The third round of the D1 Irish Drifting Championships was again held at Tipperary International Raceway in Rosegreen, Co. Tipperary. This time I was back with yet another car for the event, namely a 3.0 Senator 24v. The crew from the north consisted of myself, Richard (Fast Cav in another 24v Senator), Alan McBride in his E34 M5, Mark Luney in his recently acquired R32 Skyline and Dave McNeill in his rear wheel drive converted v6 Sierra. <p align=”justify”>As the weather forecast suggested the skies bucketed and we got soaked as we changed our tyres. Surprisingly, despite the hideous weather the stands were reasonably filled with spectators as we lined up to take our practice laps. We had our own private viewing area in the back of a curtain sided lorry which helped enormously to view the track and keep us dry! I could see the familiar faces of Damo from Opposite Lock, Buttsy, Junior and CoupeChick among other site members from the far end of the country before taking the Senny out for the first rip around the track. Or should I call it the ice rink. After being advised to take the first corner easily, I was round by my second lap. It was easy to break traction, but impossible to regain it! I wasn’t the only one to have their hands full with the conditions of the day, the rain made the track so greasy I don’t think there was one person who didn’t spin at least once. But it was all good fun.
<p align=”justify”>Once into the qualifying the pace picked up, and the Senator was doing (almost) exactly what I asked of it. Two large potholes near the hairpins didn’t help matters though, and Richard blew a tyre on one as he hit it sideways. We both made it into the top 16 of the day along with Alan and Mark (buff) and things really did begin to get exciting. Now in the knockout round I was up against Jonathon Murphy in his S14. I had seen him on the track earlier and knew I had my work cut out for me. Pushing my skills as far as possible I didn’t manage to hold it and spun on the second last turn. I knew it was over for me then! Tommy went on to come 4th at the end of the day. Richard was knocked out as well, but we’re both pretty pleased at getting to D1 licence status.
<p align=”justify”>Mark and Alan made it through to the top eight, and were pitted against each other in what we knew would be an all out battle. After the full four laps the judges still couldn’t decide a winner between the two, and subsequently ran another 6 laps of what was clearly fierce (and I hope friendly) competition! Mark made it through, Alan didn’t. I didn’t envy the judges’ job one bit, both drivers were on par with each other.
<p align=”justify”>Mark was then up against the white Mk 2 Escort RS2000 which driver Tommy McDonnagh had been driving with great style and finesse all day. Another exciting competition for a place in the final two. Mark was beaten to the top spot by hero Damien Mulvey in his champagne coloured S13 who displayed a flawless performance indeed.
<p align=”justify”>With one round to go, Mark remains on the top spot in the championship.
<p align=”justify”><strong>Results on the day:</strong>
1st Place Damien Mulvey
2nd Place Mark Luney
3rd Place Tomas McDonagh
4th Place Jonathon Murphy
Alan McBride, Ian Coyne, John Power , Richie Sherlock
John Hinchy, Andy Cooper, Richard Bradley, Jason Keane, Dan Finnegan, Mike Deane, Buttsy, John O’Connell.