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Event

Gymkhana Giants take back the podium

16th May 2017 — by Fueltopia Events

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This Sunday a new track was laid out at Santa Pod Raceway and 29 drivers came to master it.

A mornings practice soon dried out the wet track from the downpour overnight, with times dropping rapidly as drivers learnt the track line.

Once more we had some first timers join the field and it didn’t take long for them to show that they had true skill and would be contenders when it came to the battles

Our smallest class had regular auto test driver Carl Harper join us in his Vauxhall Nova, which in all the tracks twists and turns spent more time on three wheels than four! He showed great skill and speed setting the fastest qualifying time but unfortunately loosing out in the finals by over shooting the stop box and gaining a DNF to see series veteran Sean Franklin take the top spot.

The Biddle brothers were joined again in our Unlimited class by Mark Elder for round 3 and it was great to see him really pushing the brothers and knocking down his track PB all day. In qualifying Andy Biddle took the top spot with a 33.1 second run.  In a battle for the spot against him in the final Mark took on Nick in their closest battle to date, with Mark knocking another second of his track PB. It was nick however to face off once more against Andy, with Andy eventually taking the top spot.

Marks efforts however had not gone unnoticed by our Hard Charger Jury, who awarded him with recognition to how much his driving improved throughout the day.

The AWD class qualifying couldn’t have been closer so it was all to play for in the knockouts. Reigning champion Dmitrij Sribnyj hadn’t had a great start to the season so far, with mechanical issues leaving him off that top spot that he has grown used too,  and a new standard engine replacement required after complete failure at a recent event, but he topped qualifying giving him a bye straight into the semi finals.

The rest of the class went head to head and Dmitrij was soon joined by Andrew Stevens, Jonathan Buck and Yordan Andreev, all of whom have been on the podium already this season.

With a tight course and pressure running high, lots of penalties accumulated and it wasn’t always the first in the box taking the win

A battle for 3rd and 4th between Andy Stevens and Jonathan Buck, see both drivers pick up a penalty on their runs in the left lane, with Bucky taking the last spot on the podium.

The final between current championship leader Yordan Andreev and ScoobyClinic driver Dmitrij should have been a close battle but once again, Sribnyj showed us all why he is the Gymkhana champ and dropped both his runs to 32 seconds storming over the finish clearly ahead of his competitor.

Rear wheel hosts our biggest class and we battle from the top 16 of the day. 6 seconds split the top from the bottom in qualifying with Luke Woodham taking the fastest time by 0.5 seconds over Adam Elder who was currently sitting at the top of the 2017 championship after taking the win at round 2 when Woodham overshot the stop box in the final.

As we worked through the battles we saw high powered S bodies take on the quick and nimble field of MX5s proving power is not everything when it comes to mastering Gymkhana.

A top 8 battle between Mike Newland and Ryan Milton proved just this with just 0.6 seconds splitting the two over the two runs, until the times are added no one can tell by eye who would have taken the win, but it was Ryan who went into the Semis this time

A closer battle ensued between Philip Staniford in his MX5 and Mantas Sliogeris in his Honda s2000 with just 0.08 seconds splitting the two drivers.

The semi finals were made up of 2 MX5s vs 2 s14s, and it was here we see Ryan Milton retire due to a broken drive shaft, giving Elder the spot in the final against Woodham and an automatic award of 3rd place to Philip Staniford. Never the way we want to see final battles go but we know Ryan will get it fixed and will be fighting once more for those podium spots at round 4.

So the final was one we have seen many times before, and after his mistake at round 2 Luke was ready to make this one count and take back that top spot and £100 Nankang cheque. His driving from run one in practice had been on point all day, showing the field why he is three time European and 2016 Formula G Gymkhana champion.

Pressure on Adam was high, these guys have faced off many times and this is all about all important championship points and bragging rights! This round was Luke’s for the taking with a 4 second lead overall after Adam picked up a penalty hitting a cone in the right lane. This has now pushed Woodham up from 4th to first in the championship, with Adam on his heels with 1 point to catch him, we have a feeling this is going to right to the final round this year.

