The much anticipated fifth and final round of the Irish D1 Drift Series was to be held at the superb Kartworld track in Watergrasshill. With championship leader Damien Mulvey only four points ahead of NI competitor Mark Luney the title was still up for grabs.
I was down on the Saturday for the qualifying, and with over 50 competitors and only 13 qualifying spaces the pressure was on. Thankfully I redeemed myself from my poor drive at the last event in Tipperary, and ended up fourth place in points and a place in the Sunday event.
During the afternoon practice session Damien Mulvey stripped 3rd gear in his 180sx, and we headed to his garage near Mallow to help swap in another box along with Mark Luney – good sportsmanship indeed. By midnight Damien’s car was ready for action again.
The Sunday event was just as sunny (and dusty) as the previous day’s qualifying – the Kartworld car park surface still unfinished, my skyline looked as if it had been driven through the Sahara.
Out on track and everyone was driving to a staggering standard with the likes of Buff and Frenchy giving it 3rd gear for huge slews up the straight and lots of tyre smoke. Once everyone had finished their runs they could see the results on a computer screen at the main building, which also constantly showed the top 16 drivers as they competed. Again I surprised myself and got through to the top 16 and got out for some fun and donuts in the showboat lap. Thanks to Mike Deane for sorting me out with tyres after I simply ran out!
I didn’t make it past the top 16 in my tsuiso run against Mike Murphy but it was a privilege just to get that far in the competition. It did mean I got to watch what were the drift battles of the year. Mark Luney and Ian Coyne going run after run, nudge after nudge – both close knit and hard to judge apart really added to the excitement of the event. Jonny Power and Damien Mulvey in the battle of the 180sxes was also a sight to behold.
Once Mulvey had made it through to the top 4, Mark Luney’s chances of winning the championship had gone – but it didn’t stop him taking a determined first place, Mulvey in second. In third was crazy Wexford man Martin French, who had a similar gearbox problem to Mulvey. Luckily he was able to borrow another 180sx to beat Darren McNamara, who took fourth.
This marks the end of the 2005 D1 Championships, with Damien Mulvey taking the top spot for a second year running. If this season was anything to go by, next year will most definitely be nuts.