A firm favourite for drivers and fans; the British Drift Championship returned once again to the legendary Teesside Autodrome on 16-17th July. With a weekend of adrenaline fuelled, close proximity drifting ahead and the sun blazing down on the Middlesbrough circuit the air was filled with a buzz of excitement and anticipation for what lay ahead.

Arriving early on the Saturday, Shane Lynch, Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith and Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter were able to take to the track for an hour long practice session to familiarise themselves and their cars to the new qualifying line for 2016.

Full of confidence Matt Carter held no punches back, throwing his 2JZ-powered backwards into the first corner at speeds of 70mph+. Not unlike his previous performance earlier in the year during a visit to Silverstone for JapFest 2016.

Meanwhile Paul Smith took to the circuit behind the wheel of the Japspeed Lexus IS200. Sporting 500bhp+ ‘Smokey’ Smith made good use of all the available power as he lived up to his name filling the surrounding area with Maxxis Tyre smoke.

Following success at Round 1 and 2, Shane Lynch was keen to get out with his teammates and unleash the prehistoric sound of the Japspeed supercharged V8 370z. Following a few runs, minor power steering issues became apparent leaving the team with a challenge to resolve the problem before the main event the following day.

With the arrival of race day all three drivers took to the track, putting on an incredibly smokey practice session aided by the continuing scorching heat from the previous day. An extended practice session saw Paul Smith and Matt Carter perfect their setup ahead of the main event. Meanwhile Shane Lynch saw significant improvement in the handling of the 370z following hard work of the team to rectify the power steering issues that had plagued prior practice runs.

All three drivers put in repeated safe and respectable runs throughout qualifying earning them 5th, 19th and 22nd. With Matt Carter clear of the sudden death battles his second run was a crowd pleaser putting everything on the line with a show-stopping backwards entry!

Qualifying in 22nd and 19th Shane and Paul were faced with sudden death battles to earn their places in the top 16. First up and Shane faced off against Jay White with his E46 M3. Eager to claim the top 16 place both drivers clearly meant business. During his chase run Shane overshot his mark and
dropped two wheels off track with an impressive dirt-drop – a great spectacle for the crowd but a move with would hand Jay White the advantage going into the second run. Going into his lead run Shane knew a safe, clean run was the order of the day to gain back some points. High on adrenaline from his lead run Jay pushed too hard placing three wheels off track in his bid to keep pace with the Japspeed 370z; handing the advantage and the top 16 place to Shane.

Meanwhile Paul Smith found himself face to face with Acorn Motorsport’s Mark Lappage in his top 24 battle. Two evenly matched drivers their runs presented a tough call for the judges until Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith tried to gain advantage with proximity on his chase run. Pushing too hard he came in too hot causing him to slam on the brakes, straightening his car and handing the win to Mark and ending Paul’s weekend.

Heading into the top 16 battles; Matt Carter came up against Gary Dunne. Fuelled from outstanding practice and qualifying runs, Matt came into the battle brimming with confidence; pushing hard in his efforts to take the top 8 spot and put on a spectacle for the gathered crowds. Unfortunately Matt overestimated Gary’s pace forcing him to take evasive manoeuvres and under-steer; handing the place to his opponent.

In his top 16 battle Shane came up against Australian Aleksandar Kantarovski in his SR-powered PS13. New to the BDC grid in 2016 a series of miscommunication at the start line caused a couple of false starts, causing Shane’s tyres to cool rapidly ahead of the coming battles. Without time to get some heat back into the tyres to get them back up to optimal operating temperature; and as any drifter will testify tyres don’t perform at their best when cold. As a result heading into the first corner Shane unfortunately dropped two wheels off track handing the advantage to his opponent. In the second run both drivers put on an awesome spectacle, wowing the spectators and filling the air with screaming engines and clouds of tyre smoke!A tough call from the judges would put an end to Shane’s run for the podium.

All in all a phenomenal weekend and one Shane, Matt and Paul won’t soon forget. Team Japspeed would like to congratulate Jack Shanahan, Aleksandar Kantarovski and Nigel Colfer on taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. We’ll be back in action at Irish Drift Championship for Round 4 on 13-14th August but in the meantime we head north to Scotland’s SECC on 5-7th August for Ignition Festival of Motoring. We’ll see you there!