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Sunday Service

Easter bank holiday weekend saw the triumphant return of the British Drift Championship in spectacular fashion. Rising from long dark nights spent in workshops and garages across the UK and beyond tyre-smoking junkies of all ages descended upon Rockingham Motor Speedway for the inaugural event on the BDC calendar.

Among the mass of devoted drift metal arriving at the circuit Team Japspeed were dutifully represented by 2017 BDC Champion Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter backed up by 2012 BDC Champion Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith and of course the newest member of the team rising the ranks from Pro-Am to Pro for 2018; ‘Mr Nice-Guy’ Matt Denham.

Arriving early on Saturday morning Matt, Paul and Matt wasted no time in heading straight out for a wetter than ideal practice session. Quickly familiarising themselves with not only the judged line but becoming re-acquainting with their newly refreshed drift machines. A few minor adjustments later and the team were all set for the main event.

Kicking off the Sunday service all 3 drivers pushed themselves to the brink in qualifying however eager to impress not just the judges but perhaps his new teammates as well; new boy Matt Denham set the bar with an awesome 7th place qualifying run. The Doorhunter and Smokey were right up there with him earning themselves very respectable 9th and 10th place qualifying positions.

A fantastic start which meant the new kid on the block could sit out the first round of battles and head straight to the Top 16. Meanwhile Paul Smith would face off against Simon Perry in Top 32 battles. Having experienced severe mechanical issues earlier in the day Mr Perry would not be piloting his usual GTR and would instead take on the 2012 BDC Champion in a borrowed car. Despite a strong game from both drivers Paul Smith claimed victory to secure his place in Top 16.

Taking the unenviable task of challenging the reigning Champ fell to Pro-Am driver Peter Hayden. Despite putting in a performance that saw him to this position; it would not be sufficient to see him any further in the competition. Matt Carter charged through to join his teammates in the Top 16.

With 3 drivers in one event the chances of a Japspeed vs. Japspeed battle are high and as luck would have it the gathered crowds were treated to just this as newcomer Matt Denham would take on fellow RDX Academy instructor Paul Smith in their Top 16 battle. Eager to show exactly what he is capable of, Matt proved himself a challenge. Both drivers pushed themselves and their cars to the limit however ultimately there can only be one victor. This time it would be Paul Smith who could go no further.

Hoping to join Denham in the Great 8; Matt Carter came toe to toe with Slide Motorsport’s Jason Clark. Both experienced drivers determined to take the win; a turbo-screaming tyre-smoking spectacle ensued as both drivers aim to maximise those all important points. As the Maxxis Tyres smoke cleared Matt Carter emerged the victor.

The Great 8 saw Matt Denham brought the challenge to 2017 IDC runner-up Duane McKeever. Matt gave his all, pushing his RXV8 to its limits. Unfortunately this wouldn’t be enough to take down his opponent. Although perhaps a premature end to Matt’s weekend but a deserved win for Duane and an impressive performance from the newest member of Team Japspeed.

Matt Carter’s Great 8 battle saw a battle of the epic proportions as he took to the circuit against Driftworks driver Richard Grindrod. Japspeed vs. Driftworks battles are always a spectacle not to be missed and this was no exception. A close fought round but one which saw the Doorhunter advance to the Final 4.

As if one Japspeed vs. Driftworks battle wasn’t enough the BDC spectators would quickly be treated to a follow-up. This time around Matt would come up against the Driftworks Skyline at the hands of Martin Richards. True to tradition between the two teams Matt and Martin held no punches however a close call and a tough decision for the judges saw Martin Richards go on to the final with Matt Carter to battle Kevin Quinn for 3rd/4th.

With a podium position still to play for Matt Carter headed out against Kevin Quinn. A close fought battle with both drivers giving their all. Unable to make the call the judges had no choice but to call for a One More Time. Unfortunately mechanical issues would cause Matt’s car to cut-out mid run and despite his best efforts Kevin had nowhere to go except to make contact with the Japspeed driver. Despite appearances to the contrary Matt admitted the contact was through the faults with his own car; handing the win to Kevin earning himself 4th place overall.

Despite not claiming a position on the podium the combined efforts of Matt, Matt and Paul saw Team Japspeed claim pole position in the Team Constructors Championship and a strong position to push hard and take the top spot come Round 2 in a few weeks’ time.

Everyone at Team Japspeed would like to congratulate Duane McKeever, Martin Richards and Kevin Quinn on their successes at BDC Round 1.

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