I’ve been to many drift events over the years, but never to Ireland. Irish Drift Championship was on my map for a while: Paddy from Speedhunters mentioned few years back that Japfest is the event to be at, as well as Emilija just forced me to go to Ireland with her :D
Above all that, organisers prepared something special: two days, three huge events. Irish Drift Championship on Saturday. Drift Masters European Championship on Sunday and Japfest with around 800 cars attending.
And above all that, Duane McKeever won all the rounds of IDC and BDC this year and wasn’t planning to stop. He would participate in both championships during the weekend and face the strongest competitors ever: James Deane, Piotr Wiecek, Forrest Wang, Deane Kearney, Darren McNamara – and those are just guest drivers, who brought their own drift builds, not mentioning the local talents, like the Shanahan brothers.
And above all the things I mentioned, nobody ever beat the Irish at Drifting on their home turf for 15 (!) years.
At first track layout at Mondello Park didn’t impress me, it looked too easy, but boy I was wrong.
If even the undefeated McKeever is going off track, than there must be a catch. And there was.. not a Catch-22, but still an impressive one. Initiation to the first turn goes downhill, so it’s much harder to calculate the “furidashi” point. Add unpredictable rainy Irish weather and you have a rollercoaster!
While the qualification was underway, I was just learning the cars of the IDC. I loved how most of them look “grassroots”, but on a very professional level. Irish drift builds are so inspired by Japan, from liveries to the models themselves.
This is Mitch Larner, he travels from Australia to every IDC round and is 2nd in the championship.
Style game is on top! See-through doors!
Top 32 was underway and experienced drivers were indeed moving forward in the tournament. Both Jack and Connor Shanahan came on top in their battles.
M. Larner, only one who mathematically could still win the title also does a good job, but championship leader D. McKeever doesn’t make it easy – also moves to Top 16.
First outside zone was still catching out plenty of drivers
Underdog was the Skyline driver – Matt Carter. He was quietly going up the ranks
After Duane dealt with Niger Colfer and James with the older Shanahan brother Jack – tension was through the roof!
On the other side of the bracket it was a local sensation Paul McCarthy in his garage-built BMW
Only when he staged against Piotr Wiecek, the most recent Formula D winner, his dominance would end.. but that’s only Saturday, wait till you hear about Sunday!
Forrest Wang would lose against Mitch Larner. How did that happen, Australian battling against a Hawaiian in Ireland? As Dave Egan said, it’s fantasy football territory.
Conor Shanahan would make history, beating Duane McKeever.
Underdog from team Japspeed came on top from the battle with “Mister Driftmaster” himself
So, the final. 15 years Irish are undefeated and it’s all in hands of James Deane against the UK driver. Long story short – Deane was victorious and anybody still wanted to beat the Irish this year, they would have only the Sunday to do it.