For the second time in 2015 we were able to revisit perhaps one of the most popular circuits on the British Drift Championship calendar this year and on 22nd-23rd August we made the journey south from our HQ in Manchester to Lydden Hill for Round 4 of the 2015 series. A favourite with the vast majority of BDC drivers, Lydden Hill has seen some of the most spectacular and even craziest entries alongside the closest battles throughout the championship’s history.
It is fair to say the British weather really can make or break an event for a lot of drivers and arriving to a dry circuit meant plenty of grip and things looked great for qualifying. Shane Lynch, Shane ‘Sully’ O’Sullivan and Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith couldn’t wait to get out there and smoke up those Maxxis Tyres!
It is easy to see why Lydden Hill is so popular amongst the BDC grid and it was no surprise to see every driver giving their all and pushing their cars to the limit in order to secure a place in the all-important top 32. On such a familiar circuit each of the Japspeed drivers put in a series of impressive qualifying runs which would settle them comfortably among the top 32, qualifying in 17th, 9th and 3rd place.
Heading into the top 32 battles and first up was Shane O’Sullivan against Wayne Keeber. With both drivers on top form the gathered spectators were treated to an impeccable set of runs from the 2014 Champion advancing him to the top 16.
Meanwhile and in an unfortunately ironic turn of fate Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith aka mr consistent due to his affinity to his 1.5JZ S15 and relaxed driving style became anything but as he took on Barrelsprint veteran Luke Woodham. Rainy spells earlier in the day had resulted in unsettled and somewhat unpredictable conditions…conditions which would cause a misjudgement from Paul and hand the top 16 place to mr Woodham.
Similarly Shane Lynch was drawn against Jay White. With his new 370z undergoing continued testing Shane took to the track in the Japspeed Lexus IS200 instead. As both are highly competent drivers and a great pairing to watch this would mean a tough battle to call however the judges would unfortunately put an end to Shane’s weekend with their decision awarding Jay a place in the top 16.
Continuing with an increasingly dryer track as the day went on Shane O’Sullivan faced Gary Mills in his top 16 battle. Making the most of the 600bhp Japspeed S15 Shane made things very difficult for Gary who dropped two wheels off track during Shane’s lead run. Driving home his advantage Shane applied the pressure to an already disadvantaged opponent to take the win and proceed to the top 8!
Coming into the top 8 battles you can rest assured there’ll be awesome performances from every driver and of course plenty of smoke as some of the UK’s top drivers go head to head in epic battles. This could certainly be said for Sully’s pairing with Matt Carter. At such a high level of competition both drivers clearly pushing themselves and their cars to give 110%. What took place was an awesome battle to watch with at least a few nerve clenching moments but perhaps non so much so as Shane’s self-correction during his chase run. Convinced of an impending collision Shane had little choice but to let off the pressure straightening as he did so. This would prove to be a move which would unfortunately hand his place in the finals to Matt Carter.
Like so many BDC drivers we always look forward to a round at Lydden Hill. This really is an incredible venue and never fails to provide some of the greatest battles in BDC. Everyone at Team Japspeed would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Jack Shanahan, Matt Carter and Michael Marshall on taking podium at this event.
Next time we return to BDC for the final round of the 2015 series at Anglesey Circuit. Tickets and information are available at www.thebritishdriftchampionship.co.uk.
Bring on round 5!