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13 Oct 2015


Eat, Sleep, Drift, Repeat

Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis

The last round of the 2015 Irish Drifting Championship (IDC) led us to the Mondello International Racing Circuit in Ireland on September 26-27 for an acion-packed weekend, closing off what had been an amazing season of Irish drifting.
ド リ フ ト(dorifutu) or drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally causes a car to lose the traction in the real wheels and drive the car with a controlled oversteer.
There is no real evidence of where and when the drifting originated; however, it was Kinimitsu Takashi, a racing driver from Japan that was the first person to document the drifting techniques in 1970s, before the “Drift King” himself (Keiichi Tsuchiya) released the “Plupsy” in 1987 – an illegal street racing and drift video, introducing drifting to the rest of the world. First drifting event to take place outside Japan was USA in 1997. Now - it is one of the fastest growing motorsport in the world. 
For an island where the weather is pretty bad for most of the year and a temperatures of +5c indicate the summer is here, one would expect the indoor activities like board games or table tennis to be the popular choices of time passing; however, in reality it is the rallying and drifting that has nearly turned into the national sport of the nation. Drifting has come a long way in Ireland and IDC has become a professional league followed by many around the world; Ireland has also produced a number of outstanding talents, including the world famous James Dean.
Whilst it is a hugely expensive sport and it requires a lot of hard work and dedication to take part in, no denying there, the IDC is one of the best places to do it. The drivers couldn’t be more helpful to each other, making sure a helping hand is always there if a fellow competitor requires some help, often even lending their cars to each other. Irish men are not afraid to get their hands dirty either and do not arrive with expensive lorries full of parts and crews of mechanics, instead it is their family and friends that come to help. This is what makes this league and drifting is general so raw and unique; it is a family.
Irish Drifting Championship consists of three subdivisions - Rookie, Semi-Pro and the Pros. But don't be fooled into believing that any of them are easy. The level of driving is mind blowing and it has been witnessed in the past where International drivers have been knocked out from the Top 16 by Irish rookies.
The same can be said for the track here - it takes a lot more courage than talent to do drifting at the Mondello International Circuit, the first corner in particular. Initiating a drift on a blind corner at speeds of 110kmh +  is not for the faint hearted. 
It was the Rookie & Semi-Pro Event to open the weekend action on Saturday. Despite the main event taking place on Sunday, the trackside was packed with people indicating how popular the drifting has become in both ROI and Northern Ireland. Once the crews had finished their breakfast baps and morning coffees, it was time to prepare the cars. The morning started off with some practice runs from both the rookies/semi pros and pro drivers. 
With practice runs out of the way it was time for the Tansō.
単走 a.k.a. the solo run is the qualification run for the drivers. Each driver is given a chance to run the drift course twice and the runs are judged by 3 people. The judges are looking for speed, perfect racing lines, huge angles, lots of smoke and clipping points that each driver has to nail. Going off the course, correcting the angle and other factors can result in the deduction of points.

It was no surprise that clipping point #1 proved to be the "killer". If a driver carried too much speed into the first corner, the car could understeer and end up being thrown into the gravel trap. If the driver on the other hand didn’t carry enough speed, hitting the clipping point and transferring the drift to the next clipping point became impossible.
Once the drivers had finished the qualification runs it was time to do the Tsuisō.
追走 a.k.a. the drift battle – Best 32 qualifiers proceed to do a tandem race between two drivers. Each driver has to perform a lead and chase run. The task of the chasing driver is to replicate the angles and speed of the leading driver. Points are deducted for contact, going off the track or failing to keep up with the leading driver. If the judges cannot come to a unanimous decision after both runs a “One More Time” can be called where the drivers have to battle it out one more time.
It was this last event that was going to decide the Rookie and Semi Pro 2015 title. Luckily for Kevin Quinn his qualification run was good enough to score him the points he needed to receive the Rookie Title without the need to win the day; however, the Semi Pro title battle turned out to be more nerve racking.
Congratulations to the 2015 IDC Rookie Champion - Kevin Quinn
It was Anthony Galvin leading the Semi Pro championship going into the final round by a total of 28 points; in second his closest rival Kevin Kindregan was the only man able to challenge him for the title. However after driving to the absolute limit in the battle, it was Anthony going through to the top 8 claiming an early title.
It was the British Drift Championship driver William Rose in his compact BMW E36 that managed to get to the final battle where he faced a very positive Anthony. The battle was very close; however, it was Anthony in the end that claimed the victory, finishing the day on a very positive note. William took the second place whilst the Rookie champion Kevin Quinn stepped on the last podium place and Charlie Geary rounded up the top 4.
It was an amazing season finale.

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