In ancient Rome, Chariot racing quickly became one of the most popular sports with some stadiums boasting a staggering capacity of up to 350,000 just to satisfy demand. Rival teams, or ‘factions’ as they were known, took part in these races and they were easily identified by the team colours they wore. Chariots were designed to be as light and as fast as possible with the pulling power of either two or four horses up front. Training for many began at a young age and some star charioteers were in their early teens. Celebrities to the working class, audacious and highly skilled and beloved by the masses, it’s fair to say chariot racers and drifters are more closely linked that one might think.
While amphitheatres the likes of Colosseum or the Circus Maximus are but a mere dream for drifters and fans alike, one championship strives to create fan-focused events where the sole aim is to have all the action right in front of the audience.
In June of 2015, the Irish Drift Championship went under the lights of the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet Co. Cork in what could only be described as an impossible task. Months of preparation and solution after solution to obstacle after obstacle led to what will forever be remembered as one of the most exciting and most spectacular drift events ever held on these shores. Fast forward two years and a championship based in a small country with just one racing circuit was running out of options to keep things fresh and exciting.
Enter Dun Laoghaire.
Drifting is fast becoming one of the most popular motorsports in the world. Its fast paced, action filled format where all the action unfolds right before the viewer’s eyes is the perfect fix for the PlayStation generation who have a world of entertainment at their fingertips. However, despite the growing popularity, the sport has a negative reputation which has been difficult to shake. So, when the venues for the 2017 campaign were announced, few could fathom how Irish drifting would make its way to the docks of Dun Laoghaire pier.
Located on the east coast of Ireland, just a 20-minute drive from Dublin city, Dun Laoghaire is one of the most picturesque towns in Ireland boasting some of the highest property prices in the country and a clientele more synonymous with sailing, fine wines and beef wellingtons than tyre burning fuel injected vehicles of warfare. It will come as no surprise to you then, that these locals will object to the idea of almost any event being held in their hometown.
Nevertheless, on a sunny weekend in May 2017, the circus rolled into town and began preparations for another spectacle of drifting. A custom-built circuit, the best drivers from all across the nation, two grandstands, a country at war and the Irish Sea as a most fitting backdrop. What more could you ask for? Some insane twin battles, crashes, shock defeats and a final that will live in our memories for years to come? Okay then, you got it!
On the 26th & 27th of May 2018, the Link Engine Management Irish Drift Championship will, for the second and final time take centre stage in the disused ferry port of Dun Laoghaire Harbour. With Increased capacity and two sold-out grandstands guaranteeing an atmosphere befitting this unique location. A tight, technical layout and an unusual red-brick driving surface removes the horsepower advantage and will undoubtedly produce some shock results.
Jack Shanahan has featured prominently in these one-off events, pushing James Deane to a one more time in Millstreet and edging a hard-fought final with Chris Brady in Dun Laoghaire last year. The 2017 IDC Champion will need to be at his best if he has hopes going two for two in Dun Laoghaire and getting his 2018 campaign back on track. He currently trails McKeever by 21 points but a strong performance should put him right back in contention for the championship race and back where he belongs.
McKeever on the other hand, undefeated in 2018, will strive to keep his run of success going. In the back of his mind, however, will be the shock defeat at the hands of good friend Chris Burnett last time out in Dun Laoghaire just 12 months previous.
Could these two gladiators of Irish drifting, now both running Tri-Ace tyres, meet in the final when the Link Engine Management Irish Drift Championship hits the docks of Dun Laoghaire for the final time? Only time will time but one thing is for certain and that is you won’t to miss a moment of the action!
Want to smell the race fuel burn past your nose? Feel the rumble of that ear-piercing V8 only feet away from you as it rips through Dun Laoghaire? All you have you have to do is purchase your tickets here.