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Team Japspeed Supercharged at BDC Round 1 2016

Last weekend saw the triumphant return of the British Drift Championship for the 2016 season! With big changes taking place in the off-season, drivers and fans alike eagerly awaited the realisation of an event months in preparation.

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Every year fans of the series are treated to a host of new teams, new drivers and of course exciting new vehicle builds across the BDC grid. This would be particularly true for fans of Team Japspeed.

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In the build up to the 2016 season the team announced not one but two new drivers in Matt Carter (formerly of Team LockStop) and two times European Gymkhana Grid Champion Luke Woodham not to mention the competitive debut of the Japspeed supercharged V8 Nissan 370z piloted by Shane Lynch – a car 18 months in the making set to tear up the circuit at Lydden Hill!

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In contrast to previous years where BDC events have run over Saturday and Sunday last weekend saw the action kick off with the Pro-Am action on Friday followed by the Pro Class taking place on Saturday.

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With the Pro-Am class competition coming to an end Friday afternoon, which gave the Team Japspeed an opportunity to take to the track for some practice ahead of the main event. With arguably minimal seat time in the 370z Shane soon got to grips with the layout and the car making the most of all the hard work put into the build. Not to mention the incredible supercharger whine to go with all that Maxxis Tyres smoke!

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With the Paul ‘Smokey’ Smiths JZ86 not quite ready for the season opener he took to the circuit in the ever-reliable Japspeed Lexus IS200 and alongside Matt Carter in his newly unveiled Japspeed Skyline R32 and Luke Woodham piloting his own Nissan S14a the team were on top form and everything was looking good for the main event.

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Heading into Saturday morning and the all-important qualifying runs for the Pro class drivers. With a number of successful practice runs the day before Shane was full of confidence taking the 370z out onto what had become a rather wet circuit. With no fear Shane was able to stick the 370z straight to the wall and run the line the judges expected to see. Not bad for the first run out in competition and taking 12th position in qualifying.

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A great performance all round in qualifying with Paul Smith qualifying 9th with 80.3 points, Luke Woodham just jumping slightly ahead in 7th place with 80.8 points and Matt Carter just ahead of him in 5th place with 85.3 points. This positioned the team well going into the Top 16 battles.

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With all drivers making it to the Top 16 with Paul Smith first up against Adam Simmons of Slide Motorsport. An incredible battle with both drivers clearly out to impress would see Simmons take advantage of the first run. Keen to give it his all Paul Smith applied the pressure to Simmons and made his way to the top 8.

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It wouldn’t be long before we witnessed an all-Japspeed battle as Shane Lynch went head to head with new teammate Matt Carter. An awesome spectacle for the gathered crowd with both drivers pushing their cars to the limit and beyond! With barely daylight between Shane stuck the nose of that supercharged beast in the door of Matt’s Skyline earning him the place in the top 8.

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Arguably outgunned in the horsepower stakes Luke Woodham faced Jody Fletcher in his top 16 battle. Unfortunately for Fletcher; the wet conditions played to Luke’s advantage and with almost half the power of his opponent Luke played to his strengths and made the most of the conditions. It was all too much for his opponent who simply couldn’t get that power down.

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Heading into the top 8 and Paul Smith faced 2015 BDC Champion Jack Shanahan. A misjudgement from both drivers soon saw Paul Smith careering off course and into the hay bales in order to avoid a collision with Shanahan. With Shanahan the cause, judges suspended the 5-minute rule to allow the team to repair any damage on the Lexus in order that the battle could take place.

It wasn’t long before Paul Smith was back out on track and the battle of the Champions could take place. Both drivers eager to claim a place in the semi-finals it would ultimately be Paul Smith who claimed the judge’s votes.

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Continuing his charge for the podium Shane Lynch faced off against Fraser Stark. In ever-wetter conditions and with both drivers finding their feet in the 2016 season it was a hard fought battle by all accounts. Ultimately Shane snatched victory and his place in the finals.

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Having toppled a number of high powered opponents one by one Luke Woodham now found himself against perhaps the oldest car on the grid with Marc Huxley at the wheel. Both drivers were on top form all weekend and an incredible display of skill and technique from Woodham and Huxley made for a tough decision for the judges. Huxley unfortunately put an end to Luke’s weekend who retired to support his teammates Shane and Paul as they headed into the finals.

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First up and Paul Smith came face to face with Simon Perry for the 3rd/4th place battle. The wet conditions taking their toll on both drivers, Paul Smith gave his all but would be unable to claim the podium place having suffered difficulties due to the earlier damage against Jack Shanahan.

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The months of hard work paid off for Team Japspeed as Shane charged his way to the final to face Marc Huxley. A hard fought battle and one of epic proportions as the highly anticipated Japspeed 370z took on the RA28 Celica to claim the top spot. Shane Lynch let loose and made the most of all that supercharged V8 had to offer and made his return to the BDC podium in 2016!

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“It’s just fantastic to be on the podium at the season opening event. We had tested the car last year, and wanted to race it, but it just wasn’t ready. The extra time – basically a year’s worth of development - has really paid off.”
-Shane Lynch, Team Japspeed

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Team Japspeed would like to congratulate Marc Huxley, Shane Lynch and Simon Perry on taking 1st,2nd and 3rd respectively at the weekend!

All in all a fantastic start to the 2016 season with Shane Lynch in 2nd, Paul Smith in 4th, Luke Woodham in 7th and Matt Carter in 10th as we head to Round 2 at Driftland June 18-19th. We’ll see you there!

Photos: Smokin Images / Let's Go Drifting

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