Ask any UK-based automotive enthusiast and they’ll probably tell you the first weekend of September has been synonymous with a trip to Silverstone Circuit, Northampton for as long as they can remember. The event is ‘TRAX’, a performance car show and open track day that welcomes all makes and models with as much or as little power as you dare throw around the legendary F1 circuit. This year Trax also played host to two particular events which hold our interest here at Drifted – those being Formula D professional and NOS Energy/Maxxis driver Chris Forsberg doing a demo-drive and the final round of the JDM Allstars Drift Series 2010.
Its difficult to convey the sense of scale of an event like TRAX, but for the UK its a pretty big show. Gone are the years when I used to try and cover and see everything. There are only so many Vauxhall Corsas with boots full of speakers that I can walk past in disapproval in a day, so I focused my time and efforts on the more performance and sideways aspects of the event. Thankfully there was plenty of exotica like the above Ferrari 458 Italia to distract me from some of the fibreglass speaker filled monstrosities on offer.
After queuing for what felt like an eternity, I arrived into the event nice and early to catch up with Team Japspeed and Mr Forsberg, taking care of some last minute tweaks to the RB25 Japspeed x Maxxis S15 he was going to be piloting in the demo. Chris has been out for some initial practice sessions in the car, and despite everything being on the wrong side, he assured me that he was getting to grips with the car and was running the perimeter walls pretty close straight off the bat. Sadly on Chris’s first session out in the car he popped a driveshaft which put the Japspeed crew to work in fitting the spare they carry in case of such eventualities.
It was time to head over to the main track to watch the qualifying session for the JDM Allstars final. The title hangs in the balance over the final round with Driftworks’ Dan Chapman, Australian import Luke Fink and Neuton Tyres Jon Calvert all in the running to take the crown as JDM Allstars 2010 Champion.
This is the first time many of the drivers had run Silverstone following the recent redevelopment of the Brooklands corner to satisfy Bernie Ecclestones’ demands for the track. Gone is the gravel trap frequented by so many UK drifters over the years, and here to stay is a new super-grippy tarmac run-off. That means faster and more daring initiations can be pulled off without the fear of burying it deep into the kitty litter (there is still the tyre wall of course).
In true UK fashion, following a dry but windy morning practice session, the weather soon arrived, bringing lashings of rain down just as the drivers were heading out to qualify. I’ve lost count at the number of drift events I’ve seen where practice/qualifying/finals have all had completely different weather conditions and today was no exception.
The first major upset of the day was title contender and usually super-consistent Dan Chapman having major problems adjusting to the grip levels during the rain and failing to qualify for the Top 16.
Luke Fink was on point in the Severnside/Low Brain PS13. Fresh paint and fresh Work Equips see the car looking……….fresher than ever. Luke qualified in top position following some consistant and precise runs, despite the conditions. However a moment of silence is needed…….
….for yet another Work Equip was injured in the making of this epic-ness. For the second event in a row the tyre unseated from the bead, flat-spotting the lip on the Brooklands bend. Luke, being Luke, kept his foot in!
Crowd favourite George Tilling, straight from a podium finish at Round 4 Wembley stepped up to the mark with a 12th place qualifying run. The lower-powered RB20 being well suited to the damper conditions.
Alan McCord was only having to breathe on the throttle during his navigation of the Luffield corner, the huge LS1 V8 grunted with each dab of the throttle and effortlessly span up the rear wheels. Alan progresses to the Top 16 in 4th position.
Another surprise early bath was for the other Driftworks’ driver Ben ‘Bon’ Broke-Smith. After retiring the Driftworks 1JZ R32 for the season Bon was in James Deane’s SR20DE-T powered Severnside/Low Brain PS13. Despite an effort at one of the craziest backwards entries of the day, Bon spins out and has to enjoy the rest of the event from the grandstand.
By the time Protuner’s Greg Gush was out to qualify the track was starting to dry out. It’s always good to hear those first tyre squeals and see the first whisps of smoke after a wet drift session. The sun also made an appearance at this point, maybe drawn out by the yellow optimistic paintjob on Greg’s Onevia?
The qualifying session ended with a bang, quite literally, as one of the really quite important parts of Steve ‘Stiggy’ Evan’s Ford Pinto engine makes a break for freedom and gets as far as the inside of the Toyota Starlet’s engine bay. Stiggy joins the media on the infield and signals to the crowd the end of his event. Sadly, before Stiggy’s engine failure he had qualified in 2nd place. Polish driver and Wembley victor Pawel Trela also suffers a similar fate aftyer qualifying 3rd, which moved Alan McCord up to 2nd and everyone beneath him up two positions which puts relieved title contender Jon Calvert up into the Top 16 in 15th position. But is it too late?
A break in proceedings and we head over to see Forsberg back out entertaining the TRAX crowd. Despite two (!) driveshaft breakages in as many hours Team Japspeed get him back out again, giving passenger rides and pushing the S15 closer and closer to the walls.
A bit too close at one point.
So at least you now know that the Run The Wall stickers have been tested by professionals and they do work. Buy with confidence.
