You may have noticed by now that Ireland features heavily in my blog, this is for a number of reasons:
Location - I'm from North West Wales, really really far away from anything of any importance, except for Ireland!
The Drivers - I've talked before about how the driving standards in Ireland at competition level are out of this world, with it being so close it seems it would be a shame to miss any opportunity to get to see these guys in action.
Mondello Park – Has become legendary in terms of drifting heritage in the UK and Ireland, and at just 50 minutes from Dublin, it’s seriously accessible.
Irish ‘grit’ - The ability of the Irish to make the best of any situation, make the most of every opportunity. Make a spectacle from an empty shed, make extravagant locations from disused car parks and loading bays. Because of the lack of tracks, David Evan and the IDC team have brought to reality what can be achieved if you are able to use your mind's eye in conjunction with some savage project management.
With this in mind the first of my trips to Ireland recently was to witness Round 2 of the Irish Drift Championships: 'Drift On The Docks'.
It was to be hosted in the disused port of Dun Laoghaire. It was strange. As I pulled up to the once-busy port, I instantly recognised the buildings and the unmistakable 'metro' tramline that I had travelled on whilst visiting as a child.
Upon arrival we were greeted by a wall of temporary fencing, draped in IDC branding.
As you walk towards the event you could hear early 2000’s punk/rock music in the distance, which is always a good sign in my book. Once you reach the event entrance gate you then pass through a tunnelled area under a grandstand. I’m not sure if this was by accident or design but as a spectator it really built up the atmosphere, you could hear but literally couldn’t see anything, until you came up through the floorboards of the grandstand.
At the top of the stairs was an amphitheatre. The presentation of this track was great with banners, food courts and 2 fantastic looking grandstands. As a driver I’m instantly drawn into the track layout. Luckily being an IDC Pro-Am and BDC Pro-Am licenced driver I see the Drivers Packs, which for the purpose of this blog means I can give you guys a great insight into the minds of not only the drivers but the designers of the course.
On paper this figure of 8 style track looked relatively simple, but rest assured I can guarantee it was nothing short of a challenge.
The brickwork provided a different surface to what drivers would be used to, the undulations in the loading area of the dock which this track was lay out on were huge compared to what you would normally find on a traditional racing circuit, and the layout was tight and what I would call ‘boxy’. When you have 3 clips all contained within walls it creates a 3-sided box, the middle clip of this box will always be a challenge.
This type of arrangement means your radius has to be perfect to maintain a line that will enable you to stay deep into all 3 clipping points, and on a tight track like this it was going to require some excellent driving technique.
Another thing that the light coloured brickwork highlighted over the weekend was coverage, the rubber lay down over the weekend created a perfect picture of initiation, full throttle, and transition and, more importantly, highlighted the clips that people had been struggling to reach.
This gave something extra to the weekend for people who like to really get to know the ins and out of drifting. It made me think one day we will have on screen throttle telemetry like you see in Formula 1, it could make some interesting viewing.
As the weekend progressed, there was so much happening it’s a struggle to get it into words the action and impact that the weekend's events included, so for this issue I’m going to choose 5 topics I felt rose to the top! Topics that didn’t make the cut included ‘where’s Colfer?’ , ‘the McKeever bump’, and ‘ business as usual in the tower’.
1: The Galvinator
Anthony Galvin, what can I say about this chap…? If I’m honest before 2017 I only remember the name of the Galvin Brothers mentioned the odd time as being part of the Irish Drift Community, the fact is they are much more than that. Anthony won IDC Pro-Am in 2015, but over the last 12 months had not featured a whole lot as far as I can remember.
How that has changed in 2017: from the first turn of the wheel this season he has looked in form. I published in my last blog that I felt that he was one to watch, and this weekend again discussing with Ian Waddington the BDC and IDC commentator prior the event I felt like he was one driver to watch for this weekend.
Throughout practice he was deep into all of the most difficult clips, I felt that he really made a mark on this event, not only that but the guy’s presentation and attitude makes for a great addition to the household personalities on the IDC roster.
He was unfortunate to go out after an accident in the top 8 against Jack Shanahan, in his own words he was ‘giving 110%’ and it showed.
2: The Weather
As much as this event was a spectacle, the weather played its part in taking the edge away from the raw excitement of the weekend.
In drifting the weather has a dramatic effect, unlike most forms of motorsport drivers are not on the same section of tarmac at the same time. This can bring up some really difficult challenges; not only for the drivers in terms of car setup and driving style, but judging over a period of intermittent weather.
The IDC is becoming a compact retailable show, the weather is one thing that the organisers cannot control, and it will be interesting to see how this is managed as the sport's popularity increases.
3:Location Location Location
Anywhere is a drift circuit!
With the kind of performance that was put on this weekend I felt that if we as a motorsport can transport this to areas of increased population, bring it to Dublin, London, the cities instead of trying to pull people to the edges and outbacks of our various countries. Drifting is of a level where we can bring the show to them.
In a culture of Electric cars and Boris Bikes, it has been proven this weekend bringing motorsport to the masses can be done in a way which requires less than 100 meters squared and can be erected and taken down in 5 days. This could be one a historic step in the continued climb of drifting into the public domain.
4: Jack Shanahan - The Class Act.
I feel that at the moment, the only thing that can beat Jack is his own car. If they keep the reliability of his 2JZ S14 in check this season, there is not much that can catch him.
This weekend he really showed that he is capable of anything. After a difficult qualifying session, he found himself in the sudden death bracket of the Pro Class, having to fight for a place in the Top 16.
I’ve watched Jack drift more than any other driver over the last few seasons, and for me this was his best drive.
On an unknown circuit in tricky conditions he went against every style of driver, in a range of cars. From the David Hobbs in the Classic style AE86 which has under 200hp and gets clutch kicked around the track to Championship contenders he fought them all using every technique in the drifting book. If you missed his battles on the way to the program and you want a master-class in modern day drifting - watch the Live Stream back, you will not be disappointed.
5: The IDC Crew
Over the years, the guys and girls behind the IDC have honed their skills as a team and it shows. No matter what surprises each event throws up, they seem to get through it. I’ve seen them have to contend with absolutely extraordinary levels of rain, judging towers failing, electrical gremlins, crazy venues and more recently live streams being overloaded with viewers. For this as a spectator in person, on live stream, or driving at one of their events I’d like to thank them all!
‘Drift on the Docks’ was definitely a round for the history books. As far as Irish Drifting goes…. I still think we are in the first chapter.
Take it easy
- FJ photography
- Keith Scott from Xpics.co
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