Review Of The Championship - So Far
Date published : 27 Jul 2009 - 09:45:19
Three events have passed, and already we’re at the halfway stage of the championship. The year kicked off with a change to the points system, there was the news that some of the big names from last year would not be taking part, some new venues were announced that left a few people scratching their heads, and there was even a new pit girl! But guess what? 2009 has probably been the most exciting EDC season yet.
Round 1 was held at Oulton Park, and the expectations were unknown as no one had ever drifted on the track before. To shake things up for some of the veteran drivers, there were several new drivers to add into the mix, and to top it all off, one of them was 13 year old Dwain McKeever. Showing flair and ambition, this guy is one to look out for in the future. He certainly got people talking when he knocked out former champion Brett Castle in the top 16.
Oulton Park itself proved to be a winner with the crowd, maybe not so much with the drivers though. The downhill straight leading into the first corner took some drivers by surprise, and left them wondering where they were, as their car spun backwards into the grass. Once mastered though, the track showed itself to be a great place for drifting and I’m sure the championship will be back Oulton Park again.
The competition was quite fierce amongst the top 8, with plenty of awesome skill on display. It took the smallest of mistakes to separate these guys, and in the end it was a first place for Phil Morrison, second for Alan McCord and third place went to Mark Luney.
Round 2, and it was up to bonny Scotland to Knockhill, the only track in the UK that seems to have its own weather system! As always, Knockhill welcomed us with open arms, and a load of rain, though this didn’t put a dampener on the practice session on the Saturday.
This round saw a huge delegation of drivers from Northern Ireland, and they gave as good as they got. As always, the blind first corner caught out many people, but as the track got drier and the drivers got a bit more confident we saw these guys go over that hill at some scary speeds.
On race day, the crowds were out in force, and the drivers delivered a fantastic spectacle of speed and smoke. Once again it was a tight affair for most drivers, and once into the top 8 most of them could only be separated on slight errors. In the third place battle, it took that many runs to separate Phil Morrison and Mark Luney that Morrison’s tyre burst and spun out. First place was taken by Pete Barber, second was James Russell and there was another third place for Mark Luney.
Winners of Round 2
Round 3 was held at the home of British Motorsport, Silverstone, and what a day for drifting. With on track temperatures of 35+ degrees, it was a recipe for plenty of smoke and supporting crowds.
Morning practice gave an indication of how the day was going to pan out, with some drivers chancing their luck, initiating into the first corner at a staggering 97mph! For some the gambled paid off, for others it was a trip into the gravel trap.
Mechanically it was not a good day for some. Just after practice it became evident that Phil Morrison was having some major issues with his engine and he had to retire. Paul Cheshire had to borrow an S14 as his own car had gearbox problems. Paul took the car into the qualifiers and ended up knocking out Paul Conlan for a place in the top 16.
Pete Barber also had to earn his place in the top 16, driving against Andy Cooper. To make things even more bizarre, Pete had to also borrow a car, this time a rather old RX-7. They say age isn’t everything, and in the case of this car that was very true, as it put in an amazing performance in both runs.
The top 8 seen some amazing driving, but also some amazing off’s as Declan Hicks drove straight into the gravel trap at 98mph!
As always, the drivers were so evenly matched, and a win looked as though it could only be taken by someone else’s mistake, which it was. With Brett Castle in front in the first run of the final, he made a slight error coming into the first corner and it was all over as he drove into the gravel. Alan McCord kept his cool in the second run, giving him first place. Third place was claimed by Pete Barber.
We’re only three rounds into the championship and so far it has had so many memorable moments. The standard of driving has been some of the best we’ve seen by far, and here is hoping that it continues for the rest of the season.