Yes, it’s that time of year again, it’s come round fast and really is the place to be to kick start you 2013 Motorsport calendar which can mean the Garage Awesome team will be heading to one venue this weekend and that’s the NEC in Birmingham for the Autosport International show.

Our third year on the trot as a Garage Awesome team, and you can expect the best coverage from all areas of the show including the live action arena! if your not going then we hope you have a great excuse as this show really is a case of ‘Miss it, Miss out!’

See below for all the details, grab some mates, fill your wallet with fresh notes and go get a piece of the action!

AUTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL 2013

If you’re looking for the ultimate boys’ day out to get your 2013 off to a thrilling start, look no further than Autosport International!

Taking place at the Birmingham NEC on 12-13 January, a show within a show, The Performance Car Show: Powered by PistonHeads.com boasts an impressive display of supercars and performance cars, including the 700bhp V12 Lamborghini Aventador, the Ferrari 458 Spider, Audi’s R8 V10 Spyder and the fastest Ferrari ever built, the F12berlinetta.

The Performance Car Show runs alongside Autosport International, Europe’s largest motorsport show, which brings you the cars and stars from both past and present eras of motorsport. Red Bull’s Formula One World Championship winner and Ferrari’s challenger will headline a fleet of 2012 Grand Prix machinery on the F1 Racing Grid, alongside a special feature dedicated to the illustrious career of Sir Jackie Stewart.

Three-time F1 World Champion Stewart, current F1 driver Paul Di Resta and multiple 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Derek Bell and Allan McNish are just some of the celebrities set to attend the event. Visitors can witness white-knuckle racing and record-breaking demonstrations in the Live Action Arena, alongside getting involved themselves with Caterham passenger rides and karting challenges on offer.

Comprised of nine halls in total, Autosport International is the ultimate boys’ day out! Tickets for Autosport International cost £31 for adults and £20 for children aged five and over. For more information and ticket sales call 0844 581 1420 or visit www.autosportinternational.com.

Words – Ollie/Autosport

In the midst of all the Time Attack & general motorsport shenanigans that we get up to, it’s nice to just chill every so often and drop into some of the more laid back meets, and with Chris certainly the man for these kind of tasks, we sent him along to the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon.

We have covered the Stanceworks UK meets before, and although they are fairly infrequent, if low-balling, sump-scraping, perfect fitment, hard-parked action is up your street, it is definitely the place to be. Organised through the Stanceworks forums, the UK meets are often fairly central to allow as many people to attend and of course the organisers make sure that the place is suitable for cars that run this lifestyle!

Teggy

Chris stumbled across a wide number and variety of cars parked up in his short trip (the heavens opened, so he went home – his actual words!) The VAG group was of course well represented, with some smart Golfs, Boras and an Audi A4 all sitting nice and low, BMWs are a popular choice too for this style, our friends at Lowlife were representing showing off Zi’s Z4 which is attracting lots of attention both UK an stateside! An E46 estate demonstrated what perfect fitment looks like and those into the old school will appreciate the shark nose 6 series.

Of course, stance isn’t marque-ist or brand-ist or even country-ist, so with a couple of Honda Civics, Accords and Integras all showing up it’s nice to see a style that works on which ever car you happen to have on your drive, but be warned… getting it right is a tricky art!

6 series

The rat-look Nissan Sunny was of interest at the meet, although not everyone’s cup of tea, this car has actually been around a few years and has kept with the ideas and themes and worked in the touches to deliver a complete car and actually nice to see it drives around as it is and isn’t made up just for the big shows and events. Split-screen campervans are cool no matter what day of the week, and what car park you’re in, so seeing a pretty original example turn up is always a bonus and to satisfy the Jap lovers out there the caged up white EK hatch was simply stunning, we’re not struck on the odd red mirrors but the rest of the car really ticks our boxes!

So, there we have it, a quick one but important none-the-less and at a meet such as this it’s the pictures that do the talking, so I’ll leave you with a selection of Chris’ snaps and in the meantime head over to www.stanceworks.com and join up to their forums for all the details you need on where to find the next meet!

Words – Ollie // Pictures – Chris

I know, I know, it seems like ages ago, but after a mentally hectic couple of weeks for all kinds of reasons, I finally get to sit down and recall my timing sheets, my notes and dig into my memory and ditch the bad excuses to bring you the final part of the action from Time Attack as the Club Challenge guys fought it out in round 3 over the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent.