As usual all drivers rallied around for the podium presentations and champagne fights! See you all at Rockingham for Round 4 of the championship on Sunday 30th July. Tickets are available on the store now

 

 

Event

Formula G Championship, Round 2: Santa Pod Raceway

24th March 2017 — by Fueltopia Events

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Sunday 19th March saw the Fueltopia event team host Formula G round 2 at a dry yet windy Santa Pod Raceway.

Just two weeks on from the first event, drivers were faced with a new track and it proved to be the fastest one to date. A relatively simple layout meant that mastering the course directions came quickly to most and that round two was all about dialling in your technique around the obstacles and getting your foot in quick on the straights. The track lived up to its name the Quickdraw, and as many used their practice session to reduce their times, some soon fell under 37 second’s across RWD, AWD and U1 classes.

The qualifying session of 4 runs per driver places all into a top 16 ranking and then for battles go head to head 1st v 16th and so forth in each class. In the AWD class Andrew Stevens topped the class with a 36.025 but with just 0.9 of a second splitting the top 4 we could see we were going to be in for some tight battles.

In the RWD class, whilst we saw series regulars take the top 8 positions it was great to see 5 of them be taken on by fairly new drivers to the sport, including 14 year old Ben Dryburgh who made the trip down from Scotland to compete in the championship for the first time. However it was the top 8 who all progressed through to the semi-final stages.

The U1 class had a new entry to the series in the form of a Robin Hood, piloted by Daniel Cooper. However as a complete newbie to the sport, he didn’t quite have the speed to knock the biddles off the top spot. With advice from the drivers in the pit we hope to see him back soon ready to take on the challenge once again. Andy Biddle stole the show with a driving masterclass on the day and posted a 35.139 in qualifying taking the crown of fastest time of the day across not only U1 but all classes.

The AWD class battles kicked off with a bye for Andy Stevens when Dmitrij Sribnyj suffered mechanical issues meaning the car didn’t make it to the startline. The battles continued with Flitspeed teammates Dom and Lewis taking each other on in their semi-final, that saw Dom take the win and his place in the quarter final against Yordan Andreev, who made it through after winning his battle against Michael Irwin.

 

Jonathan Buck, who suffered major mechanical issues and therefore missed the first Formula G event, was out to get as many points as he could to better position himself in the championship points table. He won his top 8 battle against Nankang and Pole Position driver Jake Archer and was next drawn against fastest qualifier Andy Stevens, a close race ensued but with Andy picking up a 2 second penalty the win was Buckys and in the final he faced off against Round 1 winner Yordan Andreev. A mistake picking up a 2 second penalty for Andreev meant he had to give his all to beat Bucky in the final race, however his eagerness see him jump the start lights and as long as he could keep his cool and complete the course with no DNF the win was Buckys to take. The final race also see Bucky set the fastest time of the day in the AWD class so he picked up a vital 12 championship points.

 

The RWD class was the last to see battles and with 16 quickly down to 8 our season regulars lined up against opponents they all know too well. It was 4 big powered Nissan S bodies against 4 smaller nibble MX5s and a Honda S2000. With 3 MX5s taking the podium spots at round one the Nissan drivers were guns blazing to get back to the top!

The four making it through to the quarter finals were Luke Woodham, Mark Young, Ryan Milton and Adam Elder. Ryan in his MX5 had been flying around the course all day and was up first against Adam Elders 400bhp Nissan S14, both races were close, with Adam pulling ahead on the straights and Ryan catching him on the tight turns in the obstacles, but it was Adam who pulled ahead just enough to see him into the Final.

Mark Young was up next against 2016 Formula G and 3 times European Gymkhana champion Luke Woodham. Jap motorsport driver Mark had been having the drive of his life Saturday, looking smooth around obstacles and fast on the straights but he couldn’t quite keep up with Luke and he headed into the 3rd/4th place battle with Ryan. His battle with Ryan see him take 4th on the day, losing out by just 0.6 of a second over the 2 sides of the course, his driving didn’t go unnoticed by staff who picked him for the Hardcharger award and all drivers were in agreement with this decision.

