Today, after what was definitely one of the shortest off-seasons in drift history, Ireland’s 2017 competitive drift season kicked off with Round 1 of the MicksGarage.com Irish Amateur Drift Championship in Mondello Park. Aptly-titled as “Proving Ground”, a total of 71 drivers took to the tarmac in an attempt to take home the first top podium finish – and more importantly, 50 points – of the season.
How important would those points be to drivers? Well, with 10 more IDC Semi Pro places on the line for the 2017 season announced, as well as the fact that our title sponsors MicksGarage would be offering up another amazing cash prize to the winner of the 2017 series – taking the total value of the prize to almost €4,500 – let’s just say each and every driver on the grid took things very seriously.
One thing the drivers hadn’t had the chance to get used to before today however, was how they would react to the introduction of the brand new scoring, rule book and format changes that have now been introduced for the 2017 IADC, IDC and BDC series. We won’t say too much about all of these changes just now, but just make sure you stay tuned to our website and social media channels for a full release coming soon.
Back to today’s action then, where qualifying saw many of our drivers tackling their first ever judged competitive runs in front of the Mondello Park grandstand. With 71 drivers vying for just 32 places, competition was fierce, but in the end it was existing IADC driver Kevin Kilgarriff that would pilot his diesel-powered E46 BMW to a score of 91.42 to take first position. Another BMW driver in Dean Martin then went on to take second with an 88.33, with newly-licensed driver Danny O’Callaghan taking third in qualifying just behind Dean on an 88 dead.
So with 71 whittled down to just 32, it was time for the very first battle action of the season to begin. Competition was incredibly fierce, but as we got down to the business end of the day, the 4 drivers remaining in the Top 4 would be Ronan Devlin, Ryan Morton, Shea Rogers and Darragh McElroy. At this point in time all 4 drivers had almost done enough to prove they were worthy of the top step, but as that simply couldn’t be the case it was time for one man to step up and prove himself.
The first of our top 4 battles – and arguably one of the closest of the day – saw Ronan Devlin take on Ryan Morton. After an insanely close battle which ended with a score of 31-29, Ronan Devlin would progress to the final, where he would face off against fellow Northern man Shea Rogers behind the wheel of his insane 1,000bhp Toyota Supra, with Shea proving too much for Darragh McElroy and gaining the last spot in the final.
Just before heading to the final, it was the turn of the third and fourth place play-off between Ryan and Darragh. Unfortunately for Ryan that elusive first podium finish would remain just out of reach, as Darragh McElroy put the power difference to good use and took the smallest of the 3 podium steps.
As the sun set in front of the Mondello Park grandstand for the last time in 2016, the two decisive runs were done, which quite uncharacteristically going on the rest of his performances today, saw Shea Rogers perform an illegal overtake on Ronan Devlin and effectively hand Devlin, a newcomer to the Irish Amateur Drift Championship, his first IADC victory in what was his first ever competitive event in Mondello Park.
Congratulations from all of us here at the IADC to Ronan and all our drivers here in Mondello Park today and also, thank you to not only our title sponsors MicksGarage, but also to all of you who came down today to support the future stars of Irish drifting at 2017’s opening round. Here’s to hoping we see you all back for Round 2 on January 15th.