Round 3 of the 2017/18 MicksGarage.com IADC saw competitors return to Kartworld, Watergrasshill, Co.Cork for the second time this season, in what turned out to be one of the most action packed and drama filled days that Irish amateur competitive drifting has produced to date.
Always expect the unexpected is a saying thrown around by road safety groups but when it comes drifting, nothing would be more fitting to describe the day last Sunday produced.
From dramatic start line fires (which were of course dealt with instantly by our amazing track team) to Conor McKeever and Dan O’Dea Sheehan’s front tubing of their cars being interlocked after an on track incident, the day would throw up plenty of things we certainly hadn’t expected to see at the outset of the day.
Such is the level of competition in the MicksGarage.com Irish Amateur Drift Championship and the hunger for one of the precious 20 Irish Drift Championship Pro-Am licences up for grabs with only 1 round to go, it’s now time for drivers to step up and show that they can stand up to the competition they may face come April 21st in Mondello Park for IDC Round 1.
Running the same layout as Round 2 only 4 weeks ago meant drivers found their comfort zone early on, allowing them to push their limits. Although with this familiarity meant the judges set out a strict criteria and would punish any minor mistakes in order to separate the grid of 70+ drivers.
It was 14 year old Harry Kerr that made his name known during qualifying as he stomped into 3rd place with a 87.83 point run on the board. Round 1 winner Martin Greene was looking to right his Watergrasshill wrongs after not qualifying for Round 2 and that he did, by securing 2nd place with a solid 88.42, all while behind the wheel of the borrowed car of Alan Delaney.
Come the end of the session, it was the silent but deadly Chris Sharkey that would come out on top, joining an exclusive club of just a handful of drivers to take home a 90+ point run this season, as he wowed judges and spectators alike with his pin-point accuracy, giving him a 90.25 point run for his efforts.
As we progressed into the battle stages, we saw a number of battles that would split the judges down the middle and head for One More Time decisions. We also saw, for the first time ever, a triple split decision where each of our judges – IDC founder Dave Egan, Keep Drifting Serious’ Peden Nielsen and Drift Games driver Tomas Falvey – were locked in heated debate, yet still they could not separate the drivers.
Moving through the competition and into the Top 4, Dealtwidth driver Dylan Garvey, who had already had a testing weekend, fraught with engine issues that almost ended his competition on Saturday, battled hard through the day only to be stopped at the Top 4 stage. All is not lost for Garvey though as he still powers ahead in the championship standings and remains 22 points adrift from his nearest rival with just 1 round to go.
Conor McKeever stepped out of his brother, 2016 IDC Pro Champion, Duane McKeever’s shadow in Watergrasshill, all while stopping current championship leader Dylan Garvey on a charge for back to back victories, as Conor took the 3rd place trophy back to Northern Ireland.
Andy Keys continued his excellent Watergrasshill form and came away with 2nd place on the podium for the second event in a row after one of the closest battles of the entire weekend in the final with Graham Holden. Keys now stands in 3rd place overall in the Irish Amateur Drift Championship standings and looks set to gain an IDC Pro-Am licence.
Waterford’s Graham Holden is one of the fastest and most aggressive drivers of the entire IADC grid and dominated his way through the field to take the win, as he now moves into second place in the championship. Although 22 points behind points leader Dylan Garvey, if Golden can continue his form to Round 4 in Mondello Park, he can make a last minute charge for championship glory.
As Round 3 draws to a close, it’s safe to say Kartworld has firmly established itself as part of the MicksGarage.com Irish Amateur Drift Championship. Its tight and technical layout creates the perfect playground for Ireland’s newest drift superstars and has created some of the most memorable moments in the history of the IADC.
With just 1 round to go in the 2018 season, the competition for one of the IDC Pro-Am licences is wide open in the middle of the championship standings with plenty of drivers all sitting within 10 points of each other. We might not know yet who will be heading to the Pro-Am class, but what we do know is that Round 4 in Mondello Park on Saturday the 3rd of March will most definitely come down to the wire and push drivers harder than ever before.
The championship race is on!