Last weekend the 2017 MicksGarage.com Irish Amateur Drift Championship kicked off at Mondello Park in it’s new time-slot as a Winter series, providing a welcome break from the…er…break. Historically the only competitive Motorsport running over the Winter months has been Rallycross so it’s fantastic for fans to have something else to look forward to in the ‘off season’
Each of the 4 rounds of the MicksGarage IADC Focus on driver development and the equalisation of machinery. The championship gives up-and-coming drivers a platform to improve their talent and gain recognition. The top 10 finishers in the championship will gain IDC Semi-Pro licenses and earn their place in the 2017 Irish Drift Championship. With rules and regulations designed to level the playing-field, the IADC has become the ultimate proving-ground for future Irish drift superstars.
71 drivers took to the tarmac at round 1 – The Proving ground. 50 Points were up for grabs for the winner which would be critical for those with their eye on one of the IDC Semi Pro places for the 2017 season. Not to mention the that title sponsors, MicksGarage would be offering up another amazing cash prize to the winner of the 2017 series – taking the total value of the prize to almost €4,500 – let’s just say each and every driver on the grid took things very seriously.
Not ones to conform, the IADC, IDC and BDC organisers have thrown away the rule book for 2017 and have introduced a brand new format and method of scoring. IADC round 1 was the first the new format would come into effect and saw a much quicker, more fluid pace to the on-track action with less down time between runs.
Qualifying saw many IADC drivers tackling their first ever judged competitive runs in front of the Mondello Park grandstand. With 71 drivers vying for just 32 places, competition was fierce, but in the end it was existing IADC driver Kevin Kilgarriff that would pilot his diesel-powered E46 BMW to a score of 91.42 to take first position. Another BMW driver in Dean Martin then went on to take second with an 88.33, with newly-licensed driver Danny O’Callaghan taking third in qualifying just behind Dean on an 88 dead.
So with 71 whittled down to just 32, it was time for the very first battle action of the season to begin. Competition was incredibly fierce, but as we got down to the business end of the day, the 4 drivers remaining in the Top 4 would be Ronan Devlin, Ryan Morton, Shea Rogers and Darragh McElroy. At this point in time all 4 drivers had almost done enough to prove they were worthy of the top step, but as that simply couldn’t be the case it was time for one man to step up and prove himself.
The first of our top 4 battles – and arguably one of the closest of the day – saw Ronan Devlin take on Ryan Morton. After an insanely close battle which ended with a score of 31-29, Ronan Devlin would progress to the final, where he would face off against fellow Northern man Shea Rogers behind the wheel of his insane 1,000bhp Toyota Supra, with Shea proving too much for Darragh McElroy and gaining the last spot in the final.
Just before heading to the final, it was the turn of the third and fourth place play-off between Ryan and Darragh. Unfortunately for Ryan that elusive first podium finish would remain just out of reach, as Darragh McElroy put the power difference to good use and took the smallest of the 3 podium steps.
As the sun set in front of the Mondello Park grandstand for the last time in 2016, the two decisive runs were done, which quite uncharacteristically going on the rest of his performances today, saw Shea Rogers perform an illegal overtake on Ronan Devlin and effectively hand Devlin, a newcomer to the Irish Amateur Drift Championship, his first IADC victory in what was his first ever competitive event in Mondello Park.
Images with thanks to FreshFix