Irish Drifting – A Retrospective: Part One – 2004

March 5th, 2004. Not exactly a date that will go down in history, but it was a day that probably changed the course of my life forever. From the age of 13, I knew I wanted to be involved in motorsport in some way, shape or form. But from March 5th 2004, I knew exactly which path to take.┬áIt’s been over 10 years now since I was introduced to the world of drifting. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the greatest stepping stone in my photography career. I’ll be forever grateful to every single person involved in Irish drifting, from staff to drivers to supporters.

Looking back, it feels like 20 years ago rather than just 10. If I remember correctly, 2004 was the first full season of drifting in Ireland and every round was held at Tipperary International Raceway or Rosegreen as it was also known. The events, known as D1 Drift Series at the time, were all held on the karting track on the raceway’s infield with the last exhibition event (an Ireland Vs United Kingdom battle) utilising the outer oval for the first time.

In 2004, drifting was still in its infancy, so the vast majority of drivers drove their cars to the track and back home again. I think there was only one or two cars transported on trailers. It was a completely different world back then, especially when compared to fierce modern drifting has become. The layouts were simple, safety equipment consisted of a seat belt and helmet and for twin battles, the drivers were set off at 10 or 15 second intervals.

The cars varied too. The majority were European brands (BMW, Ford etc.) with the odd UK produced AE86 and 200SX thrown into the mix. Only as the year(s) rolled on, did the Japanese cars dominate the entry lists. Some of you may look on in horror at some the entries but make no mistakes about it, these were very cool cars at the time. Whilst the speeds were often slow and the weather always wet, the technical track provided a base which many drivers perfected their craft on. A reminder that you don’t need 500+hp to learn how to drift…

Part two will look at the 2005 season which saw D1 Drift Series expand considerably…

Irish Drifting - A Retrospective: Part One - 2004Paddy