Chris took time out to meet fans and sign autographs alongside fellow cross-Atlantic Maxxis team mates Danny Eyles, Stephen Biagioni and Shane Lynch.
Chris is a really chilled and down-to-earth guy and it was great having a driver of his calibre visit our shores. Hopefully next time we’ll get to see him up against some of our drivers in competition?
Back to the main track and it was time for the final Top 16 of JDM Allstars 2010.
Top qualifier Luke Fink quickly disposed of Poland’s Jankowski. I do have to commend the Polish guys for the traveling they do to take part in UK events. Just consider that next time you complain that the next practice day is ‘too far’ for you!
Steve Will’s huge power turbo BMW M3 pushes up on and overtakes Walton Smith’s RB powered RWD Subaru on the exit of Brooklands, but Walton gains back the advantage and overtakes Will back around Luffield, taking the pass through to the Top 8.
Greg Gush is out driven by Bochenek and his R33 Skyline and Matt Chiappa is put out by Marvin Mospinek.
A spin by Alan McCord sees Jon Calvert progress after an early mistake in the line he takes.
The Rocket Bunny of Anthony ‘Scotty’ Scott was out in full force after the RB30-death in Poland and the SR20 Turbo-death in London. Scotty looked to be having a better day after qualifying in 5th position. The crowd wave goodbye to George Tilling for the season as Scotty leaves him behind in the Tra-Kyoto S13.
And finally Brad McQueen’s season is finished by youngster Dwayne McKeever in his 700bhp S13. We have our Top 8.
Walton Smith faces up against Luke Fink in the first of the Top 8 battles. Fink pushes Walton around the complex and despite a slight correction is awarded the win, Fink goes through.
Scotty is up against the formidable force of Bochenek in his R33 Skyline. Bochenek drives hard and gains the advantage after both runs. Scotty bows out with a couple of fast demo runs to entertain the crowd.
Jon Calvert makes a big mistake on the first run following the bright pink FD3S of Hacker however for the second time during the event Calvert forces a spin out of his opponent in the second run and progresses to the Semi Final.
Marvin Mospinek puts on a great display of driving when paired up against Dwayne McKeever. Mospinek’s initiations were inspiring, seeing him throw the M5 engine’d E30 into the first corner a DISTANCE before anyone else was pure entertainment. Mospinek takes the win and joins Calvert, Fink and Bochenek in the Semi Finals.
Luke Fink’s Severnside/LBD S13 takes on Bochenek’s R33 Skyline. Its Australia vs Poland on the UK’s premier race circuit! Both drivers carry incredible speed into the first turn at Brooklands but after a great chase run just feet from Bochenek’s door Luke Fink heads into the Final!
Jon Calvert’s Neuton Tyres S13 vs Mospinek’s E30 BMW next. Calvert pushes on hard in the first run and passes the BMW coming through Luffield, the first run advantage goes to Calvert. In the second run Mospinek is feet from Calvert throughout the track but doesn’t do enough to match Calvert’s chase run – Calvert joins Fink in the final!
Poland vs Poland in the 3rd place play-off and no love lost as both drivers tear hard around Brooklands. Mospinek’s nimble E30 seems to have a constant advantage at Luffield and gains ground on Bochenek. As both drivers exit the complex onto the finishing straight of the GP circuit the crowd are gearing up for what looks set to be an epic final battle.
With fans in the stands number crunching as to how the championship pans out, whispers were circulating about it already being in the bag for Luke Fink following Dan Chapman’s early retirement. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain in the final runs of the season.
The first run kicks off with Fink leading and Calvert following closely behind.
Fink looks to carry more speed and angle throughout the complex however has to make a slight correction during the transition, I wonder if the judges spotted it? Both drivers leave a thick cloud of smoke hanging over the circuit.
In the second run Calvert sets off with Fink feet from his door at initiation. Calvert carries more angle throughout Brooklands and the transition but as they round Luffield there is barely a SLIVER of daylight between the two cars, surely the closest two cars have ever driven at speed around that corner.
Fink is mere millimeters (excuse the switch from imperial to metric!) from Calvert’s driver’s door. There looks to be a slight nudge of contact on the exit to the corner but we can’t be sure!
A mix of adrenaline, fatigue and looking through a lens all day leaves me feeling as if I wasn’t quite sure what just happened! Fink passes the line bashing frantically at the wheel as his better half Jacqueline, who is now standing on top of the crash barrier to our right, somehow manages to over power the noise of the crowd and Silverstone’s PA system in support of him. He thinks he has it in the bag but its down to the podium for the judges’ decision.
As the media gather around the cars the decision come across – the winner of JDM Allstars Silverstone, Round 5 is……Jon Calvert!
Luke looks momentarily disappointed until the realization sinks in that due to his 2nd place finish he is JDM Allstars 2010 Series Champion! Great driving and a great addition to the UK drift scene. It’s clear to see why the UK is becoming such a strong magnet for international talent who want to drive with and against the best in the world.
1st. Jon Calvert
2nd. Luke Fink
3rd. Marvin Mospinek
4th. Maciej Bochenek
1st. Luke Fink
2nd. Jon Calvert
3rd. Dan Chapman
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