A Year In Review – 2019

There’s a lot to reflect on from what was a year that I have mixed feelings about. That being said, I was happy with our lot from this year.

We started the year with bitterly cold weather here in Ireland meaning motivation to both work on my 180sx, as well as shoot photos, was pretty low. I normally use this inevitable time to recharge the batteries and put the plans in place for the coming year.

If someone had told me the year we would have in store I wouldn’t be massively surprised but there was a few curve balls thrown in for good measure

It was late February by the time I decided to dust off the camera and travel to Watergrasshill for a privately run AE86 only day which would feature only thirty cars on track.

A foggy day on the hill but it was a relaxed occasion and I’ve grown increasingly fond of the smaller, more close-knit events.

Six or eight weeks go by with a lot of laborious hours spent underneath the S13 in anticipation of it being brought to Ace Motor Factors for a complete restoration of the underside of the car.

The extensive work carried out by the guys is a real testament to their expertise and I hope it will stand me in good stead going forward.

This is when everything began to pick up and I found myself almost unknowingly at a series of events.

Attending the classic show in Cork was super refreshing due to the vast selection of machinery on display. A few usual suspects accompanied by a wide variety of other styles made for a fantastic showcase.

I took particular joy in looking at the older variants on display. The circles I often find myself in don’t tend to revolve around cars prior to the mid-eighties. Fords and Porsche’s are two particular poisons that I like to indulge when I get the chance.

Aside from rally events, old Fords are a rare and expensive commodity to own in road-going guise here due to their popularity and heritage. It was a nice moment and one that I look back on fondly.

It was at this point that the car returned from Ace Motor Factors and Hartley Autobody and that was where the work that lay ahead began to become a reality.

I’ll be giving a more in-depth update on this really soon and whilst I hoped to had gotten this over the line this year I’m still happy with where I’m at.

Diving into the year I didn’t foresee us hosting our own event but Mick came through and put together a small-ish event that went amazingly smoothly and had all the right people and vehicles present.

It really made me realise how many people we’ve grown to know within the community and the commitment that some of them have to drive with us.

The stars aligned as everyone got massive amounts of seat time in a relaxed atmosphere with some sweet machines hardparked outside for good measure.

My only regret is not running a second event later in the year as the interest was pretty overwhelming. Such was the popularity of that event, we’ll definitely be aiming for a repeat in 2020.

Mick has since moved to Canada and I’m considering illegally importing back into Ireland for next year events. If anyone has the inside scoop on smuggling lanky 86 owners into Ireland, please hit me up.

We fired up the worlds scaldiest BBQ for the third year this summer and invited some our closest friends to the Sham Centre HQ to have the craic and share some stories.

Its nice to ditch the camera for the most part and just relax, have a few beers and talk shit. It adds perspective as a lot of the time when I’m at an event or trackside, I feel like I’m nearly working for the site.

Meeting new faces is something I love to do because everyone has there own story. We’ll need to knock some trees and expand for next year if this was anything to go by.

It was also my first time getting a good look around Brians S12 which is a super cool machine that we’ll be taking a closer look at as he’s currently collecting the parts to replace the CA18 and chuck an N/A SR20 engine in.

I was keen to get to a show this year and traveling to Old School New School reassured me that decision was the right one as static shows never much appealed to me previously.

I found the environment really allowed me to perfect the shots I wanted as there was no ‘Run and Gun’ pressures associated with track related events. It was initially one of those ‘I’m not sure what to do with my hands’ situations where I had to adjust to the slower pace of the event but it benefited me massively going forward.

The benefit to traveling to different shows in different areas in the country is you get to experience different cars that you may not have seen before. This Evo was one the best looking cars I’ve ever seen and had a parts list to boot.

Fundracer offered a massive collection of styles all gathered in Mondello Park with one goal in mind, speed. Lamborghinis to fully fledged drift cars. Time-Attack cars to rally cars, everyone made a fantastic effort to turn out for a great cause.

Fast forward three days and we made the same pilgrimage up the M9 to Monasterevin for Cars & Coffee on what turned out to be a horribly cold day which restricted what was an otherwise nice turnout.

On a couple of occasions this year, I challenged myself to only carry my 50mm 1.8 to more casual encounters and some of the results can be seen here.

Its a really interesting way to motivate yourself if events become a bit stagnant or if you’re looking for an easy and light setup.

The highlight of my year, 86Fest was incomprehensible and it continues to grow every year. Its hard to believe that one chassis can encompass so many.

One regret I do have from the year was not registering for media at more events. A lot of my shots, especially in Mondello were from behind the fence or in locations that media access could definitely have improved.

Getting to shoot Keith’s 86 in our locality, after seeing it go from non-runner to working correctly was also a massive tick on my list this year. Cars that look good but get used aggressively are a hard sought commodity here and this one sits upon that line graciously.

Its only now that I’ve looked up and seen the length of this article. At the start of 2019 I said I’d make a greater effort to get out and shoot more, not to expand the group, but to meet people, new and old. By my makings, it wasn’t half bad

Thank you for your support and see you all in 2020!

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