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North of the Border

No season of the British Drift Championship is complete without a trip north of the border to the Mecca of UK drifting – Driftland. With the thermometer hitting the high 20s (no, really) the BDC grid went to war for more adrenaline-fuelled tyre-smoking action.

Fresh from his adventures in Europe Matt Carter was back on home soil with his iconic Skyline to join teammates Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith and Matt ‘Mr Nice Guy’ Denham in their quest for the podium.

Built specifically for the sport of drifting; Driftland is a venue quite simply like no other.  The demanding layout holds no punches, takes no prisoners and gives little mercy. Matt, Paul and Matt would have to be prepared to give everything they’ve got to come out on top.

Quick to setup all three drivers were soon smoking up the Lochgelly circuit during Saturday’s practice session before taking some time to kick-back and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the Pro-Am competition.

A Faultless practice session on the Saturday saw Matt, Paul and Matt keen to get back out there at first light Sunday morning to perfect the all-important judged line ahead of Qualifying and the main event later that day. Unfortunately an initially small technical issue with Matt Denham’s #RXV8 quickly escalated to a point whereby he had no choice but to sit this one out.

First qualifying run saw Matt Carter hit the track sideways with a trail of Maxxis Tyres smoke behind him resulting in a strong performance and a very respectable score of 84.7. Keen not to be out-done Paul Smith laid down some fresh Maxxis VR1 rubber on his first run earning a clean score of 65 points.

Onto run 2 and keen to beat his personal best; Matt Carter hit the blacktop hard with a level of commitment and determination he has quickly become known for and bringing it home, hands out the window to a 2nd run score of 90.7 and 3rd place qualifier overall.

Every run so far served to prove just how tough the competition in the BDC has become and sitting in 24th overall ahead of his 2nd run Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith knew he had to pull out all the stops to ensure his place in the battles to come. Hitting the circuit with maximum attack Maxxis Tyres VR1 smoke filled the air to the song sung from the 1.5JZ heart of the Japspeed GT86. Only a few moments later he crossed the line and Paul had earned a very respectable 74.3 points and 21st position overall.

The rains began to fall as the top 24 battles began, switching the game out on track to the exceptionally dry conditions the team had enjoyed previously. First up for Team Japspeed saw Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith come face to face with Simon Perry.

Chasing on the first run Paul kept the nose of his GT86 firmly planted in the door of Simon’s GTR. Both drivers had to quickly adjust their style to suit the wetter conditions. A misstep from Simon saw him spin-out on the final transition handing Paul the advantage.

Leading on the 2nd run Paul pressed home his advantage as he powered round the course leaving his opponent with some catching up to do. A unanimous decision from the judges saw Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith advance to the top 16 battles.

Into the top 16 battles and first up Paul Smith would have to overcome Slide Motorsport’s Matt Stevenson in his 430bhp BMW E92. Even with an extra 220 horses under the bonnet Paul knew it wouldn’t be easy.  Chasing on the 1st run Paul applied the pressure right from the start; not letting his rival out of his sight often so close he could reach out and touch the door of his opponent’s car.

On his lead run Paul made the most of the extra power to try and keep as much distance as possible from the Slide Motorsport driver. A strong performance from both drivers gave the judges a difficult decision. Unfortunately that decision would bring an end to Paul’s weekend.

Meanwhile Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter came up against Ian Phillips. Leading in the 1st run Matt laid down a trail of rubber with his competitor closely following; navigating his way through a cloud of Maxxis Tyres smoke.

With everything to play for Matt pushed hard on his chase run firmly planting himself right by his rival’s side through each transition. The call from the judges quickly came in Matt’s favour to see him through to the next stage.

Having reached the top 8; the competition was heating up. The Doorhunter now came head to head with Jason Clark. Leading on the first run Matt made the best of the damp conditions as he powered round the course to try and keep daylight between himself and his opponent.

Chasing on run 2 Matt applied the pressure in an attempt to force a mistake from the Slide Motorsport driver. Fortunately for Matt a wide entry on the first transition from Jason set the tone for the run to follow. A strong performance from both drivers made for a tough call however the judges favoured Matt to see him through to the top 4.

Into the final few battles and Matt Carter now found himself against Duane McKeever. Chasing on the first run Matt had to push hard to keep up – so hard he unfortunately made contact with the front wing of Duane’s 180sx on the final transition; handing his opponent the advantage.

Pushing hard right from the off on his lead run Matt Carter felt the pressure from his rival with the image of Duane’s car firmly in Matt’s rear view. Unfortunately the pressure would become too much and an overly enthusiastic entry into the final transition would see Matt miss out on victory.

However all was not lost as Matt would now face Callum Marshall for 3rd/4th position. Callum had been on form all weekend and as such Matt knew he wouldn’t go down without a fight. Run 1 saw Matt run wide on the first clip and despite a strong performance throughout the remainder of the run he would have ground to make up in run 2.

Chasing on run 2 Matt knew he had to keep the pressure on if he was to claw back the advantage and claim that spot on the podium. A strong start saw Matt cling to the door of his opponent and maintain close proximity as the two drivers weaved their way around the course. Unfortunately in the judges’ eyes it simply wasn’t enough for Matt to claim victory.

Team Japspeed would like to wish congratulations to Duane McKeever, Martin Richards and Callum Marshall on taking podium at this event.

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