Motor extravaganza noise driving some residents to distraction

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The driving force behind a planned motor sports extravaganza outside Gobnascale this weekend says there’s been a huge response to ‘Mayhem on the Hill’ - a ‘drifting’ event that will bring dozens of drivers from all over Ireland to Derry for an exhibition of oversteer.

Joe Jackson, the proprietor of Shift N Drift, which will host Round Two of the NI AMA Drift Series on the Corrody Road on Saturday and Sunday, said there’s been a real buzz in response to the proposed event.

“We’re up here at the minute and it’s hectic,” he told the ‘Journal’ as the finishing touches were being put to the site.

“We’re working to 11 or 12 o’clock at night, every night, to try and get things ready. We’ve had a popular response. A lot of good feedback,” he said.

Not everyone shares Mr. Jackson’s enthusiasm, however. Angela Dickinson is a local resident who says people living in the immediate vicinity of the Shift N Drift compound have been driven to distraction by the noise of the practice sessions and wants some sort of sound reduction or dampening measure put in place if possible.

“Last week they were testing their cars and the council had to go out and measure noise pollution, but on the day of the testing the people were just totally driven out of their heads with the noise,” she explained.

“Two weeks ago they were testing one night and the noise was unbearable and it didn’t stop until twenty past nine at night.

“I wrote to the council to tell them this car racing had been going on and that it was sending the cattle mad. I was driving along the road at the time and two cows came out of an opening onto the road in front of me and I don’t know how I missed them. I was that shook up.

“I have no objections to motor sports. I like motor sports. I think it’s good but not in this locality. It’s affecting everybody’s mental health.”

“He’s done everything by the board, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the noise we have to listen to. We want the noise stopped. Soundproof it. Put in some measures so that we don’t have to listen to it.”

Mr. Jackson told the ‘Journal’ Shift N Drift has been engaging with local residents

“I know people are concerned. We are talking to residents and we’ve had meetings and will have more meetings after this. We’re engaging with the residents and we are speaking to them.”

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said it was aware of the event and was working closely with the organisers to ensure adequate provisions were in place for the health, safety and welfare of local residents, the general public and participants.

The council’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG) has met with the organisers to discuss the event and advise that they put adequate systems in place for managing and delivering the event in accordance with good practice. It has monitored the noise levels at a practise session and is currently considering those results and any follow up actions to take.

Mr. Jackson said he was looking forward to an event that will attract a lot of people to the city.

“There’s a massive following. On the AMA Facebook page there are 24,000 followers and that’s just in the Derry area alone.

“It’s massive, for the young ones, for the kids, they love it.”