As usual, each round throws up a nice variety of new cars in the form of One Hit Wonders, unfortunately we also seemingly loose a couple as the distance, broken cars and other worldly issues stop them from being able to make it. Some names down as a OHW you may recognise, some like Richard O’Dwyer have been involved in the action at a previous round and Lee Broadhurst has been involved, but in a totally different year (09 if I remember correctly). Lee was driving one of the most interesting cars in the field, in a series littered with Evo’s, Skylines & Imprezas his KTM X-Bow really struck a chord with the crowds, even if he was getting a bit wet behind the wheel of the car with no roof! It’s great to see the variety, and it’s one of the reasons we keep coming back to Time Attack, and even more so that we often see Lee driving it around on the roads as he is about as local as you can get to us here at Garage Awesome.

paddock

At the other end of the scale; the first Vauxhall Corsa I can recall in Time Attack, Neil Bamford’s ‘B’ was immaculately presented and was really prepared to find out what the N/A 2ltr lump could produce! As we keep saying, you don’t need 1000bhp to have a go at Time Attack, it’s nice… but you don’t need it! Joining O’Dwyer in the Mini would be Lee Proctor, who kindly made our lives a tad easier by choosing a red one compared to the dark ones we have mostly seen compete. Stephen Moore brought his Evo 6 along and although it looked fairly stock from the outside, Tony Hume has already proved that doesn’t make it any less capable and co-incidentally, Tony would be missing out of this round.

Fords made an interesting presence in Time Attack in Kent with Tom Whiddett showcasing his fabulous Mk7 Ford Fiesta Cosworth, packing a YB lump, 4WD running gear and Ultimate Green paint. Airtec sponsored driver; Alan Shepherd was behind the wheel of a turbocharged Mk3 Fiesta and would be battling out in the FWD class. They say things come in threes, and after a bit of a late start, full season entrant Jonathan Morris finally debuted his Focus ST170 and would take his place in amongst the N/A drivers for the rest of the season. Finally, we get to see the long awaited Evo of Gary Searl, following his progress on Facebook has been fantastic and the car looks stunning so hopes were high he would be able to have the pace to match the effort, but as with any new build, would teething troubles come into play?

The action begins with, surprise, surprise, a nice hearty rain shower, leaving everyone unsure on how to tackle a circuit that involves corners such as Paddock Hill bend, Druids and Clearways, especially those who have only driven the track a handfull of times, and for some; not at all! The only place for me to stand would be Paddock Hill, bound to catch a few drivers caught out by the conditions as the session went on and the confidence grew. Plenty of drivers kept me entertained, Chris Hamer, Alan Shepherd, Ronnie Amis, Mike Cantello and Tom Whiddett all getting a little crossed up as they exited the top of the bend but amazingly every single driver kept it out of the kitty litter, ok so there were a few infield excursions, but the session stayed Green throughout.

fiesta

The conditions seemed to favour the guys in the front wheel drive cars over all the others, with Simon Smail’s Focus, O’Dwyer’s Mini & Bo Nielsen’s Astra being topped only by the flying Marc Kemp in the Evo. Steve Fitzpatrick continued his domination of the N/A class with an early session-topping time, and Simon Deaton’s Porsche lead the field of rear wheel drive contenders. Practice saw no real let-up in the weather, with intermittent showers throughout the morning leaving the circuit greasy but leaving the competitors no choice but to throw on the wets, suck it up and try and find that little bit of extra grip over your rivals!

It was Marc Kemp who once again topped the sheets, a few seconds down on his warm-up time, but that goes to show how tricky the conditions were to drive fast in. The rivals in his class stepped up with Pro-R Driver Ben Shimmin finishing the session 2nd overall with Richard Marshall in the Milltek GTR 3rd. Dave Coe was 4th in class but pipped by an incredible drive once again from Cantello in the VX220, showing his light and nimble RWD Vauxhall isn’t necessarily a nightmare to handle in the soggy conditions. Simon Smail did a great job as the top FWD time putting the Focus RS 6th overall just ahead of the top N/A car which of course was Fitzpatrick in the BMW.

