Sterkens commits to the obp Motorsport Retro Rallycross Championship

Belgian European Rallycross Championship legend Jos Sterkens has committed to racing his Ford Escort in the Retro Rallycross Championship as his primary activity.

The former European Champion drove his glorious Ford Escort MkI in Retro Rallycross’ showcase as part of the SpeedMachine festival last month, the British round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

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The 64-year old driver, who has been a regular visitor to UK rallycross events for several decades and famously rolled his four-wheel drive Ford Mondeo Division 2 in spectacular fashion at Brands Hatch in 1995, will return to the points-scoring Retro Rallycross Championship event at Lydden Hill on August Bank Holiday Monday, before committing to a full assault next season. Such is Sterkens’ enthusiasm to race in Retro RX, the Belgian engineer has changed the engine in his Escort to be eligible to compete.

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“I’m very excited to be racing in the Retro Rallycross Championship, I have wanted to join for some time but the engine in my car was a Duratec which is not allowed, so I changed this to a Zetec which fits into the right period,” said Sterkens. “This is the last car I will build for rallycross. I have an ongoing project at home with a property that I am working on so I am not able to race too many times this year, but in the future my time will be better.”

Sterkens’ Escort will join an ever-increasing range of period machines on the Retro Rallycross Championship grid.  “Jos and I have been friends for over 30 years and I couldn’t be happier with his decision to race in Retro Rallycross,” said Retro Rallycross Championship promotor Shirley Gibson. “He is of course no stranger to the British audience having competed in the UK for many years and has a huge following within Europe. We are all looking forward to seeing Jos out on track, and of course enjoy his great sense of humour as part of the Retro Rallycoss family.”

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After the opening two rounds of the 2019 obp Motorsport Retro Rallycross Championship, Gary Simpson leads the Super Retro points, Steve Cozens heads the under 1600cc Retro Rallycross standings and Steve Harris is top in the four-wheel drive and Group B classification.

Jac Maybin gets his first victory in the Mini Challange

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Jac Maybin proved his championship potential with a stunning display of overtaking to score his first MINI CHALLENGE JCW victory in the second outing at Oulton Park.

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Maybin proved to be the star of what was a fantastically close race, with a seven-car train vying for the lead right from the very start. Maybin, who started fourth, battled through the order late on to grab his first victory, and prove that he will be one to watch in this year’s title race.

Lee Pattison inherited pole for the reversed grid, but he was let down almost straight away when, despite getting a superb getaway, a stuck brake forced an early retirement as he was swamped by the pack through Old Hall for the first time.

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That left Calum King to lead from the other front row spot, ahead of race one winner James Gornall, who shot from sixth to run second by the end of the first lap. Max Bird was in third, ahead of Maybin, Kenan Dole, Nathan Harrison and Dan Zelos as the top seven quickly edged away from the midfield pack.

King led with confidence, despite Gornall launching repeated attacks around the outside of Lodge Corner, but King repelled each one. With the pack getting more closely bunched with each lap, Harrison gradually picked off those ahead of him until he latched onto the back of Maybin in fourth before a brief safety car period interrupted his progress.

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Knowing he had to move forward, Maybin launched a string of brilliant overtaking moves at the restart, first despatching Bird on the brakes into Druids, then diving inside Gornall at Old Hall when he lost time after being squeezed wide by King as he defended the lead hard at Lodge.

Then came the race-deciding move, when Maybin sprung up the inside of King when he left barely a car’s width at Druids apex.

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I saw him coming and just couldn’t shut the door in time. I couldn’t just suddenly move across to block him as it’s so fast there and that wouldn’t have ended well for either of us,” said a disappointed King, who was quickly mugged down to sixth as others followed Maybin through while he was forced onto the wide line.

Up ahead, Maybin only had to lead little more than a lap to notch his first victory, and did so with style.

What a result!” he beamed. “When I was looking at the calendar I thought this could be one of my worst circuits, but to leave with a win and a podium is brilliant for the championship, and for my confidence going into the rest of the season.

“I love Druids corner, it’s a tricky one to get right but it’s where you can find a lot of passing opportunities if you’re brave, and I had to be really brave at times. It was just a brilliant race from start to finish.

Gornall was restricted to second, having taken the best out of his tyres. He added: “I got put on the grass once or twice, and just couldn’t find a way around Calum for the lead. If I’d got clear I could have been gone, but I just trashed the tyres and couldn’t do anything about Jac near the end. Still, a win, a second and the championship lead isn’t a bad way to start the year!