The final see a battle we have seen before and are likely to witness many times in the future. As Elder and Woodham, lined up on the grid, we were given the most exciting final battle. The first run see the drivers split by just 0.1 of a second with Luke taking the edge. As they drove around back to the startline we knew this could be anyone’s to win. Both flew round the course, no time penalties and both flew into the stop box at the same time, however Woodham handed the win to Elder when he shot way over the perimeter of the stop box, giving him a DNF. He took it well, laughing it off and congratulating Adam before both finished the day with a huge smoke show as they headed back to the podium!

 

Two rounds down with 3 to go, the points in the championship table are so close right now every point counts and we look forward to seeing what a new track and round 3 brings on May 14th. Tickets are available now on the store.

Photos by

Craig Toull, CRT Photography

Reviews

Purpose Built Barrel Hunter

28th February 2017 — by Dave Cox

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At the time of writing, we are just days away from the beginning of the 2017 Fueltopia Barrel Sprint season. Test & Registration day has been and gone and we take this brief gap to bring you a close look at Mike Newland’s new purpose built barrel sprint s13.

This is not Mike’s first rodeo either previously he had a purpose built S14. A car that Mike has competed in for the last 4 years and spent tireless hours and effort developing. Sadly the S14 met it’s demise at Coventry MotorFest when it made a firm introduction with a concrete pillar underneath the ring roads. When life deals you such a poor hand it can be hard to get back on your feet.

Motorsport is high risk, leaving many grass roots racers with two options, All or Nothing. The impact the S14 had sustained was too much, the chassis was completely folded underneath the car meaning that it would sadly be beyond repair. For someone who had invested all they had into a sport they love the result was pretty crushing. Thankfully that was the extent of the damage, pretty much everything could be salvaged.

An S13 was sourced and Mark Young at Japs Motorsport set to work sand blasting the fresh shell before seam welding and inserting a full cage in preparation for transplanted parts. The decision to go for an S13 instead of an S14 was to step away from the norm on the field. Rear wheel drive class in Barrel Sprint is pretty much dominated by MX5’s and S14’s so Mike felt the need to provide a different body to keep things interesting.

Mark took a staggering 7 days to complete the transformation from a bare shell. I will let that sink in for a little bit. In an era where builds are getting turned around for shows in ever decreasing times, this is incredible. Not to mention that this isn’t a show car, this is a purpose built race car and it is fully functional! I have struggled to make decisions in 7 days, let alone build and complete a car.

The exterior also got a refresh thanks to Sussex Wrap Studio which closely mimics the colours scheme of the S14 as well keeping in line with the team colours.

After all the work was completed, the car was unveiled at the Wembley Qualifier for GRiD last year. Where unfortunately due to a lack of testing due to time constraints the car was fighting with him and not behaving herself. Due to this Mike came in 3rd place missing his spot at GRiD. Disappointing for Mike but still very impressive for anyone else.

The eagle eyed amongst you would have noticed that the lines of this S13 are slightly off, that is because the rear glass hatch has been removed and replaced with fibreglass flat bed. This was done to primarily reduce weight and lower the centre of gravity keeping the car light and nimble or “Smimble” as Mike affectionately calls it (Small and Nimble).

The obsessive weight loss spreads further than just the rear hatch, the bonnet is single skin fibre glass too,

The interior of the car is a spartan yet functional place to sit. A flocked dash obscured only by an OMP steering wheel houses minimal switch gear whilst a hydro setup help get the car round the barrels. Whilst a Corbeau seat helps keep the driver in place.  An Android dash allows Mike to customise what he monitors, keeping only the essential information on display.

As mentioned before, many of the components were transplanted over to the new chassis. Gold wrapping around the intake pipes help keep engine temperatures down. Mike is however developing a new expansion system to help lower intake temperatures and keep them constant which will mean he can go more aggressive on the map. Given that the car is already making 385bhp on a Nispro tune, it will be pretty lively.

Frustrated with his performance at the Qualifier, Mike sent the car to Walton Smith at Nispro to get the car’s alignment dialled in. This proved a wise choice as during the next FBS round, he beat his personal best time and then went on to finish 2nd in the championship.

