IRISH MOTOR FESTIVAL 2018
SIDEWAYS IS FUN-WAYSText and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis
What gives you the goosebumps, what gets your adrenaline going? For some it may be music for some it may be traveling, for me – it’s the cars. Millions of people worldwide will gladly spend all their spare time and their hard earned money on cars, either to purchase, modify, restore or even just to make them go that extra bit faster. For me seeing cars at a show, go fast around a track, slide sideways at a drifting event or jump high over brows of hill in a rally - is everything. This is car life and this why we do it every weekend over and over again; last weekend was no different.
The Irish Motor Festival 2018 ran alongside the Irish Drift Championship (IDC) at the Punchestown Race Course on August 11 & 12 and attracted thousands of motoring enthusiasts from all over Ireland. Whilst Saturday may have seemed a rather quiet day, Sunday on the contrary was buzzing. From the moment the main hall doors opened at 7AM the cars kept flooding in until it was fully packed.
The festival featured two main indoor display halls as well as an outdoor area with the main attraction: IDC drift arena right in the middle of it all. Having been to the Punchestown IDC round before I must admit it really is a spectacular venue for the drifting and car show alike and it didn’t fail again.
The main display hall was filled with modified cars from various clubs and stands as well as individual entries, traders and Monsters Energy Crew that provided entertainment all day long – from testing your strength to providing the energy, awesome tunes and even tattooing. You guys rock!
The smaller hall (aka the Posh hall) was reserved for the more extravagant machinery. There may have been not that much of them present but undeniably there were some beautiful cars there, including supercars like Lamborghini Aventador, BMW i8, Nissan GTR Nismo and a couple of Ferraris; furthermore, there were some gorgeous classics on display like the Porsche’s speedster, and also some great classic and modern American muscle including one of US movie heroes - Bullit’s Mustang.
And whilst the outdoor show areas were quite vacant there were some lovely machines hiding around the Punchestown race grounds.
Right in the middle of the Punchestown racecourse was the playground for the motorsport hooligans – the drifters, and nobody does it better than the Irish. IDC has become to be one of the world’s most respected leagues of this motorsport raised some legends including the machine - James Deane.
This round was dedicated to Darrragh O'Connell - a man who was part of the IDC family and recently lost his life in his battle with cancer. One of the most touching things I’ve seen in a long time was the moment when the top 16 drifters fired up their beasts simultaneously following a minute of silence for young Darragh to hear up in heaven.
This round was won by the young and unstoppable Duane McKeever who showed yet another flawless performance despite the torrential weather.
I don’t believe there is a person left in the car industry that wouldn’t know (or at least heard of) the motoring blog “Speedhunters” that started many, many years ago. Sharing the same passion – cars and photography, these guys obviously are heroes to many, so when we were asked to be part of the very first appearance of “Speedhunters” in Ireland you just couldn’t say no.
Having only confirmed the presence in the IMF 2018 a few weeks prior to the event Paddy did a tremendous job of putting together a stand that truthfully showcased the Irish car scene. Speedhunters stand consisted of 48 cars and contained everything from superb classics to modern performance cars, track animals and show stoppers, it was all there. I highly doubt there was anybody that would disagree - the quality of Speedhunters stand was mindblowing; and the fact that half of the show prizes went to this stand was a clear evidence. Well done Paddy!
Having covered multiple worldwide motoring events and seen a various country car scenes I may confirm that Ireland really is right up there with the best. We may not have exact level of SEMA cars, but we have the imagination and skill to execute great builds. And whilst not every car will have flawless paintwork, chrome plated screws or thousand horsepower under the bonnet, I can guarantee you that every single one of them are built with a 100% owner’s dedication, love and passion, making them unique. Our personalities show in our cars; it’s not just a list of expensive parts. Ireland really is similar to Japan in that sense.
There is one thing were other countries excel at shows though – and that’s respect. If there was one thing that sadly upset me on the day it was the persistent issue of the inconsiderate spectators. I noticed so many folks couldn’t enjoy the show as they were constantly near their cars trying to keep them safe and spotless.
|This is a demo of how to pose safely :)|
It’s great seeing people enjoy somebody’s car and wanting to take a picture with it or (with the owner’s permission) getting into them for a “selfie” but then there’s the downsides - prams hitting paintwork, kids kicking doors and sitting on bonnets or leaning on cars is not OK. Do we really want shows where each car is taped off so you can’t even see it up close? It is time to start showing respect to other’s property and maybe stepping up the security at these events.
But let one bad thing not put you off from going to shows, I rather see it as something that show organisers should see as an opportunity to learn and use the experience to future proof their events by offering better security and more staff who ensure your cars would be safe at their event. I genuinely had a brilliant day with my friends, had amazing food and came home with a huge smile on my face.
Now if we talk about the epic cars that were there and who won what…Whilst there were only 6 prizes to be won, there were at least 60 cars that deserved them. It’s hard to compare apples to pears really and choosing the winners is always a horrendous task.
My favourites: the usual subjects:
I first came across this F20C turbo converted RX-7 at the JCC event just a few weeks ago and was blown away by it. Beautifully executed build with superb engine conversion, blood-red paintwork and ultra-wide bodywork can’t leave one unimpressed.
Nissan Silvia PS13
I recall seeing this car for the first time a few years ago, and immediately told my friends this is going to be a show winner and will win multiple prizes in years to come, and guess what – I was right. When an owner of a car shares so much love for the car, it really shows. The car is so beautiful and I hope we will see it for many years to come.
Yet another car I predicted will only get better with time (just like a great wine) - Jonathan’s Mazda MX-5. From what was supposed to be just a fun, weekend car grew a show winning MX-5. Loaded with beautiful, rare and unique one-off parts this car is certainly my favourite Miata on these shores.
VW Golf GTI
Paddy’s track/show GTI maybe the ultimate Golf for me on these shores – a daily commuter/workhorse that also gets used on the track and at the same time feels absolutely at home in a car show. It’s the perfect package (in my opinion) that has been achieved with tasteful mods.
To be honest all cars on the “Slammed Ireland” stand were just epic – from two wide-bodied BMW 3 series, Mazda MX-5 to a gorgeous RX-7; these boys really know how to build a beautiful car.
To be honest the list would go on and on, and I would be the worst judge ever as I believe every car there was epic. Just look at them, just look.
In other words this was just another typical weekend for us – petrolheads, and Irish Motor Festival along the IDC just provided the perfect atmosphere and event for it, can't wait for next year's event. Thumbs up!