Harrison snuck into third after the safety car, aided when the impressive Bird was forced to retire his car with a mystery engine glitch that caused it to briefly cut out close to the end when running in the top four.

“I’ll take the solid points for the start of the year and look to move forward, as it’s clear it’s going to be a real battle this season,” said Harrison. “The car felt fine, it was just difficult always being in the dirty air in the middle of the pack – you have to take the chances when they come.”

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Dan Zelos grabbed fourth – and the award for top rookie – as a consolation for his race one disappointment, but it’s clear there’s much more to come from him this season.

King recovered to fifth ahead of Dole, Richard Newman, Calum Newsham, James Loukes and Lewis Galer, who impressed on his debut car racing weekend with his first top 10 finish. Ben Palmer set the race’s fastest lap on his recovery from the back of the grid to 13th.

Doran and Simpson claim Retro Rallycross Championship spoils at Lydden Hill

Blazing hot sunshine and a packed crowd greeted the second round of the 2019 obp Motorsport Retro Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill on Easter Bank Holiday Monday (April 22), where the action was just as hot on track and Liam Doran and Gary Simpson won the Retro RX finals.

Six four-wheel drive and Group B cars took part in the special event at the birthplace of the sport, where FIA World Rallycross Championship podium-finisher Liam Doran raced the Ford RS200 that his father Pat drove to victory in the French round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship in 1992. Starting from the second row of the grid in the final, Doran jumped into the lead by the first corner and put on the display of the day, sliding the Group B machine around Lydden Hill to claim victory.

Round one winner Steve Harris drove his similar RS200 to second place and Welshman Roger Thomas, who started on the front row for the final alongside Harris and David Halford’s Audi Quattro, finished third. Fourth was Rob Gibson, the former European Rallycross racer fighting back from an incident on track in Q2. Halford was fifth.

“Today was probably one of the best days I’ve had driving cars in a very, very long time. Obviously the result isn’t as important as if I was in World RX, but for driving a car, there’s nothing like driving that car. It’s probably the best rallycross car in the World and this is probably the best track in the world for driving rallycross,” said Doran.“I’m not normally a smiler but I couldn’t help myself every time I got out of it today, even if we had problems. It was really cool to be on the grid, especially on the back and to be able to see everyone off the line. In front of me I had an RS200, a Lancia, a 6R4, another 6R4 and an Audi Quattro. Of course its 2019 but it’s cool to be involved. I’m really happy I made the effort, it was a great day.”

In the two-wheel drive Retro Rallycross Championship final it was Super Retro (over 1600cc) BMW E30 driver Gary Simpson who claimed victory, reversing the order from round one at Silverstone where he had finished behind under 1600cc Retro RX campaigner Steve Cozens with his Citroen AX. Cozens was second at Lydden, and after a day-long battle, multiple rallycross champion Tony Lynch (Toyota MR2) overcame Simon Hart (Ford Escort) for the final place in the top three. Paul Smith made a welcome return to Retro RX with his Volkswagen Polo and finished the final fifth, but Stewart Bowes was forced to retire from the race when his Mini Clubman lost its left-rear wheel. Driveshaft issues sadly curtailed Phil Collard’s debut with his Renault 5 in a day of attrition for Retro Rallycross contenders.

“It’s been a grand day, the best day we’ve had for a while. The car ran well, we’ve had no issues, it’s been nice weather and this track suits us well,” said Simpson. “This car’s a bit big to be throwing around the likes of Silverstone but here it goes really well. I really enjoy the Retro championship, there’s different makes of cars all down the grid and everyone’s in the same boat. It’s nice, friendly and gentlemanly, but it’s still hard racing, there’s no playing at it. Next stop Pembrey!”

Retro Rallycross Championship promotor Shirley Gibson was delighted with how the event unfolded and is already looking forward to the future. “It has been such a brilliant day, there is nowhere better to present our fabulous mix of rallycross classics than Lydden Hill. So many memories were stirred as we showed how rallycross was back in the day,” she said. “The success of Retro Rallycross is down to the support and dedication shown by the drivers in our championship, the numbers of which are growing all the time. There were 19 cars on the grid for this round and to consider that there were five regulars unable to attend, I couldn’t be more proud of what, together, we have achieved. Our next appearance will be at Speedmachine for the British round of the World Rallycross Championship at Silverstone and the line-up is already looking amazing.”

Product Update: Pro-Drift V3 hydraulic handbrake

The Pro-Drift V3 aluminium billet hydraulic handbrake have been updated and are now available in Black only

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The Kit Contains: 320-380mm Long Handbrake Lever and Box, and can come with a Clevis and Master Cylinder (can be supplied with either .625, .7 or .75 cylinder, if no preference is made we will supply a .625) and a bias valve.

