NJanuary 7th saw Round 2 of the MicksGarage.com Irish Amateur Drift Championship step away from Mondello Park for the first time in its 3 year history in an attempt to both switch things up and to take drivers out of their comfort zone. Fast becoming the home of drifting in the South of Ireland, Kartworld in Watergrasshill, Co. Cork would be the destination, which houses a tight and technical track, that has the ability to be one of the fastest tracks on the calendar when drivers utilise the perfect line set down by the judges.
With 20 Irish Drift Championship Pro-Am licences up for grabs come the end of the season, championship points were almost as valuable as Bitcoin heading into the event, with each driver attempting to do his or her all to gain every single point they could, to edge towards one of the coveted top 20 places.
From the offset it was obvious that the Northern Invasion was ready to do battle, with a strong contingent of drivers making the long drive down South. With the distance however, would come unfamiliarity, as some drivers would have never shredded a tire on the track before.
Regardless of familiarity though, the gauntlet was set down for each of our 70+ drivers, with 9 clipping points laid out by IDC head judge Kieran Hynes and with Kevin O’Connell, Tomás Falvey and Peden Nielsen judging each hopeful over the course of the day.
With qualifying underway, the scores started to flow in and the Top 32 cut-off score began to rise very quickly indeed. Notably from the qualifying session, both Round 1 winner Martin Greene and 3rd place finisher Tommy O’Neill would unfortunately not make the grade and would be sent packing, with no championship points to show for their Round 2 efforts.
Young gun Dylan Garvey, who finished up in 4th place at Round 2, would be the one set the pace early on with a score of 91.08 on his first run and this score would see Dylan top qualifying, being the only driver to score a 90+ run on the day. All would not run so smooth on his second run however, as he pulled up short with mechanical issues, leaving his team a nervous paddock repair to get him back on track for the battles.
As we moved past qualifying, our packed paddock of over 70 drivers would become just 32 as we moved on to the battles portion of the event. Right from the off, our Top 32 would throw up some David and Goliath battles, as Conor Finn would take on the mighty S15 Silvia of Don Cochrane and Conor McKeever (in his older brother’s ex-IDC championship winning 180sx) would take on John Tobin, in the only AE86 on the grid.
In a set of epic battles though, Galway native Finn, would take down Cochrane, while Tobin would use his home field advantage, knowledge of Watergrasshill and his aggressive style to end McKeever’s day at the Top 32 stage.
Also pushing his way through the competition was Jack Shiel in his mighty compact E36. At one point it would look like Jack’s day was coming to a close with power steering failure and a broken driveshaft, but after generously receiving a driveshaft from another competitor, he would battle all the way on to the Top 8 stage, finishing in 6th position overall, which would leave him standing in 3rd position in the championship heading into Round 3.
One man quietly make his way through the competition was 19 year-old Donegal driver Darragh Spencer. Branded as the “Refresher” due to it’s similarities to the sugary favourite, Darragh’s pride and joy – his 180bhp BMW E46 – wouldn’t let him down at all and would use each and every one of its horsepower to propel him to the 3rd and final podium step on the day, as he would defeat an on-form, but this time just too aggressive Graham Holden in the 3rd and 4th place battle.
Consistency however would prove to be key, as one of the most consistent drivers of the whole championship, Dylan Garvey would take his first step on the top step of the podium, narrowly overcoming Andy Keys in a thrilling final battle. Gaining 50 points for the event win, Dylan would finish the event standing a cool 19 points ahead of the pack with just 2 rounds left to go.
Speaking of the remaining 2 events, remember that we’re back in Kartworld this Sunday, February 4th for Round 3 of the MicksGarage.com Irish Amateur Drift Championship. This time however, drivers will have to contend with not only each other, but an all-new track layout, which will be waiting to throw off the home town heroes and open up the race for Pro Am licences and championship glory even further.
At just €10 entry on the gate for the opportunity to see over 70 cars and 9 hours of incredible motorsport action, trust us when we say you cannot afford to miss this one. We’ll see you in Kartworld!