Is it possible for something to grow at such an alarming rate without having the occasional stumble? This is what I pondered as I drove home from another mega 86Fest here in an alarmingly mild Irish September. As you can see from some of the imagery, Mondello Park more resembled somewhere with the word ‘Riviera’ in it.
A return to spectators was also something I was very much excited for because, whilst we were still fortunate to have any event at all last year, its not quite the same without the people who make up this great community and the the nonsense I get to chat to them year on year!
I’ve always said that Nikki has done a great job in expanding and improving upon various areas of this event and this really was the first year where it didn’t feel like just a trackday and more like a full-blown event with a packed show and shine, a significant number of vendors on site and a whole host of track-going 86s that had seen both extensive and no modifications since I had last seen them 12 months ago.
As you may have seen in the extensive video from this years event, my focus was definitely more towards the film from this annual shindig that I’ve now been attending since 2015 I think. As I continue to focus on pleasing the YouTube algorithm I’d ask that you like & subscribe if you’ve watched the footage.
As always, there were plenty of familiar faces but quite a few new ones this year which is fantastic to see people getting into/back into the 86 community given the prices these cars are now commanding and whilst the chassis may be deemed as ‘overpriced’, what cant be faulted is the aftermarket support that this little box has at its disposal.
Case & point, Flos are now offering a full TODA spec engine which was displayed trackside on the day. This engine, which is basically brand new and highly tuneable has a Hydra Dynamics manifold made by good friend and absolute artist James Langan. I’m not lying when I say this engine should’ve gone on display in an automotive museum of some kind. However, I believe its already found a home in a Starlet rally car.
One of the highlights of the day has to be the parade lap where the all important counting of the 86s takes place. The numbers were down a touch this year on that massive figure of 200+ from 2019 but for a Friday based event where you’ll more than likely need to book the day off work, the 170ish in this years attendance was still the most Hachi’s you’ll see gathered together outside of Japan.
Nothing and I mean nothing fails to get me excited and giggling like a bold child quite like that parade lap. Keith has always been on hand to bring me in previous years but given his absence I was lucky enough to jump in with Andrew (his 180sx will feature on here soon!) as we got the keys to James’ 20-valve Treuno aka the best sounding 86 in Ireland. That topic isn’t even up for discussion and if you’re sitting at home thinking ‘mine sounds better’ then go and check the start to the 2019 video and swallow the cold hard truth that you’re codding yourself.
Of course, whilst this is ’86Fest’ its only 99% about Toyotas greatest creation and this event also caters to other Toyotas who want to go fast or sideways on the track. There was notably less ‘grip-specific’ machines on hand this year which is why they fail to feature in my coverage. That and I find spectating grip driving to be not near as fun as partaking.
Some notable standouts for me on the day were of course, the amazing engine Flos had on display, the blue soarer above rocking a matching set of Work Meisters and an impressive looking 16-valve in a UK spec car. I’m looking forward to seeing what this event has developed into when I return from a few years of travelling!
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