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!
The Revolution has begun, Driftland has now hosted its first BDC event and shown just how incredible the driver level of the BDC has come along in such a short period of time. ProAm for a long time has been the great underdog of the BDC. In previous years there has been only a small crowd that attends. Round 2 has really amped up the hype for the ProAm category.
ProAm was quite easily the most exhilarating and intense round of drifting I’ve witnessed in a long time from the BDC. Driver levels are through the roof, this was easily recognised even in practice with some really close proximity runs straight from the start.
Qualifying has always been one of the more boring elements to a drift event, But with everyone giving it their all from the start, there was some really awesome to watch runs in qualifying. With the element of 2 wall runs in the section as well as having a pretty minimal run off, it was going to be an exciting day for sure.
Even more entertaining than that is when you look at the 2 new competitors in the ProAm class.. Ryan Caldwell, the 14 year old Northern Irish drifter in the quite insane RB powered 180sx. Then just when you think, “Damn hes young!” you see that Jack Shanahan’s younger Brother Conor, who has only just turned 13 years old would also be competing. Watching these 2 guys placing 1st and 2nd in qualifying at an age where most of us where playing with a tamagotchi is quite ridiculous.
To my surprise the wall hadn’t claimed anywhere close to the amount of people i had expected, especially when you consider your running down the wall on entry and then you ran back up it at the end of the section. Jason Clark was one of the unfortunate few who had lost to the wall, tagging the wall at the end of the run throwing the front of the car back into the wall.
The steep hill only a few feet behind clip 2 was the car destroyer, Stu Farley had one of the most spectacular crashes I have ever seen at Driftland. Clipping the grass with the rear of the car sending him flying through the air and almost doing a full airborne 180. The commitment level of drivers was really something else, all day people were throwing hard and fast into clip 2 in an attempt to run the perfect wide line that the judges wanted.
Conor Shanahan’s first battle was against Lewis Mitchell, i can imagine everyone was excited for this battle. The first time many people would see Conor drive in a battle in person and maybe even the first time they had heard about him.
Conor’s talents as a driver were immediately obvious. On his chase run he was not scared to throw it right on the door of Lewis. Naturally with such a dominating couple of runs he would progress.
Next battle on the agenda would see 14 year old Ryan Caldwell come up against the mighty Steve Will in what has the be the most insane E36 i have ever seen, never mind the noise that it produces.. Unfortunately for Ryan, Steve would take the win, which as you can see made him quite happy.
Bradley Wallbank was running the most under powered car in the whole field in ProAm, unable to compete in his BDC car, he instead brought up his missile E36. Amazingly earlier in the day he would beat Richard McCourt in the Lassa Tyres R33 to progress into the top 16 where he would face Karl Farrar. After a strong fight the win would go over to Karl, unlucky for Bradley not to get further but for the cars he was put up against he certainly put up an amazing fight!
Local hero Andi Halkett would come up against the mighty Matthew Denham who was on fire all day. On the first run Andi’s E36 simply could not catch the RX8 through the first few clips and would only be able to catch Matthew in the last section. When roles were reversed it was clear who would be the winner. With the amount of grip and power the RX8 has, it was to no surprise that matthew could keep on the door of Andi throughout the entire run.
Like any event there is always 1 single driver that stands out from the rest, for me that was Matthew Denham in the V8 Turbo RX8. his semi final battle would be against another stand out driver who i think a lot of people expected to be in the top 4. Conor and Matthew had a really intense battle and much to my delight, Matthew would progress through to the final pitting himself up against Steve Will, While Conor would face Scott Cartledge in the 1UZ R33 for the 3rd place spot.
The 3rd place battle was fairly cut and dry, unfortunately for Scott he just didn’t have enough forward bite in the tyres to be able to keep up with Conor. A very well deserved 4th place for Scott after taking down some mighty foes earlier in the day.
2 cars and 2 drivers that had been standout crowd pleasers all day had made it to the final. Their first 2 runs where far too close to call for the judges prompting a one more time decision. It would take only the slightest difference in line/angle or proximity to separate the two drivers in the end.
At the end of it all, Steve Will much to his delight would take the top spot from Matthew Denham.
This ProAm fight had been such an exhilarating day of hard fought battles, each driver gave it their all pushing their own limits to the test and what an event it created. The work David Egan & his team has put into the BDC in such a short space of time time has really catapulted the series forward and set the stage for the rest of the season to come.