As Ireland’s winter finally sets in, temperatures may be dipping into the minus, but track action definitely heated things up with the first round of the 2017/18 MicksGarage.com Irish Amateur Drift Championship (IADC) taking place last weekend in the home of Irish drifting, Mondello Park.
Back for its 3rd season, the MicksGarage.com IADC is a proving ground for any driver looking to make his/her first steps into competitive action. Everyone from trackday veterans to first time drifters still too young to drive themselves to events are represented in the paddock and if nothing else, this certainly shows that the future is strong for Irish drifting.
Such is the success of the IADC that previous alumni of the series Mark McBurney, Conor Shanahan and Alan Hynes have progressed into the Irish Drift Championship Pro Class, with McBurney doing it in only 1 season!
This season showcases new faces but with similar machinery. Looking around the paddock, you have numerous reincarnations of previous Pro, Pro-Am and even IADC cars passed on to the new generation ready to take their first step in competitive action.
And while you do have cars pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, power isn’t key in the IADC, with wet wintery conditions to be expected at almost every turn. You will have 600+ bhp 2JZ s-chassis’ sharing the start line with budget built BMWs.
As we got down to the action at Round 1 with qualifying getting under way, it was obvious from the offset that consistency was going to be key. What could be considered by some to be one of the easier tracks of the season, actually featured changing track surfaces, evolving wet and dry patches, dips and bumps disguised throughout the Mondello paddock and the line pre-set by the judges was done so to test and separate the grid.
Initiating into a long left sweeper followed by an off camber drop, which then transitioned into a teardrop and powering down to the line. Many of the drivers would execute the course perfectly right until the last moment, spinning across the line forcing the judges hand to score zeroes across the board. After travelling over 3,000km from Norway with his 2JZ powered PS13, Jonas Lunde would fall victim to this and unfortunately his day would end there.
After 138 qualifying runs, it would be Graham Holden taking top spot with an epic 91.67 on the board, and he was one of two drivers to join the 90 points club with Benny Treanor bringing home a 90.08 in 2nd position.
After whittling down from 69 to 32, it was time to let the battles commence.
As the winter sun began to set over the horizon and plenty of battles left to run, there was only one solution – Let there be light! Bringing in lights to allow for some night-time competitive action was a first for the IADC and the darkness really spiced up the action for both the drivers and spectators alike.
As the brackets moved from 32 to 16 to 8, the top 3 qualifiers had exited stage left and headed for “an early bath” as eloquently put by our commentators, Mike Fitz and Neil Dunne. Before the event was even finished, this had already opened up the points race in the championship. You might think it early days to think about championship titles, but points on the board as this stage will really play into a drivers hands come the Final Fight on the return to Mondello Park in March.
In the Final 4, we saw Dylan Garvey take on Barry Rogers, while Martin Greene would battle good friend Tommy O’Neill. In a twist of bad faith, young Team Dealtwidth driver Dylan Garvey thought he had surely done enough to seal his place in the final, only for a mechanical issue on the very last turn of his battle, which caused him to pull up just before the finish line. This, in turn, would see Dylan handing 3rd position on the podium to Tommy O’Neill as neither Dylan or his crew would be able to fix the issue in time.
With the 3rd and 4th positions already decided in unfortunate circumstances, it was time to move on to our first final of the 2017/18 IADC season, which would see the 350bhp 1JZ-powered Nissan S15 of Martin Greene going head-to-head with the little 170bhp BMW E46 of Barry Rogers. Would it be the newly-licensed Rogers or would Greene’s experience of IADC shine through?
After a hard fought battle and a split decision, but a decision nonetheless from the judging tower, Greene would stand atop the podium and receive his first taste of the IADC champagne as he now commands a lead in the IADC Championship standings.
In a first for the IADC, for Round 2 we hit the road and head for Kartworld, Watergrasshill, Cork where drivers will be greeted with a tight and technical track, once again favouring the underdog and as always, it promises to create door on door action. Tickets will only be available at the gate on the day, so make sure to get down and see what’s in store for Ireland’s future stars.