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21st Oct 2017

Cork man wins Formula Drift world championship

Conan Doherty

We’re not exactly tripping over world champions on this island.

Over the week, a young Cork man reached the very top of his sport. Years of dedication, setbacks, fine-tuning, travelling and years of downright excellence brought him to a stage where he could show what he was made of.

He used that platform to simply stun the motorsport world.

James Deane is the Formula Drift world champion for 2017 and, Christ, he was emphatic in hammering that dream home.

The 26-year-old Cork native from Castletownroche has been tearing up tracks all over North America this year and, when he went to Irwindale, California last weekend for the eighth and final installment of the this year’s Formula Drift series, all he had to do was qualify into the top 32 and just start his first race.

Deane? Well, he went on and won the whole thing by finishing third instead. He doesn’t do things by half measures.

Paddy McGrath of Speed Hunters was there.

“If all he had to do was the bare minimum, you would be forgiven for thinking that James would park up his S15 for the weekend, roll it out for qualifying and just drive off the start line in Top 32 to take the title,” McGrath wrote.

“But that’s not the James Deane way and the bare minimum was never on the agenda.”

So he went on and did what he had been doing for most of the year, turning heads and winning.

That amounted to a world title.

So now here is James Deane:

  • Five-time Irish Drift champion
  • Five-time European Drift champion
  • Guinness World Record holder for longest tandem drift
  • Formula Drift pro world champion

The man who produced a tandem drift of 28.52km was headed for the top some day but that some day is today.

(Photo by Paddy McGrath at Speed Hunters)

But a look at the mainstream media in Ireland and you’d barely have gathered that one of their own is one of the very best.

We’re as guilty as anyone here at SportsJOE. Where has our James Deane coverage been? Where have our heads been?

You can fall into a trap in this game, tell your GAA stories, present your rugby pieces, look for your soccer debates and think you have it covered. Then you see a man from Cork who’s on top of his own world. He’s making people drool, he’s dropping commentators’ jaws and he’s inspiring the next batch of Irish motorsports enthusiasts to believe that they too can produce greatness.

And it’s not even a case of this being there ‘in his own right’ anymore – no, James Deane is a world beater. There’s a whole world there gushing over him and we’ve been ignoring it for far too long.

He’s a sporting personality that the entire country should be proud of. He’s one that they should all know about at the very, very least.

James Deane. Remember that name.

He’s a special talent and he’s far from finished.


James Deane

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