Tipperary Raceway in Rosegreen played home to the first of five rounds of Ireland’s first Drifting Championship league event. Our five strong team of competitors from the North (Alan McBride/Mark Luney in M5s and Stevie Mackey/Dave/myself in GSi Carltons) meant we were geared up for a good days craic not to mention extreme sidewards action.
Robert and I travelled down on the Saturday night in the Carlton and stayed over at a local B&B (along with Max, Murph, Alan and the rest) before heading to the venue early on Sunday morning. After giving the Carlton a quick jetwash in Clonmel the heavens opened and we wondered why we even bothered. This meant a stinking morning in the muddy carpark behind the track.
We met up with Mark (Buff), Mackey and Dave down at the track and queued up to get out on our practice run. As I queued up I really was worried that I was going to make a prat out of myself as the crowd looked on. Once out adrenaline took over and I was 100% concentrated on the job in hand. The track was so slippy. The carlton one wheeled and understeered at the first corner and I manically jabbed the handbrake and banged down the power in the hope it would set the tail out. It was a similar story throughout the rest of the track, though I did at least manage to get sideways now and again, and didn’t spin either. Not too bad for my first run – not a winning demonstration but I was pretty happy with it given the circumstances.
I then watched with awe as the mk 1 starlet danced with ease around the track; likewise the yellow mk2 escort mexico which was really in its element in the wet. The conditions had a knock on effect for all the competitors – everyone had to take it easy or spin off (which was usually the case!)
Once we all had completed our practice and two qualifying runs the top 16 were selected to compete in twos against each other. The rain had started to give and the track started to dry, which meant faster and more stylish laps from everyone. I didn’t make the top 16, but Buff, Mackey, Dave and Alan did so everyone was very pleased, and the excitement was really building.
Alan demonstrated perfect car control as he steered his black M5 consistently and neatly with perfect hangs and drifts throughout the track, but unfortunately lost out to a 200sx in the quarter finals. Dave put on another tidy performance but again didn’t make it though. Mackey and Buff were on fire with all round epic performances. One of the most notable was Ian Coyne in the White M3 vs Buff in the M5. This really was an on track battle with both cars being used right to the limit. At this stage the competitors were side by side – how they didn’t nudge each other is beyond me.
An unexpected twist was Buff going up against Mackey. Mark just clinched it but in the process blew off a rear tyre and the M5 broke a radiator hose. In good sportsmanship Mackey lent the Carlton to Buff so he could compete in the final against the matt black RX-7. In another tight battle Mackey cringed as Buff threw the carlton into every corner inches from the Mazda. It paid off in the end, after a battle of two very talented drivers Mark came through and won.
Congratulations to all who took part. An amazing day and we’ll definitely be at the next round. I’d also like to thank the D1GP organisers for giving us track access for photos and help through the day.
</strong></u><strong>1st – Mark Luney (M5 BMW) (10 points)
2nd – Darren McNamara Mazda rx7) (6 points)
3rd – John Power (nissan s13) (5 points)
4th – Steven Mackey (vauxhall carlton) (4 points)</strong>
<ul><li>Mark Luney </li><li>Darren McNamara </li><li>John Power </li><li>Steven Mackey </li><li>Alan McBride </li><li>Ian Coyne </li><li>Damien O’Shea </li><li>Richie Sherlock
(Knocked out in final eight get 3 league
pat mcdonagh, julien smith, thomas mcdonagh, david mc neill, walton smith, declan thornhill, lyod duggan, buttsy, mark luney, darren mcnamara, john power, steven mackey, alan mcbride, ian coyne,damien o shea, richie sherlock, (knocked out in final 16 get 2 points)