Nestled between the foothills of the Mournes and the Dromara Hills, the town of Castlewellan has its own micro-climate. It is nearly impossible to tell from the weather a few miles away what it will be doing in Castlewellan. Connor and I found that out to our cost last year when we arrived prepared for the rain that we woke to in Craigavon, only to suffer in the heat all day!
As I have alluded to before – by some witchcraft – GTINI are always blessed with great weather for their shows. This year was no exception, after the usual NI summer showers for months a heat wave was announced a few days before Castlewellan – for the whole country this time!
2013 marks the 10th anniversary of the show in Castlewellan Forest Park, always a laid back day offering a chance to see some great cars and relax while enjoying the beautiful Co. Down scenery. Once the biggest show in the calendar, it has been somewhat eclipsed by the massive success of Dubshed, but it is still one of the must do events of the year and one that I would never miss. The show was held last Saturday on 6th July with the usual traders, club stands, BBQ, car limbo and charity raffle.
With no entry process, for VAG cars anyway, the show attracts more of a variety of cars and spectators than some of the other big shows in the calendar. It allows people who have put work into their cars throughout the year (let’s face it – with VWs there is always something needing done!) and those who have older, perhaps more standard (but no less interesting in my book) cars a chance to show them off. It also means you’re never sure what you’re going to see, as people might decide to come on the spur of the moment. The out-and-out show cars are still there but the more informal show is a chance to see something a bit different as well. A perfect example of this was the MK2 Golf C parked not far from us, pretty much standard – not a show car, but owned by an enthusiast who was looking after and restoring it and who Stefan spent a good while happily chatting to about old parts.
Notwithstanding that, the Vento was not fit to be seen as it is still doing duties as the daily hack, as well as having a mysterious ignition problem which was only resolved about a week ago. Connor was attending a Stag party in Newry (can’t believe we’ve just moved house to a few miles from Castlewellan and he had to miss the show!), so it was left to Stefan’s MK3 and Richie’s Octavia to represent ShedSixty2 this year. I also had to pull on the big girl pants and take charge of the photography. The SLR is a change from my usual point and click! It was Stefan’s first proper outing with the Corvette wheels on and they looked awesome!
We were also joined by Niall’s silver VRS Fabia (watch this space for more on it) and Brian was asked to put his Revo mapped TT on the Performance 360 stand.
We spent a while upon arrival cleaning the cars – I did my best to help with Stefan’s wheels but ended up getting Autosol in my eye (I don’t recommend it!) and lost my enthusiasm somewhat. After a quick walk to the shop for supplies we headed round to enjoy the show.
As always there were lots of interesting cars to see – my personal favourite was not a VAG at all but a Brabus Mercedes. Stefan the Merc-head also drooled over the Mercedes’ and a lovely little white MK2 Jetta. Brian’s favourites were some of the old air-cooled campers and Beetles, even if some of them aren’t technically air-cooled any more! As usual there was great craic catching up with friends and a chilled out atmosphere.
Stefan entered the car limbo in the Golf, but only managed to get 17 people in the car – a poor effort! He also helped out with the Eos’s attempt. As usual the convertibles won in the height competition, with Dean McFarland’s A3 taking the title for hard tops. The Polo’s record for most people in the car from last year was beaten, by a surprisingly narrow margin, by a Caddy van.At the prize giving Niall and Richie scooped Best and Runner Up Skoda respectively, while other friends of ShedSixty2 Roy and Scotty got Best MK5 and Best Polo. It was also announced that Titanic Dubs will be returning this year to end off the show season, I am happy to report that the flyer is typo free this time! It will be on Saturday 28th September in the Dry Dock – where the Lupo raffle winner will finally be drawn!
After the prizes it was back to our house for the after show party, where Steven from Performance 360 very kindly took charge of the BBQ and thankfully no one got food poisoning. The beautiful weather, while it helped make the show, wasn’t so great for some, with Brian and Jambo both suffering from sunburn in some strange places!
As always Castlewellan was a credit to GTINI and we can’t wait for Titanic Dubs!
Full photo set here