Believe it or not my recent visit to the the Prodrift Finals was my first ever attendance at an Irish drift event. Crazy I know.
Over the last decade Ireland has produced some of Europe's – and dare I say it, the World's – finest drifters. Names like McNamara, Deane, Kerney, Luney, Colfer are among the truly great names in drifting.
I met up with Paddy and Rod at Mondello Park to have a look at the new blood coming through the Prodrift ranks in the form of the top 32 Semi-Pro finals.
There were a few minor track excursions at turn one. Just to bring some perspective to this post, the average drift speed into turn one was in excess of 60mph. To push the limits you have to know where the limit is!
It's great seeing 4A-GE-powered Corollas still being used in drifting. Heck, it's great seeing Corollas being used in Euro Drifting full stop!
There is something I love about grassroots drifting. No holds barred, no politics, just full-on in-ya-face driving for the sake of driving. That's what it's all about.
I had to keep reminding myself that these guys were just the semi-pro category.
Ciaran Synnott took top spot in qualifying with a fantastic 87.83 run.
Closely followed by Mark Willis with 84 points.
From the off, the battles were intense with door to door battles over the turn one clipping point.
Prodrift doesn't measure the entry speed of the corner; they measure the actual drift speed mid-corner. With a set target speed, points are added or taken away depending on what side of the target you hit.
Even the runs back to the start line were worth watching. You could have easily mistaken them for competition runs.
As the afternoon progressed the driving just got better and better. My first experience of a Prodrift event was certainly an eye opener.
Pushing hard there were a few trips into the scenery…
…And a few close calls.
But this didn't stop the guys giving it 100% commitment 100% of the time.
Even Fredric Aasbo took time out from preparing the TNFS supra to watch the Semi-Pro comp.
As we got to the top eight, the rain that had been threatening all day started to fall. This caused an interesting run between Rob Barnett and Wes Keating.
The reduced grip levels slowed the speeds a little but not the closeness of the battles.
Just as the Semi-finals were about to begin the heavens opened and there was a downpour of epic proportions.
I took shelter in the grandstand as the storm passed over. I found a very familiar figure that had the same idea.
With the rain causing delays on track, the finals were postponed until first thing the next morning.
On a slightly dryer track Paul McCarthy in the yellow E36 took the overall win, with Trevor Murphy and Rob Barnett taking the final two places on the podium.
Well my first visit to an Irish drift event has really opened my eyes to the new talent entering drifting. My first visit will, without doubt, be the first of many to the ProDrift Championship.