I keep teasing Mike about the reverse rake of the car saying “just lower the front by a foot and you’ll be fine!” But I am told this is to help with balance and turn in. Seeing as I am at very best a spirited driver, I shall shut up and stop poking fun. (Will I f*ck)

The car is littered with small considered details, I’m particularly fond of the KODE rivets that secure the over fenders and duck tail spoiler . There are other touches too, like the JDM painted spokes. All of this is colour coordinated to tie in the with wrap this car has.

“The test day was an eye opener, After changing the suspension and the cars setup in the off season, it felt totally different. But not in a good way, I couldn’t get to grips with the changes and was struggling to go at my normal pace. After lots of messing around and tweaking I got it set perfect and produced some very nice runs. New front tyres needed due to the increased rear grip since last year due to Nispro’s awesome new setup.”

It is clear that Mike has spent the last 4 years honing his skills and working out what kind of setup he wants from the car. Finishing 3rd in 2015, 2nd in 2016 it only makes sense that he is setting his sights on 1st for this season.

After watching him most of the day and getting really up close and personal, I have little reason to doubt that he will be in strong contention for the win. I wish him the best luck for the season ahead. If you fancy going down and seeing him in action for yourself then you can get tickets from here: Fueltopia Barrel Sprint

Words & Pictures; Dave Cox (SHOOTINGDAVE)

Sponsors:

JAPS Motorsport
EBC Brakes
Corbeau
Adolescent Dogs
Advanced Lubricant Solutions
Dodo Juice
Just Jap
Nispro
Infamous Creations
Sussex Wrap Studio

Specs:

SR20DET
Owen Developements Turbo
LINK ECU
EBC brakes all round
Seam welded chassis & Roll cage
Custom Corbeau bucket seat 5 point harnesses
Driftworks CS2 Coilovers
Custom cooling and intake setup by JAPS Motorsport
1 piece prop shaft
Wisefab rear setup
Geomaster front setup

Video

Merry Skidmas

20th December 2016 — by JimmyDrama

You Tuber and drift video channel, Monkey London, took the festive season to a whole new level with this short video, Merry Skidmas. Combining Christmas cheer, some cheeky street sessions and a couple of s-bodies, that’d look like they’d fit right into any grotto setting.

I bloody love Christmas! So go and enjoy this Festive & Furious video

 

Event

DriftCup Round 5 – Driftland

14th September 2016 — by Connor Mathieson

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The final round of DriftCup drops into Driftland. An impressive grid size but even more impressive is the Scottish driver turn out taking up around half of the grid.

Practice had only been going on for roughly 30 minutes and already people were settling in and getting some nice, close driving providing quite an exciting practice. Even with a lot of drivers never having been to Driftland before, After an hour or so of practice 90% of people were starting to put down consistent runs and with only the occasional spin here and there, providing plenty of practice time for everyone.

Qualifying went great for the local Scottish lads, with 13 of them qualifying and going into top 32 battles. Mark Gemmell hot of his win in SDC last weekend qualifyied 1st. William Hanna first time competing in DriftCup qualifying in a strong 5th place with Taylor Bloomfield and Barry Stevenson just making it into the top 32. the later half of the top 32 was very fiercly contested with positions 19 to 31 only seperated by 4 points!

With Mark Webb already winning the championship before round 5 there was no pressure on him, but ofcourse he wouldn’t want to sit out. That almost became the case with his car throwing a fit right as he was going into qualifying, luckily for him he managed to put in 2 runs that planted him into 25th position. Michelle Westby managed to put in a great qulifying run putting herself into 8th position going into battles. Michelle like many others who had never been to the track before, started out slowly reading the track and lines then progressivly charging harder with each run.

First battle of the top 32 was also the first pair of Scots to battle. Taylor was nursing a clutch issue in the E30 since qualifying which hampered his runs with William, giving William the win. That’s not to say that it was an easy win for William, but he was on fire all day driving really good!

Barry the punk faced of against 2nd place qualifier Stuart Maclachan and were having good battle, but on the 2nd run barry seemed to come in too hot and had a spin, giving the win to Stuart.

