As I drove down the road towards Dubshed at some ungodly hour on a Saturday morning and it started to drizzle, I thought about writing this report – and that I was going to have to open by saying that the famous GTINI weather had let us down. But of course, I was to be proved wrong, because after a bit of a grey start and one shower on the Saturday morning the rain held off for the rest of the day. The same held true on Sunday when, despite a forecast for rain on and off all day and an overcast morning the sun broke through and it was a typical sunny GTINI show!
That was a couple of weeks ago now, and if you weren’t in attendance you may be wondering why I am talking about two days – Dubshed is normally just one day, right? Not this year. This year Dubshed was a two day event, with the first day being a Preview Day – similar to some other big shows like Ultimate Dubs – where all the indoor show cars and stands etc. come in to set up on Saturday. However, there was also the opportunity to show your car outside on the Saturday, or to come in as a spectator and see some of the UK and Ireland’s best show cars before anyone else! As Dubshed is now one of the big show season openers this was an opportunity not to be missed, especially if, like us, you hadn’t made it to Ultimate Dubs this year to see all the new reveals after the winter break. The #dubshedprep posts came in thick and fast to our news feeds in the weeks leading up to the show.
Following the success of the past few years, Dubshed has grown from humble beginnings, literally in a shed at the Kings Hall to become one of Ireland’s biggest car shows, attracting cars and spectators from all over the island of Ireland, as well as mainland UK and even further afield! This year saw upwards of 500 show cars and a conservative estimate of 4500 spectators came through the gates over the course of the weekend. Most people you speak to will attribute this success to the trademark GTINI sunshine that the show was blessed with for the first couple of years. I would have been one of them, until this year, when Connor and I volunteered to help out with the running of the show. We had no cars to show this year and figured we might as well make ourselves useful and lend a hand.
All I can say is – while the weather may well have played some role in drawing crowds in the first couple of years, the main credit must go to the guys and girls at GTINI who work incredibly hard for 6 months before the show, and especially in the days and weeks immediately before it, on the show days and clearing up afterwards. The little help Connor and I offered on the day is a drop in the ocean compared to the multitude of jobs that had to be done in the run up – organising venue, security, trade stands, building raffle car, hall layout, trophies, flyers, leaflets, tickets, merchandise and even a billboard this year! This year also saw a new computerised entry and judging system and the opportunity to buy tickets online in advance. Bearing in mind most of the guys have full time jobs and some have families they still do all this in their spare time, put on an amazing show and raise loads of money for charity as well!
On the show days the GTINI crew barely stop running about – parking cars, manning the gates, organising judging and innumerable other tasks that I can’t even think of, while still finding time to chat to visitors and make everyone feel welcome. Connor and I were exhausted after just two days of early starts and running around – never mind weeks and months! That’s part of the reason I’m so late with the show report this year – I wasn’t myself for days afterwards! (The other reason is that I’ve been so busy rebuilding troublesome Novas, but that’s another story…)
I could go on and on about the hard work that goes on behind the scenes but suffice to say it can’t really be overstated – and Dubshed is a credit to GTINI as well as Northern Ireland in general and I was really proud to play a role in it, however small.
I have hardly mentioned the show cars yet, which is the whole point of the show! With running around I didn’t even get to see everything, but I was lucky enough to be helping out on the gate on the Sunday so I got a good look at a lot of the cars as they rolled in. The standard was higher than ever this year – some of my personal favourites included Padhraic Forde’s Irish Green Mk1 Scirocco with the original tarantula wheels made into 3 piece splits, pretty much all the MK3s in the row in the main hall, the rat rod Beetle and Marty’s Bolf running custom made turbo fans. Other sites and blogs have reported on the cars more eloquently than I could, hopefully some of our pictures will speak for themselves. All of the cars in the main hall deserved their place, while there were other little surprises and nice touches to be found in the smaller halls and outdoor areas too.
Richie’s Mk2 Golf, formerly owned by Connor, was also in the main hall – barely recognisable as the scabby little car with Hammerite squares on the bonnet that left the workshop a few months ago, it looked amazing with new paintjob, interior and on beautiful grey Lotus wheels. Eugene’s (Connor’s Dad) mental mil-spec trike also turned heads in the Air Cooled hall. (Look out for full reports on these two coming soon…)
Click HERE for the full photo gallery