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Wet, Wild & Woodham

Last weekend saw the triumphant return of the British Drift Championship for the 2016 season! Not only did it herald the beginning of a new era for the series but also for a number of teams and drivers – not least of all for Team Japspeed.

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Rewind to a week ago and days before the season opener Luke Woodham is announced as the newest driver to join one of the UK’s most established drift teams. Having achieved success in his own right Luke would not be destined to make up the numbers of bring up the rear as he battled his way through a grid of competitors against which his reliable S14 was arguably outgunned in the power stakes.

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With best laid plans; there will nearly always be a spanner in the works somewhere along the line. For Luke this would turn out to be a blessing in disguise. As although originally set to pilot the Japspeed 2JZ powered Lexus IS200 he would instead take the wheel of his own Gymkhana Nissan S14 owing to the need for his teammate Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith to drift the Lexus until his new JZ-powered GT86 is complete.

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In addition to using his own car to which he is infinitely more accustomed it would seem wet conditions on track would play to his advantage. During qualifying Luke made his intentions clear and with a faultless first run jumped to the top spot. With a number of big names and BDC veterans at his heels Luke qualified overall in a very respectable 7th following his second run of the morning. An impeccable performance and one which; due to new rules ensured him a place with the guaranteed top 8 drivers of the top 16.

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Heading into the top 8 battles and Luke went head to head with Jody Fletcher in the Team Lassa Nissan S15. Despite being under-powered in comparison Luke kept his cool and put in a strong lead run, giving him the advantage. Thanks to the increasingly wet conditions Fletcher simply couldn’t get the power down giving Luke all he needed to repeat the performance on his chase run and take the win.

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Next up and Luke came face to face with Mark Huxley in his RA28 Toyota Celica. Huxley had so far put in an outstanding performance all day with some huge entries so it looked to be an incredible battle for the gathered spectators. With Luke to lead on the first run it was clear this wouldn’t be a walk in the park. However despite early pressure from Huxley he kept to his strength held the line and pulled a slight gap after the hairpin cut-through taking the advantage ahead of his chase run. With Huxley to lead both drivers hit the first corner with big entries however Luke scrubbed off a little too much speed which opened the door for Huxley to take the advantage and the judge’s votes.

“What a day! It was great to get out on the drift track and I was pumped to be with Team Japspeed. Congratulations to Mark for going on to win the event, but I’m pleased with my performance, despite being under powered, the rain allowed me to have somewhat of an even playing field and I now can’t wait to push on at Round Two.”

-Luke Woodham

Photos: Smokin Images / Lets Go Drifting

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