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Event

Sunshine and Tyre Smoke

21st June 2017 — by Ben Gaut

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The day before Drift Cup Round 3 was an invite-only practice day at Rockingham Race Way. For me, this was my first time ascending on Rockingham but I had heard amazing things from fellow Fueltographer Shooting Dave. I was so hyped to get down and see what it was all about. Being the second practice day I had shot this year, I was ready to see some action!

Now it’s safe to say the weather was the polar opposite of when I had my first outing of the year, it looked like I had traded in the snow and freezing temperatures for some amazing sunshine and a full on heat wave! Perfect for some smoky door to door action!

The main man behind Drift Cup ‘Sweeps’ had laid out a seriously awesome track which was perfect for the drivers. He also threw in a few hard hitting walls for good measure. It’s safe to say I didn’t see a single car without a dent in their rear quarters by lunch time, everyone was gunning for them. Just gradually edging closer and closer, before well you know the story!

The driving was on a whole different level, some of the best drift trains I have seen in the UK for a while outside of a show demo or major event!

As the weather stayed on our side and just got hotter and hotter, so I thought I would take the time to get off track side and out of the oven and into some cars and see how the track felt from the drivers perspective. It certainly didn’t disappoint, everyone was hunting for doors and pushing their cars to the absolute limit!

I managed to jump out with Monkey London, now this was an experience in itself, if you haven’t already, then do head over & check out his youtube channel. However I am telling you now, jumping in the car was like I had just stepped into a drifting documentary with David Attenborough! I then looked to my left to see Phil Morrison from Driftworks, hunting down my door and the adrenaline kicked in. I had only one option, to do what I do best, grab the camera and start firing.

The Practice day also meant that some of the Drift Cup drivers could get a day on track before the big event the following day and you could see for some of them just having that extra seat time really pulled through on the Sunday!

Now for me, I am pretty much out of words for this one – but thank you Sweeps and the team for an awesome day. Below are some more snaps from the day.

Event

‘Grass Roots’ At Drift Cup Round 3

21st June 2017 — by Ben Gaut

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Sun, Smoke, Walls, Battles and even a proposal! That’s right a proposal but I will get on to that later, Drift Cup Round 3 had it all! 

As this was my first Drift Cup event, I had heard mixed things about the series from both drivers & a plethora of random people throwing in their two cents. This aside, I went in with a clean slate to see what it was all about for myself. I dragged myself out of my comfy hotel room, grabbed a coffee + croissant and headed to the track. With the guys from Drift Cup having run an invite only practice day on the Saturday which you can read about here! It’s safe to say I wasn’t going to be disappointed by what was in store and had a good idea of what to expect!

The level of driving from what is classed as a ‘grass roots’ event was just insane, door to door action all day, non stop! Throw in a couple of walls as they make their way round just to up the ante that little bit more. I don’t think a single person drove away with a pristine rear quarter.

Open practice was running all morning for the drivers to get used to the track, With the sun beating down it truly was a smoky morning! From watching the practice you could see everyone was hungry for that number one spot!

Moving into qualifying the driver level just stepped up even further, was seriously blown away with the lowest score in the top 32 being a 68.5!

With qualifying over we heading into the driver briefing room to hear the feedback and find out who would be battling who. This is where the shock of the day happened, after everyone knew what was going on for the day ahead, Frazer Jamieson wanted to say a few words, little did we know he got down on one knee and proposed to his other half as the whole room erupted in a huge cheer! This is what drifting is about, it doesn’t matter if you make the final battle just being there and supporting all your fellow drivers in everything they do. Was a real moment and memory for all the drivers and staff there and of course the happy couple!

Jumping straight to the battles, the fight and pressure was on, everyone was driving to win! The pressure and talent was on a whole different scale, everyone wanted that podium spot not a single person was holding back.

Leading into the top 16 things started to get really interesting, With everyone from the top 8 being given the chance to drive at the eagerly awaited BDC street round! It’s safe to say the heat and battle was well and truly on!   I for one would have not liked to be sitting in the judging tower trying to call some of the battles!

Top 8 WOW, the hunger was unreal with drivers putting everything on the line and hunting the walls and doors of the lead like nothing I have seen from before in ‘grass roots’ drifting!

Now it came down to the final battles. The drivers showed no signs of stopping the fight for that top spot! It was bound to be an awesome show and they certainly didn’t disappoint!! The final battles were seriously something incredible with both the crowd, judges and commentators on their feet screaming the house down.