 

The all new Pro-Drift V3 Hydraulic Handbrake is a master class in functional design, engineering and manufacture. The Aluminium Billet Grip is easily adjustable so you can change the length of the handbrake to suit your driving style. It has also been designed so you can use the same unit as either Vertical or Horizontal.

 

The hydraulic system connects into the brake line that runs to the rear calipers and requires a lot less force to completely lock both rear wheels when needed. A hydraulic handbrake is used by drivers to lock up or break loose the rear wheels when they want to Drift the car sideways or spin on the spot. Rally drivers regularly need to spin 180 degrees “on the spot” when they over shoot an intersection, or need to turn very hard left or right and there’s not enough wheel lock to achieve this. The hydraulic handbrake is not used to stop the car.

 

A hydraulic hand brake can be added into the rear brake line system without changing the original mechanical handbrake setup. obp Motorsport design and manufacture all these units in our own well equipped factory based in England. These Hydraulic handbrakes are constructed out of Billet Aluminium, giving you an extremely strong product that will last a life time.

These systems are for competition use only.

http://www.obpltd.com/Handbrakes/Pro-Drift-V3-Hydraulic-Handbrake/Pro-Drift-V3-Hydraulic-Handbrake-Non-Lockable/Pro-Drift-V3-Aluminium-Billet-Hydraulic-Handbrake-E-Brake-320-380mm-Lever-OBPHBV303

 

 

British Drift Championship 2019 – Round 1

A New Year, beginning and owner; with all this the start of the season was always going to start with a bang. For round 1 the BDC went back to its iconic course at Teesside Autodrome, with 1 big change, reverse track layout. For its 11th year at Teesside this would be the first time running it backwards.

 

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With all the changes to the series, the layout of the weekend stayed the same with a Pro-am competition on Saturday and Pro’s competing on the Sunday. The pro-am grid was full of fresh new drivers from Drift Games Nationals & Driftcup who were all given the opportunity to gain full BDC licences.

 

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Saturday saw a cold but dry start to the day with a nice cross wind that cleared the smoke from the track. With this being run backwards for the first time all the drivers had to learn the line which wasn’t easy as from clip 2 to 3 there was a dip which off balanced the cars making it harder to stay on the correct line. By the time qualifying start most drivers had learnt the new layout and were ready to put points on the board.

 

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With the qualifying completed and everyone’s battles decided the competition began. From the start of the top 32 the battles were close, with all drivers pushing their cars to the limits. The competition heated up as the battles progressed making it harder and harder to decide, with all drivers going for the win. The final was a close battle between Josh King and Nick Brady which saw some of the best driving of the day but ultimately Josh came out on the top spot.

 

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Sunday then brought the Pro competition, this saw faster cars take to the track raising the stakes on the challenging track layout. The weather wasn’t on the driver’s side in the morning with a damp track, mist in the air and rain in the air.

 

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As the day went on the weather got better and better and the sun started to shine between the clouds as qualifying began. Every driver that took their runs pushed harder than they had in the morning as they all knew the competition was tough, with only the top 24 drivers going through to the battles.

 

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After qualifying came an on track meet and great with the drivers and fans which gives a nice break to the action. This allows drivers to give something back to the fans with photos, signings and merchandise.

 

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The drivers then got back into their cars and gridded up ready for battle to commence, the top 8 drivers had automatic qualification to top 16 with the other 16 drivers fighting for those last 8 spots. Because of this every battle was like their last so they rubbed doors, lost bumpers and de-beaded tyres.

 

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As the drivers moved further in the competition they all saw the podium so pushed each other harder and faster giving us some of the best driving of the weekend. The finals saw ex-champion Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith go up against the smoke machine himself, Aurimas Vaskelis. After a one more time battle Aurimas came out on time by the smallest of margins.

 

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Harris blasts to Retro Rallycross Championship victory at Silverstone

The opening round of the 2019 obp Motorsport Retro Rallycross Championship was held at Silverstone Circuit in glorious spring weather (March 24) and it was Steve Harris in his equally glorious Ford RS200 who claimed the first final victory of the season. 

One of the star performances of the weekend was delivered by Retro Rallycross 1600cc sub-category driver Steve Cozens with his Citroen AX. Despite bending the rear suspension in the qualifying stages, Cozens gave chase to the two four-wheel drive cars ahead in the final, while also fending off the attentions of Mini Clubman racer Stewart Bowes.

