If there’s been one recurring source of frustration for my 2018 so far, it’s been the weather. While the working week is often spent gazing out of my office window at the sunshine and wishing I could be working on my cars, pretty much every weekend of this year so far feels like it has been spoilt by rain or snow. Easter Monday was no exception, with the weather forecast predicting a 95% of torrential rain during another of Rockingham‘s Meihan style drift practice events.
Drifting in the rain is one thing but, standing and watching others drift while getting soaked is a sure fire way to kill your enthusiasm. Despite getting soaked just jogging the short distance to my car at 6am on the day of the event, I fired Cedric’s VG30 into life and set my Google Maps for Rockingham with as much optimism as I could manage. It wasn’t long until I spotted Adam tearing down the M6 in his boosted Mx5, with pops and bangs from the exhaust still audible even when he’d sped so far ahead that I could no longer see his tiny car.
Cruising down the UK’s pothole-ridden motorways at 70mph is far from enjoyable in torrential rain, and that’s before you throw a low front lip, wide wheels and camber into the mix. There were definitely some hairy aquaplane-eque moments in Cedric (especially while heading through the Birmingham section of the M6) but I was relieved to make it to the track in one piece some 130 miles later.
In the meantime, Saule was busy unloading his Harlequin S14.
This would be the car’s first outing since last year’s STL2 event, so we were hoping that it would survive the day without any mechanical gremlins.
Nathan‘s Z33 is super clean and it was cool to see him throwing it around on the Meihan layout using lots of clutch and foot brake.
I’m used to driving slammed cars on the British roads but Mikey’s S14 is something else; I’m pretty sure the rear subframe must be hovering a couple of centimetres above the tarmac. In fact, something was even scraping the ground as he made his way across the perfectly level pit area. Absolute commitment to the game.
It must be said though that, while Rory’s S13 looks to drive as well as you could expect an S-body with slammed ride height and 15″ wheels to, Mikey’s car seems like much more of a handful. I wonder what the differences in suspension parts and setup are.
This E36 looked pretty cool, and the oil on the ground made for a nice attempt at an artistic photo.
Huxley‘s infamous RA28 Celica is now in new ownership, with Harry Hudson behind the wheel on Monday. It looks so cool with minimal stickers and I’m glad that it’s still road legal and registered.
This AE86 had just been bought by its new owner from Andrew at Finalboss. Of course, the first thing to do with an AE86 would be to throw it along a Meihan-esque wall all day long, which is exactly what the new owner did. It was interesting to see how many people (understandably) struggled to get to grips with a flick entry and slowing down on the foot brake in the slippy conditions. Most drivers spent the majority of the morning either understeering or spinning out, which was quite entertaining for spectators but understandably frustrating for the drivers. The AE86 driver seemed to have no such issues though and was certainly one of the crowd favourites by the end of the day.
Being a car from Andrew’s Finalboss stables, the styling was never going to be in question.
Period correct everything.
Over in the pit garages were the very yellow S-bodies of Low Origin.
Both Alex‘s S14 and Dan’s S15 seemed like a bit of a handful in the wet, with Alex’s car appearing to be the more predictable of the two.
Most importantly though, they both looked and sounded great. With quite a few grassroots drift teams now taking this much care and pride in their presentation, I do wish some drivers in the BDC would take note and apply a similar level of attention when their cars are viewed by thousands of people via the livestream at every round of the championship, let alone the spectators watching in person.
Regardless of the ride height and wheel fitment, competing in a national championship in a car that looks like it has just done three Buxton weekender events isn’t really ideal for the public image of the sport, especially now that so many casual observers can tune in and check out the sport with just a few clicks. With the general public’s attention span seemingly decreasing by the day, capturing the online audience’s attention instantly is vital. Good looking cars are a sure fire way to appeal to anyone with even the slightest interest in motorsport.
Anyway, back to Meihan/Rockingham. We had begun to get our hopes up earlier in the morning as some cars began to make small amounts of tyre smoke. Chris‘ GT86 was in fact making an awful lot of smoke but, unfortunately, this transpired to be oil related and not from a drying track and serious stunt driving.
Later in the day though, the rain began to subside and the track, believe it or not, started to dry out. Dan off of Destroy or Die was throwing down some pretty serious entries, especially during the last session of the day when the track became quieter.
Of course, it was only inevitable that half of his passenger rear light would soon be sacrificed in the name of stunts but, in all fairness, it happened during a pretty monumental effort.
I’ll put together a video from the event shortly and here’s hoping that Rockingham’s next Meihan event is blessed with some sun and, consequently, wilder driving!