After the sunshine of Friday Lydden decided it wasn't going to allow everything to go to plan for the start of the revolution with rain and grey dull skies for most of Saturday. While rain stopped play in Formula Drift the previous evening this is the United Kingdom and a wet track wasn't going to stop the days event, what it does do though is level the playing field making power a much smaller value in the equation and unfortunately removes any chance of tyre smoke meaning the racing lacks a lot of visual excitement.
At drivers briefing on Saturday David explained his vision of taking the BDC to the next level in much the same way he has done with IDC. It’s hard not to get caught up with his enthusiasm and there was a definite buzz among the drivers. Another change for this season as part of David’s plan to spice things up for both drivers and fans was a change to the way the battles would run after qualifying. The top 8 qualifying drivers would go straight through to the top 16 with the remaining battling it out in sudden death battles.
The morning started with a practice session allowing the drivers to get a feel for the wet conditions. The slightest mistake on this track in the wet would result in spins and possibly having to be towed out the gravel.
After spending most of last year getting the car right we finally got to see, and hear, Shane Lynch's Japspeed 370z completing out on track. We've know for over a year how good the car looks and it's an absolute beast out on track and the supercharged v8 gives it a very distinctive sound.
Another distinctive car we did see in 2015 is Simon Perry's r35. After seeing the car get better and better last season I think Simon will be one to watch this year.
Everyone's favorite Marc Huxley's RA28 Celica has had another facelift for this season and everyone seemed to agree they preferred it. Two years since I first saw this car at Teesside and it's still one of my favorite drift cars.
Practice run into qualifying with the conditions getting worse for everyone out on and around track
Last years champion Jack Shannahan had borrowed his younger brother Connor's 180sx. After a poor first qualifying run he went out for his second one with something to prove and took the top spot with a run 5mph faster than anyone else.
With Huxley taking the second spot in qualifying Phil Morrison finished third. The dw86 has been on a diet over the winter and has a new engine build which apparently puts out at least 80hp more than the previous making this a beast out on track and Phil threw in some crazy entries
The rest of the drivers going straight through to the top 16 were Fraser Stark, Matt Carter, Simon Perry, Luke Woodham and Adam Simmons
Two of those drivers avoiding the sudden death had joined the Japspeed camp in 2016. With the Falken team being no more in BDC Matt Carter has joined the team and the car looks amazing in the JS livery. Luke Woodham has also joined the team and will be driving the Lexus, but as Paul Smith's new jz powered gt86 wasn't ready Luke competed in his gymkhana car allowing Paul to use the Lexus.
Once qualifying was over there was a break for lunch and a drivers briefing letting people know the qualifying results
Another introduction for 2016 Pro rounds a big screen showing the live feed to allow fans at track a better view of the action and a chance for them to hear the judges explaining their decisions. This is something I've seen in the Irish drift championship and Formula Drift and is a definite welcome addition to the BDC.
Once the lunchtime break was over the drivers lined up ready to get back out for the battles, and the weather wasn't improving at all
The conditions meant anyone could go out and get a win today but they also punished the slightest mistake
After taking the top spot in qualify Jack Shannahan got as far as the great 8 where he came up against Paul Smith
A mistake by Jack put Paul into the gravel and the Lexus ended up in the pits with the team working hard to get the car back out for the second run of the battle. As the mistake was put down to Jack there was no 5 min rule and eventually Paul got back out on track to take a spot in the top 4
In the top 16 we got another teammate v teammate battle of the weekend with new Japspeed driver Matt Carter up against Shane Lynch. With some very close contact driving the fans were treated to some great action, even if it was with water spray rather than smoke, and Shane took the win progressing him into the last 8
Shane came up against Fraser Stark next and continued his progression through the day beating Fraser and getting into the top 4
Simon Perry put in fantastic runs all day and it wasn't a surprise to anyone when he was in the top 4 towards the end of the day
To the delight of the crowd, and getting the loudest cheers of the day, Marc Huxley drove outstandingly all weekend knocking out Japspeed's Luke Woodham on his way to the top 4
Hux then went into what appeared to be a David v Goliath battle, if nothing else just based on the size of the cars with Simon's r35 dwarfing the Celica. Marc's form on the day took him through to the final and it was looking like someone would have to do something special to stop him.
The other semi should have been the second battle of the day between Japspeed teammates with Shane Lynch up against Paul Smith, but after the off in the Battle with Jack Shannahan the Lexus was still having issues and they didn't manage to get it ready in time for the semi, leaving Shane just having to do a solo run to get into the final
The Japspeed team managed to get the car back out in time for the 3rd place battle with Simon Perry. In a tight battle the Lassa driver managed to take the win and 3rd spot on the podium.
The final couldn't have turned out better with the apparent peoples hero Marc Huxley against Shane Lynch in the awesome Japspeed 370
With old school v new school and imo two of the nicest looking cars in the BDC this made for an great looking final and both drivers had been driving superbly all day.
In the end it was Marc continuing with his flat out on the edge driving who took the win and the top step
I don't think anyone would argue with the final positions with all three drivers being superb all weekend and hopefully it bodes well for a shake up on the podiums this season.
Summing up the weekend there was a definite buzz around the pits. Sweeps and the team have made the BDC a great series and now people are hoping David can push it that extra mile to get it up there with the top drift events in the world. It's not going to be a smooth ride in the UK with a lot of tracks and local councils not being fans of drifting and in the past the noise that accompanied it. From the current circuits Lydden has probably been the strictest around noise and this year the local council are being firmer than ever to the extent Lydden cancelled all DWYB days and they are now only running a handful of major drift events, but this weekend there were only a couple of cars which needed a tweak on the Saturday to pass the noise tests so fingers crossed this is something David can turn around and get a better reputation for the sport here. From a fans point of view the changes to qualifying and battles made things run a lot quicker and smoother with the only real delays in the action being to allow the judges to explain decisions on the live stream, again something the fans wanted after seeing the way IDC and FD do things. While there will always be controversial decisions in drifting it makes a huge difference when the judges can explain their thinking after making them. The weather on the Saturday did dampen things down as drifting never looks as good without the huge plumes of tyre smoke but fingers crossed we'll see that smoke back during round 2 at a new track for the series Driftland up in Scotland.
For details of all the rounds this year check out the BDC website