Now we come to the battle that will be talked about for quite some time.. Michelle Westby vs Mark Webb. Even before the battle it looked to be interesting. Michelle was driving very well as seen by her 8th place qualifying position and Mark just wanted to get on some doors and have a blast. In the first run coming through the transition in between clips 6-7 Mark was too close which caused him to be thrown of track giving an easy 10-0 advantage to Michelle.

The 2nd run is where things get interesting. Michelle chased super hard on mark but coming through clip 3 seemed to straighten up and quite simply rammed him.. Causing them both to slide up the bank and most interestingly cause their battle to go into a one my time. Also interesting to note is the smile on marks face as they were spinning up the bank, with both of them throwing a fist out the window and having a hug, no hard feelings were had. after another few interesting runs Mark would eventually take the win over Michelle.

Jeek faced of against the mighty Kriss Darling. Now you may be wondering.. “whats with the ratchet strap on Kriss’ car?” Well, in practice his bonnet flew up and smashed the window. I’m guessing as a safety measure they thought it would be best to make sure it couldn’t open again. In battle Jeek couldn’t quite chase as closely as Kriss could and Kriss ended up going through to the great 8.

Ben Fisher and Chris Taylor met in the top 16 and provided a very nice close battle that Ben would eventually win. Ben would then go on to battle Marcin in the amazing Supra in the top 8. Marcin was on fire the entire day putting down superb qualifying lines in the lead position as well as doing some great chase driving netting him a place in the top 4.

First battle going into the top 4 came down to Callum Marshall and Charles Funnell. Charles had taken out quite a few impressive cars to reach this battle. Beating out Stuart Jones in the mighty 400bhp S14 as well as William Hanna. Callum also beat out some heavy hitters, taking down 2nd place qualifyier Stuart Maclachan in the top 16 and then going on to beat Kriss Darling in the top 8. Callum had just that little bit better of a chase drive against Charles, with Charles not quite being able to follow Callum as closely.

On the other side of the bracket Genetic Drifter Rob Johnston was up against Marcin. Marcin had a clean upper had over Rob with track knowledge which seemed to pay of well. Rob chased Marcin well but had to sacrafice angle in order to keep up with Marcin’s Supra giving Marcin the win.

The battle for 3rd saw Rob facing of against Charles in the E36 Touring. both drove excellent lead runs but noticeably Rob chased much better than he did in the previous battle with Marcin.

DriftCup Round 5 final came down to 2 Driftland locals, Both of which had been driving superb all day. Marcin lead Callum in the first run with both drivers showing the same consistant driving they had been doing throughout the competition. After the 2nd run however it was imediatly clear on who had won the battle.

Rob won himself 3rd defeating Charles and taking home a well deserved trophy. Following on from a rather weak chase on Marcin in the top 4 he would vastly improve his chase driving against Charles in the battle for 3rd place. Unlucky for Charles but for someone driving a lower powered BMW, He put in some great work to make it into 4th place.

In the battle for 1st place Callum would take 2nd. Marcin’s chase run in the final was pretty amazing, he stayed all over Callum throughout the entire run netting himself a very well deserved victory. Callum was comming of a 2nd place finish in last weeks Scottish Drift Championship and put in some great work to bag another 2nd place trophy 2 weeks in a row.

Michelle Westby would pick up hard charger honours for providing what i’m sure a lot of people that attended Round 5 would feel to be the most entertaining battle of the day.

Mark Webb had already won the championship at Round 4 but still drove very had at Driftland regardless. with some unfortunate car issues he eventually got knocked out of top 16 by local driver Stuart McLellan. Congratulations to Mark on the championship win, it shall be very interesting to watch him drive in the BDC next year.

Massive congratulations to the top 4 drivers, none of them had an easy job getting to the top 4 in what was a very competative top 32.

In this last year of drift competition in the UK the driving level has sky rocketed. DriftCup may be the feeder series for the British Drift Championship but i feel everyone who made it to the top 16 at Round 5 would certainly give any BDC driver a run for their money in competition.
Words and photo’s by Connor Mathieson