UsedCarsNI.com is proud to sponsor Andy Cooper (owner of RMS) and his 420bhp Nissan Drift Car in a number of events including the European Drift Championship. Andy has just finished the last round of the season at Snetterton Race Circuit and we caught up with him to see how he got on.
Well I’m just back from the final rounds of the EDC at Snetterton. I say rounds as it was a double header event with competitions on both the Saturday and Sunday. The circuit is based near Norwich in the South East of England is also home to rounds of the British Superbikes and the BTCC. Even more special is the fact that it has probably the fastest drift corners of all the circuits in the UK and Ireland, with our drift entry speeds well exceeding 100mph.
To explain how the drifting is scored, drivers do qualifying runs where they are judged on how sideways they are into a corner, the speed of sideways entry and the line taken through the corners. The cars are then paired off in a tournament format and run twice per pair, with each driver taking a turn at leading. The chase car has to keep close and follow the leading car while maintaining drift speed and angle, with the leading car attempting to put some distance in between them whilst keeping sideways and showing a good line.
We arrived at the circuit at lunch on Friday after having taken the Belfast to Birkenhead ferry overnight and driven across England. Practice was that evening so we could get a good feel for the circuit and luckily we had no issues. Fellow competitor Antony Mortley’s Nissan Skyline blew an engine – a sobering reminder that we were pushing our tuned cars to the limit. At this stage I should point out that the EDC runs as part of the wider events called “Modified Live” – which includes the Time Attack series and Civic Cup. Along with trade and club stands, F1 car demos and truck racing it makes for a fantastic day out for any motorsport enthusiast. But I’m there for the drifting!
Saturday had went well – I had got into the semi-finals and after a tight battle with Paul Conlan from Coalisland in his S15 and Declan Hicks from Dorset in his Toyota Cresta we ended up in a respectable 3rd place. Several rear pairs of tyres later and we were ready to go again on Sunday, and Paul and I met in the tournament before the semi finals. When I say met, we both went through the last corner too fast and the RMS Nissan got a light thump in the rear. I had my onboard cam running for this – check it out on Youtube and listen out for the thump at the end!
All was not lost and after stitching the bumper back together with cable ties I was into the semi-finals. We had also been given a weather warning by race control – heavy rain was forecast in the afternoon and all attempts were made to bring the timetable forward to miss it. And of course the heavens opened just before my semi-final run against, again, Declan Hicks. Declan has over 100bhp on my car but I had comparatively better traction in the rain and he spun off onto the grass while trying to keep my line on his following run. I was able to tuck up beside Declan for my chasing run and moved on to the finals.
Up against fellow NI driver Paul Conlan again, we knew from our contact earlier that both drivers were out for the hard earned win. I held a tight line and was able to close into Paul on his leading run putting him under pressure from the start. To give you an idea of how wet the track was at this stage, I had to have the window fully closed due to the water and I practically couldn’t see Paul at all with exhaust noise as my only guide! On my leading run I hoped the ultra low tyre pressures would survive as much throttle as possible and I tried to build as much speed on the entry. It paid off and I was able to maintain good distance throughout the drift. And I took the win at the final round of the European Drift Championship!
I’d like to thank my sponsors for their support including: UsedCarsNI | Nutt Travel | Kerrs Tyres | Motoglass | Blackwater Graphics | Driftkits.eu | ReallyMeanSounds.com Thanks to Andrew Johnston for the photos.