“Thanks to all who came and supported a show that basically started in an old cattle shed and has grown into a monster”. If you follow Dubshed organiser Nigel Lamont on Instagram you’ll recognise where I’ve plucked this statement from. Dubshed certainly is a monster and while it’s easy to take this fact for granted, it has to be remembered that it’s only through constant change and evolution that it has become so.
Why then, with such big changes this year, did it have so many people panicking? Yes people were excited about the show, working frantic and long hours in lock ups and sheds across the country to have their cars ready for the two day event but there was the constant whisper of uncertainty. “There’s drag racing? There’s drifting? What do you mean they’re letting Jap cars in this year?”
With a new totally new format this year people were truly spooked and with hindsight I’d say most are wondering why they had been. The new venue suited the event down to the ground, retaining the same hall as from previous years but with an extra purpose built marquee and ILOVEBASS having a tent of their own the quality of indoor spaces was much higher than previous.
If you ventured outside into the wonderfully damp Northern Irish weather you could choose to watch a competitive round of auto testing, Buttsy Butler giving his Soarer death on some drift demos, or the predominantly aircooled drag event running a single lane course over an 8th of a mile. Two stand out cars from this personally were Dave Clarkes Syncro Mk2 with a R32 turbo transplant and the “Double Cross” Beetle which sounds and goes like no Beetle I’ve ever seen. Of course the old favourite “Scrap a Jap” drew quite the crowd and resulted in two well demolished cars of Asian flavour. It’s always impressive to see someone take a car door off with nothing but a hammer!
Back inside you could find cars ranging from the 50s to a few months old, 600bhp 4×4 mk1 golfs to remapped diesels and even a rouge Volvo that managed to sneak its way to the front of the stage. Power and stance sat side by side complimenting each other in a way that only total opposites can with some cars blurring the lines of both camps. One such car was show sponsor Auto Finesse’s 20vT mk2. The guys approached the stand to take a pic for the winners slideshow and the car couldn’t be found. When asked where it was the Auto Finesse guys calmly explained it was away for a run up the drag strip. Great to see a car look so well yet get used for what it’s capable of too.
So what is the final verdict? Based on social media chatter Dubshed’s new format seems to have worked for the best with even the toughest of forum critics (we’re looking at you RMS) being mostly won over. Plans for change at the Eikon venue in the near future could mean a further change of formula for Dubshed. Should we be worried? Ask me in 12 months time.