Oliver Bolton took the win is his awesome S13, bearing in mind he’s only been driving the car 3 months and this was his 3rd competitive event, safe to say we have a star in the making here on English soil! Time for the Irish to move to one side this is one to watch!

I would just like to finish off by saying a massive thank you to Sweeps and the team over at Drift Cup for putting on a seriously epic event! Entertainment value and driver skill was through the roof, more than enough to rival some of the biggest names in competitive drifting!

Event

The Under Dogs: RDC Round 1

8th May 2017 — by Ben Gaut

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After a few years off, I thought it was finally time to head back and shoot some competitive drifting, and what better way to do that then head up to the always cold, always windy Santa Pod for the first round of the Retro Drift Challenge. I went with a very open mind having not really heard too much about the event in the past, but one thing is for sure I was completely blown away by the event! The level of driver skill / builds and organisation was on par if not better than 90% of events I have been to in the past.

You might be sat there thinking well its only Pod, and you cant really do much with Pod, its not a ‘home of motorsport’ track, it isn’t 130 mph entries, its just Pod! The track layout they were using on the day really brought the best out in the drivers with tight transitions, as well as long powering corners that meant the smoke was certainly in the air, and the crowd where on there feet.

The atmosphere in the pits was full of excitement and anticipation with everybody just wanting to get on track to start laying down some rubber and dialing in their lines before qualifying in the afternoon.

With practice being run thoughout the morning, the amount of seat time the drivers got was insane! None of this “2 groups out for 10 minutes and back in again”. No 30 minute queues to get one run in, there was always a constant flow of cars on track, which is always a bonus for both us and the drivers!

I have also now managed to develop a new found hatred for the bins at Santa Pod! They just always seem to be in the bloody way!

After a well needed jacket potato and a coffee,  lead straight into qualifying, all the drivers giving it everything they had, as the hunger for that podium spot was unreal.

With qualifying over it was straight into the top 32 battles! Now here is when things got different, its not all high powered S-bodies on out on track, with a huge range of cars and power on the track the skill level from everyone of both chase runs and lead runs was second to none!

Moving into the top 8, you could see everyone just stepped their game up even further. With Felix all the way from Holland peddling his little Volvo with some serious talent and aggression, it didn’t matter what he was put up against, that man just wouldn’t back down.

With the final battles closely approaching and everyone driving for the win it was going to be a close call, but Daryl Jones took the win for Team JBR!

Zanna Young took the Hard Charger award home with her after a seriously epic performance in her E36 throughout the day!

Lastly I just want to say a massive thank you to all the staff at the RDC for putting on an incredible event, and seriously if you don’t know about it or want to find out more, get in contact with them because I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

News

2016 Round up … The Return

6th December 2016 — by Ben Gaut

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So 2016 round up … well that would be short and sweet I didn’t shoot anything! How about 2015 round up that would also be pretty short as I only shot one event! So you might be thinking why the hell has he even bothered…

This isn’t a round up, this isn’t a look back on the year, this a plan of attack ready to take on 2017! Some of you may remember me some of you might not, so lets kick it off I’m Ben also known as Fueltopia’s ‘scenester’ in residence! You will mainly find me stuck between an aired out VAG, a cambered up rusty old Datsun, peering though tyre smoke at the side of the track or hanging out the window of a moving vehicle on many of the UK’s finest motorways!

As I said I have nothing to show for 2016 and barely anything worth sharing from 2015, the reason for this is simple I couldn’t walk for 2 years! After waking up one morning in August 2013 and barely being able to walk and my knee deteriorating as the year went on I had to take a back seat on all things photography I just couldn’t get to any events and when I did I was in too much pain to shoot.

The last 2 and half years for me have been focused on just getting off crutches and out of a wheel chair! Finally after 11 operations and finally a bone transplant I’m back and ready to hit 2017 harder than ever!!

Now what hell I am i going to shoot! everything has changed, builds have come and gone, events have expanded, the people have changed. Well with the new changes David Egan has brought to the BDC I think its time I headed back to the frontline! RDC is growing more and more so lets head down there! And I can’t be ‘scenester’ in residence if you don’t see my face walking around aired out VAG’s!

But for me I want to add a little twist to everything I have done before. Let’s push some boundaries and limits. So stay tuned for some Streeto, Closed road and hell I would love to shoot some bikes! However I know nothing about bikes but they go fast and make noise so I am there!

Anyway that’s enough from me! 2017 is the RETURN!