19-02-2018 – Laurie Southern
Always Follow Your Instincts: Teesside Drift Day

Last sunday was one of the those days where the term “Best laid plans of mice and men” springs to mind. I knew there was a drift day happening at Teesside Autodrome in Middlesbrough. I also knew that it would be a great day, with a bunch of people taking freshly built cars on track for the first time. However, when I woke up and looked out the window, the weather was pretty rubbish. I do live in Manchester after all. It was because of this and the fact that I’d been lazy and slept in that I decided not to bother, and to attend a meet in Leeds instead.

Arriving at the meet to find it didn’t live up to my expectations was a let-down. I then however realised that I was in fact only an hour’s drive away from the original plan, and that I may as well go to Teesside after all. 10/10, Captain Hindsight.

Within 30 seconds of arriving I was already kicking myself. I’m not one to be lazy when it comes to getting up early for automotive fun, however on this particular day I let that slip. Lesson learnt. I could have spent an hour or more just wandering around the car park, but it was already getting late and I forced myself to head into the paddock.

The first car to greet me would be this S13, adorned with suitably 90s purple flames and Project Touge stickers. I love the simplicity of the car, made all the more authentic with a set of colour-matched Advan 3 spokes. She’s a looker, alright.

I’m unsure how many will agree, but this particular shape Silvia wears a URAS kit better than anything else. It works with the lines of the car so well, and that rear ducktail finishes the back end off perfectly. I’m a fan of this car. The stock wheels wrapped in meaty tyres used for drifting are a nice touch, too.

One thing you’ll notice at any grassroots drift event in the UK (or anywhere in the world for that matter) is the sheer number of MX5s. You saw it coming, I did it anyway. I have no shame.

Plenty to buy, hard to break, cheap to fix. It’s that simple. This particular car caught my eye all day long. The mis-matched body panels, low pro headlights and staggered wheels just give it that ‘missile’ feel. The tyre/barrier marks all over the car help of course. I bet the driver has had a bunch of fun with this car in it’s time.

‘Fun’ is a word that’s thrown around a lot by MX5 users. Destroy Or Die know this all too well, having just released a new ‘Low Power Heroes‘ sticker. I’ll be picking one up for Project ‘Yata soon for sure!

The similarities between the MK1 and the MK2 are so small in reality that they’re both just as good as each other for beginners and more seasoned individuals. Although ‘pop-ups’ is a completely valid argument in favour of the earlier variant. Maybe I’m biased.

It’s always great to see something out on track that you possibly weren’t expecting to see. I love it when people utilise a larger, more ‘VIP’ focused chassis for drifting. A first generation LS400 going sideways is a great sight no matter where in the world you are. I’d hazard a guess that it isn’t too difficult to achieve either, with the 4.0L 1UZ V8 engine making 250BHP from standard.

Another car commonly seen on the UK drift circuit is the BMW E36, although this particular car is unlike any I’ve seen. The car belongs to Frasier Mills, and has recently been fitted with the gorgeous HM-Sports kit from Huxley Motorsport. A full respray from Adam at Retroshine later and it’s honestly one of the best looking Beemer’s I’ve ever seen. Hands down. Retroshine will be doing some work on my own car very soon – more on that another time.

The car looks incredible from any angle. These aren’t the wheels he usually rolls on, they’re only in place for skidding. I’ve spoken to Frasier since, and we’re going to arrange an afternoon for a feature in the coming months. Keep your eyes peeled for that one. For now though, you can read more about the car over at Street!Track!Life!

I’ll wrap it up there as my visit was short lived. Back to my original point – slacking and ducking out of the most interesting days within car culture is usually a bad idea. Go with your gut feeling, it works out better 90% of the time. Maybe it’s about time I bought something cheap and learnt to skid? I’ve spent long enough photographing drift events, after all. If you see any ads for a suitable toy, send them my way.

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Laurie Southern