It was cold, bitterly cold as we brave few faced the ‘freshness’ of the day to witness some sheer madness on the Tipperary International Raceway.
Practice kicked off at 9.30 and the coupes and some other cars were struggling to master the track. As more and more people went out onto the track I was slowly convincing myself that the track was too tight for the ‘big’ cars and then Mr Luney in his 3.0 litre Carlton proved me wrong, he glided effortlessly around the track first time and showed the audience what ‘drifting’ was. Fantastic.
The practice session went on until 12.30 and then the dry track was wetted and the competition began…
There were two categories of ‘drifter’, novice and pro – it was difficult to distinguish from the two, since the acuteness of the bends on the karting track proved a challenge for most of the competitors.
Though the real pros stood out. Precision braking and steering allowed the Japanese donut machines, the BMWs, the Mitsubishi (when not sitting on tyres) and the Carlton to drift the corners superbly.
The novices had a good stab at the drifting too, and everyone had a good laugh at the brown Toyota Starlet that kept running over unsuspecting tyres and patches of grass. Some of the coupes sailed around the corners and continued ‘sailing’ around on the spot thereafter, I was beginning to think they mistook ‘drifting’ for ‘diffing’, but it couldn’t be helped on those tight bends. Our ‘wee’ Silvia got a good thrashing and she managed to drift occasionally in the larger bends. Davy threw in a brake stand for good measure when he couldn’t get her to drift anymore.
Twenty-five cars entered the drifting competition, the majority left the track unscathed, but some were less fortunate. Amongst the casualties were the 200sx which lost it’s front bumper in a minor collision with the tyres on the side of the track early on in the competition, a Skyline which did everything to his rear end bar losing it and a 3000 GTO which drove into a flood light and unfortunately for him as he backed away from the light it fell directly on top of the car cracking his windscreen and ruined the aerodynamics of the car.
The CruiseIRL boys were let lose on the track have way throughout the proceedings and some madman insisted on hanging out of the passenger’s window of one of the coupes. Brandy, Paul and the rest of ‘Steer From the Rear’ put on a display in the 200sx and the BMW, smoke everywhere and plenty of sideways fun which woke the crowd up.
I am glad to say that everyone clambered out of their vehicles dent and scratch free, unlike some of the cars that left the track and all who attended left with smiles on their faces and icicles on the end of their noses.
Big thank you to all who made it such a well-organised event and were mad enough to let us in!