fans for your dedication and passion. This is what keeps drifting alive.