In recent years there’s no doubt that the most pioneering drift series in the world has been the IDC. This entertainment machine has been the brainchild of David Egan who, with the support of his team, has utilised his foresight, vision and drive to not only increase the popularity and fanbase, but it’s respect within the huge pool of top level drivers throughout the world.
It takes a lot of effort to run a minor drift event (in previous years I’ve judged at grass roots competitions, and the amount of effort behind the scenes was unbelievable). To be able to run a national series, take what has been achieved to date, and then push it beyond what anyone could ever have expected. Then to do it again with the British Drift Championship just proves what a force the management and media team are.
So what is it about the Irish Drift Championship that draws the crowds, viewers and drivers from all over the world. Let’s be honest some of it has to be down to the fact that it’s in Ireland and there are some things that are a given; The Irish Culture, the mentality towards motorsport, the skill and tenacity in which they compete, even their accent just draws you in. Then before you know it, you’ve spent 8 hours of your weekend watching people drive around sideways, probably in terrible conditions, on your laptop and then the IDC made you feel like it was an acceptable use of your weekend, and then proceed to check the price of cheeky ferry over to the next round.
I think it’s taken a lot more than clever brand awareness and a livestream to convert this championship into what it has become today, and looking at it from a driver's perspective may be able to give a slightly different insight into this.
Kieran Hynes and his judging comrades have transformed the way in which UK drifting has been approached for a number of years now. He has been pivotal in improving the quality of drifting by implementing track layouts with entertainment in mind; and pushing drivers to change the mentality of how you approach a battle.
From my own past experience of drivers’ briefings in the BDC, they would tend to end in minutes of boring discussions based on something like ‘if the lead car goes off line, as the chase car what do I do?’ (especially if I’m being boring and leaving a gap). It felt to me like people just wanted to try and work out the safest way to win. Where as now, there is never any doubt: the chase drivers can have the confidence to throw the car sideways right on the lead car’s door every time, because the judges are able to make the distinction if the lead car makes a mistake, especially with instant replays. There’s really no reason to hold back, and if you do, you’ll be penalised.
I’m lucky enough to have been over to the IDC a number of times in the 2016 season (mainly due to living so close), including Round 1 and Japfest - Final Fight. Both of these rounds were held at the iconic home of drifting in Ireland: Mondello Park. Attending these events during my year out from driving has really made me focus on how I want my style to develop.
When you watch the guys over in the IDC, the styles on display vary so much from driver to driver, it means you are never really sure what’s about to happen next. Across all classes they have guys who are pinpoint consistent like TJ Berny and James Deane. Driving against them, if you made a mistake, you’ll be sure to be going home. On the other hand you have guys like Mark McBurney, Mike Fitz and the Shannahan’s, anything less than your most outrageous wall riding, clutch kicking, bumper destroying run will see you fall short of their inch-perfect danger drifts. I can only imagine that the way to approach the IDC as a driver is to go maximum attack, every run, every clip, every wall; or if you don’t, then you may as well be watching from the grandstand.
Next issue is out soon, till then take it easy and check these links!
- All photos this issue by FJ photography
- Joe Ankers
- The Irish Drift Championship