Toby Appleton is the track manager of the British Drift Championship. This means he oversees all the action taking place and makes sure that everything is happening in a safe and timely manor.
With the season over and done we had a catch up to see how he feels looking back on his first season as part of the new BDC team.
“The 2019 British Drift Championship, I mean where do you start…
Well I guess one thing is for certain, it’s been one of the wettest seasons I can remember! From the ‘small’ 32,000 litre lake at Teesside to the monsoon at Buxton, not one round passed without a downpour of some kind. Luckily even that couldn’t keep away the drivers, crews and fans that braved all the weather this year, all for the love of this increasingly popular motorsport!
#BDC2019 was all about fresh starts; a new owner, a new ops team, and a new direction. Looking back to Round One with all eyes on us, it was a daunting task with the new team starting off at the well-used and much-loved Teesside Autodrome. We put on quite a show running the track in reverse. The season continued with so many difficult challenges, like returning to the NEC. Not only did we succeed in making it a great event, but I’d say we improved on the past one, even with the terrible weather condition that plagued us all season!
The driving this year was on another level, and the commitment of the crews behind the drivers was amazing. There are so many talented drivers like Martyn Cowley and Andy Frost, both proving themselves as the season went on, it was amazing to watch.
The gladiatorial battles between Huw and Martin this year makes me feel like we should be in a Roman amphitheatre to watch these guys go at it ‘One More Time’, with my newly named “Thumb of Doom” courtesy of the returning Nathan Black at Battle Royale. It was great to see Neil Dunne, the Irish Pro driver, who came to the tower and jumped in on commentating after damaging his car beyond repair during practice. That doesn’t take away from the legend that is Ian Waddington, who has done an amazing job all season with his co-host Sarah Hall.
We brought the Ratrap RC guys to every round, as well as unique activities and entertainment at each event on the calendar. Developing the atmosphere and making the whole event feel even more family friendly. A brilliant step forward from previous seasons both on and off the track.
As for the BDC team itself, what a first year. An amazing show was put on at each event with the team growing round by round. The level of commitment was second to none. From driving to the events early, to setting up and running each one in the cold and mostly torrential conditions. I tip my hat to each member of the team for the part they played this year. You all made the events happen.
An overlooked but essential part of each event are the media and sound teams. These guys work tirelessly at every round and they all very quickly merged with the BDC team, culminating with the sound man Paul Simpson picking up and award for his efforts this year.
One team I always hold a lot of respect for are the photographers, they put in the work for the Championship and drivers and create the most amazing content (they also made my model portfolio possible). I salute you guys for your efforts in the joyful weather conditions we had all season.
With all that said, we wouldn’t have had half as much fun this season without you… the fans, you all bring so much to these events and help create an atmosphere that makes hairs stand on end. It was great seeing you get so much from each event, from meeting your idols on the driver meet and greet to the phone-light Mexican wave. Thank you all for coming out to watch.
So, with 2019 down and 2020 pending… I’d say the best is yet to come! See you all next year!”