As I’d previously mentioned, on New Year’s Eve I headed up to Teesside Autodrome with Josh of Graphix-D in tow to enjoy some relaxed drifting at one of my favourite tracks. Unfortunately, the word “relaxed” doesn’t really feature too much in drifting at any level, which you could probably get a feel for in my video from this particular drift day.
I’d expected the day to be pretty quiet and not too overly-subscribed but it became pretty apparent early on that it was going to be an extremely busy day. Despite arriving somewhat earlier than a lot of people, the pits were already crammed full; just as I was reversing into what appeared to be an empty pit spot a young chap threw a tyre on the floor right behind my car to stop me from parking there. Drifting spirit and all that, eh.
Eventually I got parked up next to a couple of Mx-5 lads in the far car park (Will Ashcroft of Destroy Stuff/ploughing into hay bales fame on the far right in the above photo) and gave my Laurel a brief spanner check to make sure nothing had fallen off on the 150 mile-or-so journey (or since our extensive adventure a few nights previous).
Adam of StyleCase/RETROshine had also made the drive north in his Mx-5-powered FC. The car still looked incredibly twitchy at times but it wasn’t long before he was throwing down some super-aggressive runs.
My first lap out didn’t go particularly well; I hit the rumble strip on the first hairpin a little too hard and to be honest, didn’t think too much of it at the time. That was until I initiated for the first corner on my second lap. Third gear, opposite flick, transition hard…bang, followed by the horribly distinctive noise of metal grinding on tarmac. As it turned out, I had cracked my wheel during my first lap and, due to the forces on the wheel and tyre during my initiation, the cracked section waved goodbye and caused my tyre to de-bead in the process. Not ideal.
Thankfully, the aforementioned Adam let me use a pair of his spare Super Advans up front to get me through the rest of the day. Sure, they had mismatched and well-worn drift tyres on them but hey, at least it meant I could continue driving (and drive home, of course).
The downside of busy drift days; queuing!!! With the track being incredible patchy and greasy in places, it was almost impossible to find a rhythm when you were having to wait around 20 minutes between each lap, in which time the track conditions had often changed massively.
I only lost around 45 minutes of track time due to the wheel breakage situation and I did pack up and call it a day just before 3pm but, even so, my GoPro footage suggests that I only managed around ten laps all day (if that). I couldn’t help but do the price per lap maths against the £100 entry fee and suddenly found my mind drifting back (pun intended) to memories of the STL event at Driftland last September, where you could continuously put in laps until your arms got tired or your car got too hot, whichever came first.
Anyway, enough of that. At lunch I had a venture around the pits to check out cool cars. Ryan Asquith (Mx-5 pictured above) was driving particularly hard all day as usual. As a matter of fact, this particular drift day marked exactly one year of drifting for Ryan, a fact that’s almost impossible to believe when you watch him drive.
Ryan has just put together a cool video documenting his progress throughout 2016 which you can view here. It goes to show what can be achieved with nothing but seat time and practice.
Lozza’s 4-door R32. I didn’t get to see her drive much but the one lap I did get to watch from the start line featured a particularly aggressive opposite flick initiation that I was definitely a fan of.
See DAB number plate, must drop a dab; Josh signs off 2016 with his signature move.
And here’s a random photo of Adam’s face as he sat in the queue, waiting for his next lap. Until next time!
EDIT: I just found this video from Ieuan Rees on YouTube and found this pretty cool clip of me driving, so I turned it into a gif.