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7 Jul 2016

GTINI Castlewellan 2016



Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis
In the current times where the car scene reminds me of an episode of Eastenders or Big Brother, it’s nice to see that there are still shows out there, where people can get along with each other, relax and enjoy the car scene for what it is. There’s no better show for that than the annual “GTINI Castlewellan” held on the grounds of the stunning forest park of Castlwellan, Northern Ireland.

The boys and girls from the VW enthusiasts’ club “GTINI” most certainly know how to organise a successful show; whilst the season opener “Dubshed” and the season finale “Titanic Dubs” are the serious ones, “Castlwellan” is plain and simple – fun for all themed show. From BBQs & car limbo to simple walk around the picturesque park with the family, this show offers it all. And what makes it better – it’s all for a good cause.

Typically, the weather for the Castlewellan show has always been booked well in advance, with rays of sunshine provided throughout the day. This year; however, it seemed somebody forgot to pay the bills, as Castlwellan received a few Irish summer showers. For a moment the activity stopped, everybody ran for a cover under one of the many iconic forest park trees until the top up was made and bill payed, so the sun returned.

Did it bother anybody though? Not in the slightest. Once the sun returned, everybody was back at cleaning their prides and joys and the GTINI boys and girls finally lit their BBQ. I must say the burgers were delicious, cheers guys.

Whilst the trio of GTINI shows has been strictly VAG only in the past, more recently the shows have opened the doors to a few “outsiders” offering a “fresh” and much needed makeover. If you ask me, it was the right thing to do, just take Dubshed’s Ilovebass non VAG hall for example. Changes are good. Just look at the amazing 5 series of Colin, Tom’s EG or Clark's Mini found at the ILB stand, the variety is always a positive.

Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with the Volkswagen/Audi Group; the “dubbers” can build some serious cars, but… The recent trend of going down the easy route of air suspension and fancy wheels killed the “scene” in my opinion. After mixing in with the “wrong crowd” the car modding scene had changed – the dubs learnt from the JDM and vise versa. We saw JDM cars getting “stanced”, whereas the dubs received crazy engine swaps and interior overhauls. This is why changes are needed, changes are good.

The quality and attention to details in most of the cars on display was fantastic, from nut and bolt rebuilds, to crazy engine swaps and boot builds. With a wide variety of styles on offer from factory spec, OEM+, Stanced to Race car it was something for everybody.

I must admit a special treat to my eyes was the Audi Quattros brought along to the show by the NI Audi owners club. The classic Quattro is still one of the most amazing cars ever built by the German manufacturer, and there were plenty present on the day; from short wheel base to long wheel base, just amazing.
One of the irreplaceable parts of the show is the car limbo. Dozens of people attempting to enter a 2 seater cars to get that extra inch of clearance is more entertaining than the limbo “dance” itself. 

In the afternoon GTINI provided some trophies to their favourite cars of the show; the trophy - a laser etched tree from Castlwellan Forest Park with a Camper van under it was the best trophy I’ve seen to date. Amazing work!

I am certainly looking forward to the “Titanic Dubs” in September as I know anything organised by the GTINI will be good!

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