If you were looking at my social media the last couple of weeks, then you probably remember me forever banging on about my growing excitement for an upcoming event called the 'Drift Games Bash' and more than likely, you were quite sick of seeing me post about it. Well, just last weekend gone my excitement came to a head as the event took place over the Sunday and Monday bank holiday weekend just gone in Ireland's Mondello Park. The event in question was a total two day anything goes drift event, with a banging party stuck in the middle for good measure, organised by the Dave Egan and his bonkers crew at Drift Games with a hand from the dudes at Club Loose Ireland, as a way of an all-out celebration of another incredible season of Irish Drifting.
To paint a clear picture of it for you, remember the “Race Wars” scenes from the first Fast and Furious movie? This was basically the Drift Games Bash, with the drifting going in place of the actual racing itself. The event was indescribably brilliant, and I'm not just saying that because of my usually biased nature towards drifting in Ireland or it's drivers, it was just insane. The event has been running in it's third year now, with an additional “Spring Bash” taking place earlier in the year, and every year I have had an aching to go, but something has always come up that has denied me a proper chance of attending. This year, being third time lucky I was adamant to go, and thank god I did.
Before we go into any details of the event itself, let's rewind the clock back a little and look at some very important events leading up to the bash. James Deane, who if you don't know who he is or why he is the man of the moment lately then I suggest you take a quick detour to Google (Go on, I'll wait.) and check him out, as he was crowned both the Drift Masters European and Formula Drift champion this year, as well as becoming the first driver in Formula Drift history to win three consecutive title just little over a week ago in Irwindale, California. Throw this into the pot full of rising stars such as Jack and Conor Shanahan and Duane McKeever and the likes all making their own noises on the major European Drift scene and you can kinda of understand why the whole fandom of Irish Drifting is stuck in party mode at the moment, and the Bash couldn't have come at a better time.
Probably the best thing about the Bash itself is the fact that the event held the one characteristic was the openness of the event. Whether you were a driver from the lower nationals championship, or the pro extreme championship, tickets were open to any driver with a valid drift licence and a car that met the usual, necessary safety requirements. As for spectators, passenger bands allowed you to jump in and take a few laps with any one of the drivers you liked, as many times as you liked, and I can single-handedly tell you, it's a pure adrenaline rush. I took spins over the weekend with Drift Games Nationals competitors Stephen Moore and Stephen Halferty, and to sit in the car as both gave it the maximum around the crazy layouts cooked up for the drivers was an incredible feeling. Drifting sure looks good from the outside, but when you actually sit in the car, experience it for yourself and see what these guys can do, you gain a whole new level of respect for the sport and the drivers in general.
Passenger spin with Drift Games National driver Stephen Moore. (Apologies for the poor quality!}
From a personal note, and this is probably something I shouldn't be admitting in a DriveTribe article but, this was the first motorsport event in possibly over a year that I didn't go into from a media point of view. I seen it as a weekend off for example, I left my camera at home, and just had fun. To be honest, as you've probably noticed, I haven't been writing as much lately and I've just been struggling a bit with energy and concentration, so to come into this and just have fun with people you knew and got on with really reset the clock and gave a personal boost back into me.
As the first day drew to a close and night fell over Mondello Park, the party begun, and my god what a party it was. Taking place within the confines of Mondello Park's bar and cafe, it went on again to prove the openness and friendliness of Irish Drifting and the people involved. Irish drifter Mike Fitz done a banging job as resident DJ for the night, and I now see why people regard him as just a good disc jockey as he is spoiler killer and as the party got underway you had the likes of James, the Shanahan brothers and Red Bull series Drift Queen's Becky Evans all come in attendance, all just like us ordinary fans and spectators to have a bit of fun. To party with these guys and just go mad with them was unreal, certainly something you wouldn't see in F1 or any other high level motorsport. Even taking these people out of the equation, just the ordinary people there and the Drift Games crew themselves made this night – special.
Something as simple as going to the bar for a drink or even for a quick toilet break ensured me coming back in either conversation or a fit of laughter from a complete stranger, such as were the brilliant people in attendance. We just are all there for the same reason, to have fun and go sidewards at a stupid speed, and we just always seem to click and get on, it's an amazing feeling, definitely worth the torture of camping in minus conditions such as the weather in Ireland right now, but I wouldn't second think it. Of course, being a party, comical things did happen and memories were surely made, but they're for another day. It was just an incredible chance to really relax and be yourself around these great people.
Passenger spin with Drift Games Nationals driver Stephen Halferty
Day two went much the same as in the way of day one, albeit people being mostly tired and hungover from the shenanigans the night before, but what an incredible weekend it was, I just can't put into words how I excited I was for the event, and even more how much more it didn't just meet my expectations, but defied them. Thanks to both Stephens for the passenger runs over the two days and thanks to the drivers, crew and all the crazy lads at Drift Games and Club Loose Ireland for making such an incredible event.
But most of all thank you to anybody and everybody involved in Irish Drifting at the moment as this event once again proved the sense of family and friendship we all hold dear in the name of killing tyres and speeding sideways, and I hope it's something that will never leave our sport.