Bowes’ challenge for an overall top-three ended when he tried an inside move at the loose-surface hairpin and hit a tyre wall, dropping him down the field. That left Gary Simpson as Cozens’ nearest challenger with his BMW E30, but it was behind the York driver, who took top honours in the Super Retro points, where the action unfolded in the final, as Tony Lynch (Toyota MR2) and John Cross (Lancia Stratos) traded places with David Halford on his debut with the Group B Audi Quattro. Halford eventually finished fifth overall and third of the four-wheel drive runners, ahead of Cross and the recovering Bowes, who almost overtook the Stratos right at the end of the race. Lynch finished eighth on his first outing in the Retro Rallycross category.

“We had a few electrical issues early in the day, but we found the cause and got back up and running,” said winner Harris. “I’m always smiling when I’m in this car, it’s just fantastic to drive, and so much fun. The final went really well and I’m delighted to win. We’re going to try and do all four rounds of the Retro four-wheel drive category, and we’ll definitely be at Lydden on Easter Monday.”

MG Metro 6R4 driver Rob Gibson retired at the semi-final stages, while Paul Easterbrook’s best ever Retro Rallycross event came to a sad end when he lost a wheel from his Toyota MR2 after the circuit’s jump in the semi-finals, while Ford Fiesta driver Mark Finch was forced out with technical troubles. Jason Bowes (Volkswagen Golf) and Simon Hart (Ford Escort) were also victims of issues in qualifying and didn’t make it to the semi-finals.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the size and quality of the entry throughout all of the Retro Rallycross classes this weekend,” said Retro Rallycross Championship promotor, Shirley Gibson. “There were some unfortunate technical problems for some, but spirits were very high for the season opener and the first opportunity for our title sponsors obp Motorsport to meet and spend time with our drivers. It was a great win for Steve Harris in a final that saw cars from all three divisions fighting for position. Retro Rallycross is so exciting, the mix of cars makes for interesting and diverse racing. As we move on to Lydden Hill for round two on Easter Monday we are hopeful of another great turnout.”

2019 Retro Rallycross Championship: Round One, Final Result: 
1 Steve Harris Ford RS200 (Retro 4WD)
2 Derrick Jobb Ford Escort (Retro 4WD)
3 Steve Cozens Citroen AX (Retro)
4 Gary Simpson BMW E30 (Super Retro)
5 David Halford Audi Quattro (Retro 4WD)
6 John Cross Lancia Stratos (Super Retro)
7 Stewart Bowes Mini Clubman (Retro)
8 Tony Lynch Toyota MR2 (Retro)

After the event we caught up with the team and had a nice after event interview on the day’s proceedings. (click link below)

 

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Round 2 is being held at Lydden Hill race circuit on 22nd April, we look forward to the event as such an iconic British Rallycross circuit.

 

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Dominic Flitney wins Swift Rallycross Championship Round 1

The weekend saw the start of the Swift Rallycross Championship 2019 which is one of the supporting series of the British Rallycross, round 1 was held at Silverstone Circuit. We couldn’t of asked for better weather for racing with a clear sky and amazing sunshine. Our sponsored driver Dominic Flitney had solid practice sessions and dialled the car in perfectly for the circuit.

 

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There was a 10 car grid run in each heat with Dominic Starting at the back in heat 1. Through the heats Dominic improved from finishing 5th in heat in 1 to finishing 1st in heat 3, this continued through the day getting him into the finals.

 

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In the finals Dominic pushed the car to its limits, rubbing the barriers, being within milometers of compeitors and overtaking in places we didn’t think this was possible. This was all rewarded with a 1st place finish.

 

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Flitspeed 247 (Dom) taking home 1st place and leading the championship

Heat 1
Flitspeed driver 247 came 5th

Heat 2
Flitspeed driver 247 came 2nd

Heat 3
Flitspeed driver 274 came 1st

Semi finals
Flitspeed driver 274 came 2nd

Finals
Flitspeed driver 247 came 1st

 

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obp Motorsport become Title Sponsor of Retro Rallycross

obp Motorsport are happy to announce becoming the title sponsors of the burgeoning Retro Rallycross Championship. obp Motorsport is one of Europe’s market leaders in Design, Development and Manufacture of High Performance Motorsport components and will join Retro RX in a partnership across all points-scoring rounds this year.

 

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On the back of the series’ most successful season in 2018, where Retro RX visited some of the most historic rallycross venues in the world, along with the newest circuits on the FIA World Rallycross Championship calendar to show off an incredibly eclectic mix of period machinery, the best is yet to come as a number of unique cars and new drivers are set to join the fold from the first round at Silverstone later this month.

