Prodrift Round 1 Ennis – Saturday
- 22 April 2011
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To anyone unfamiliar, drifting is a motorsport with Japanese origins in which the driver causes intentional oversteer and slides their car through a series of corners. Many have said it’s almost like a form of dance for cars, and I’d tend to agree.
Prodrift is Irelands competition ground when it comes to drifting, and last weekend, it returned to Ennis once again with a bang. The weekend saw some of the best weather so far this year, and as crowds arrived by the dozen, the Clare Marts roared into action.
Prodrift usually runs over the full course of a weekend, with Saturday dedicated to Amateur and Non-seeded, and Sunday left to the Pros. Each Prodrift event has three judges, who mark the drivers on aspects such as speed, line, angle and crowd reaction. Some of the big names competing this year include Martin Ffrench in his Wexican Motorsport SR20 Altezza and 15 year old Duane McKeever with a whopping 786bhp RB26 powered s13.
Qualification kicked off at 12:30pm with 63 drivers competing in the Non-seeded/Amateur class, only 4 of which would progress to compete on Sunday with the Pros. Drivers were given two runs of the tight and technical course presented by the judges, and each run scored out of a possible 100 points, with the better one counting. This was not only competing for a place in the Top 32, but also dictated the seeding for the afternoon.
Once the Top 32 were confirmed, things were just getting started. The Twin-battles, or head-to-head then kicked off. Two cars run the course in competition with one another, mirroring one another through the corners while still keeping to the qualifying line. They are given two runs of the course, and each car gets a chance to take lead, starting with the higher seed. Judges then make a decision after both runs on which driver goes through to the next round, or, if it’s too close to call, they can decide to see it one more time.
It’s unbelievable how quickly a day goes when you’re having fun, and if you love cars, that’s what you’ll be doing at a drifting event. It wasn’t long before the competition had come down to the Top 4 drivers of the day, and as the smoke cleared and bits of charred rubber were brushed away, Rob Barnett with his E46 BMW took 1st place over WKD Imports boss Wes Keating who claimed 2nd. Rounding off the action-packed day of entertainment, Duane Mckeever managed to grasp the last podium position away from Nick Quealy and his r32 Skyline who put in solid runs all weekend. These 4 drivers advanced to compete on Sunday in the Pro seed catagory.