 

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“obp Motorsport are extremely excited to join forces with Retro Rallycross Championship for 2019. As a business and personally we have a great interest in the sport and these iconic cars being put through their paces once again. obp Motorsport and our sister company obp Special Operations are looking forward to being on hand to all competitors to cater for all their fabrication and high performance component needs,” said James Oliver, Head of Motorsport for obp Motorsport
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Within a diverse history, obp Motorsport has worked with most of the World’s leading Motorsport teams, drivers and manufacturers.

“This venture is very exciting for everyone at Retro Rallycross and comes at a time when growth and development is bringing even more eclectic cars to the series. obp Motorsport is the perfect fit, their products and services will really benefit our competitors,” said Retro Rallycross Championship Promotor, Shirley Gibson.“There’s nothing that compares to Retro Rallycross when it comes to cars going back as far as the sport’s inception, up to and including the magnificent Group B era. We’re so pleased to sign a title partner that is as enthusiastic about seeing period cars back out on track as we are. I’m confident that together we will share pride and the excitement in seeing more cars being added to the obp Motorsport Retro Rallycross Championship during the season.”

 

British Rallycross Championship 2018 round 9 Silverstone

Race Retro 2019

obp Motorsport had the pleasure of attending Race Retro this year with a stand with obp distributers, Rallynuts, who also had their Subaru Impreza Rally car taking part in the rally stage. On the obp stand we had a wide variety of pedal boxes, handbrakes and custom aluminium tanks for a variety of applications.

 

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Race Retro is a show that celebrates the very best of international historic motorsport, showcasing everything from circuit racing, rallying to GT and more. The show takes place at the iconic Stoneleigh Park, with part of the grounds getting turned into a Rally stage for everything from Mini’s to Audi Quattro Group B rally cars. With the cars comes some of the stars who drove the vehicles in some of the most iconic races around the world.

 

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The show was very successful for us with it being busy from the start of Friday all the way up to close on Sunday evening with a lot of interest in our products for bespoke uses. We also had an amazing time walking round the show looking at historic race cars we would normally wouldn’t see and talking to a massively diverse crowd, with everything from go-kart racers upto ex-Le-mans drivers.

 

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We sent our in-house media around the show to grab some content for all of you who couldn’t attend to see as there was so many amazing machines for the golden era of racing.

 

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Official British Drift Championship Sponsors 2019

The British Drift Championship, is set to make a dramatic return April 2019 with a new owner, new team and new venues. With all this excitement we could not help but get involved and have become one of the main championship sponsors.
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Here at obp Motorsport we have been supporting a variety of motorsports for over 10 years; this includes the world of drifting with us supporting drivers such as Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni, Luke Woodham and many others. The BDC has been going for over 10 years, it has a rich history of drivers, teams and events spanning over the whole of the UK. Drivers from all around the globe have come to battle against the best the UK has to offer with the likes of former Champion Matt Carter.

 

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“We are extremely excited to be working alongside the British Drift Championship for 2019! Since the start of obp Motorsport we have been heavily involved with many famous drifters including Baggsy, Both Shanahan Brothers, Nigel Colfer and many more world wide. For 2019 we have decided to go back to our roots and support the highest level of the sport in the UK. Roll on Round 1!” – James Oliver the Group Sales and Marketing Manager at obp Motorsport.

 

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This year the BDC will consist of 6 rounds, with round 1 at Teesside Autodrome where the BDC has been for over 10 year. Round 2 will see us go to Scotland with a return to Driftland, Europe’s only designated drift circuit. Round 3 takes us to a secret location in Sunderland and Round 4 seeing it return to the NEC for only the 2nd time in its history. Round 5 takes us back to Wigan and the 3 Sisters race circuit with the 6th and final round taking us to Buxton Raceway for a 3 day spectacular.

 

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“obp Motorsport are another great company to have on board, I’ve known James a few years now, he knows how good the drifting market is so was keen to get involved this year. They provide a brilliant service to everyone whether its a new customer wanting advice or a established trade customer. I’d highly recommend looking at their product range if you haven’t already!” – Matt Stevenson the Director of BDC.

 

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Both individual round and full season tickets will be available soon, so make sure you check out www.thebritishdriftchampionship.co.uk, but if you are unable to attend any events don’t worry as there is going to be a livestream. The fans wanted livestream so it will be provided, for 2019 we are using a new company with new features; more camera angles and drone footage are just a few new things to expect.

 

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www.obpgroup.co.uk

T: +44 (0) 1487 812 301

E: info@obpgroup.co.uk

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Photos Courtesy of The British Drift Championship / Beasy Media & Smoking Images