Qualifying, and the Sun shone on the competition, quite literally! The drier track saw some huge gains in performance and the times tumbled. The lunch break action, truck demos and Civic cup racing had all helped to provide everyone with a nice, dry line, allowing cars to be pushed that little bit harder. Gary Searl fell victim to pushing a little too hard, with his freshly painted Evo taking a trip off at Paddock Hill causing a total smashing of his front bumper. Chris Hamer & Neil Bamford provided some nice slidey moments for the crowds to watch as the deceiving grip levels caught them out but managed to use some great driving skills to hold the slides!

fire

The 4WD class dominated the session with 6 of them residing in the top 7, allowing only Ronnie Amis to split them up in his Sierra Cosworth. Cantello, who had lead the first 2 sessions, qualified in second with Lee Broadhurst 3rd, although his OHW status meant as far as the championship was concerned, it would be Umar Masood in the final podium spot. It’s worth noting at this point that after the warm-up session, the other contender for this class; Simon Deaton, had damaged his Porsche beyond repair in the earlier sessions and was now continuing in his Mazda MX5 race car that he uses in one of the support series, amazing dedication!

Kemp once again topped the list, totally dominant at Brands, although his margin of dominance had been closed down to within 3 tenths as Welshman; Dave Coe was hot on his heels! Marshall remained in third overall, Shmmin picked up 4th in class, Hamer pulled of a great drive despite a slightly troubled car to find 5th and Searl, who was now minus a front bumper, claimed 6th overall. Fitzpatrick continued his flawless attack on the N/A class whilst the scrap between the civics of Holden & Proctor was split by Bamford’s Vauxhall Corsa and Morris was learning really fast all about Time Attack in the Focus.

Coe

Bo Nielsen hasn’t had the greatest luck so far this season, but managed to put his Astra as the fastest qualifier around the Indy circuit in the FWD class, followed by another Astra in the shape of the Mk4 GSI driven by Jonny Fletcher. Alan Shepherd did a great job in the Fiesta for a OHW, but the Minis of Ward, O’Dwyer and Lee Proctor were all a little off the pace in the session and Smail didn’t make a fast lap with some problems under the bonnet of his Focus.

The final was the time that all the drama would happen, and it didn’t let us down! It’s no surprise that the weather had a huge part to play too! As the cars rolled out the track was dry and the sighting lap was a quick one with the drivers desperate to get their first flying laps in. Cantello was first out the blocks and lead overall for a brief time before some quicker laps came in from Coe & Marshall, but at the end of the first lap the man who had topped the sheet all day long; Kemp, dived into the pits without posting a lap time. His issue appeared to be a loose fuel tank, so whilst the team were correcting his issue in the pit lane the cars continued to bring the lap times down. Hamer joined Coe & Marshall at the top, Amis topped the RWD class, Neilsen, Fitzpatrick, Shimmin, Fletcher, Masood & Smail all dived under the minute mark and then it happened, just as Kemp was ready to go, the heavens opened, instantly turning the dark tarmac into a skating rink and ruining all chances of anybody going quicker in the remaining part of the session. This must have been a total devastation for the Panic Link team, who not only had been fastest all day, but were battling with a family grievance just a few days before, the emotion inside Marc’s car must have been intense.

evo

Marshall’s 53.8 would be enough to see him top the podium for another good result for the GTR and the Milltek team & despite Coe being a tenth behind there was no chance of an improvement. Kemp fought his way through the rain and after an epic spin coming out of clearways, 14th overall would be his highest position. Whilst the 4WD cars seemed to have all the action, Smail had put in a great time early on but then came past with the underneath of his Focus RS on fire, causing a pit lane incident, but his fastest was enough to pip Ward & Shepherd to third, but not enough to stop Fletcher claiming his second podium finish, this time a place higher than Knockhill. Bo was the man to take the class win however, his run of rotten luck seemed to have come to an end and once again was stood on the top step of the FWD Podium.

Fitzpatrick’s scorecard remains perfect, winning every round in the N/A class and although Holden has consistently finished second, it’s almost impossible to see anyone matching his championship charge. The RWD class is a fierce battle, Ronnie Amis once again drove out of his skin to get the win, but Cantello is pushing him all the way at every round. Unfortunately the day didn’t end so well for Umar Masood, his podium position came at a price as he had a nasty shunt in the final on the exit of Graham Hill bend, backing his RX7 into the wall and causing a fair amount of damage, fingers crossed that Umar and the team can get it ready for the double header at Anglesey!

Crash

All in all, another fantastic Time Attack weekend, the weather was pants again but that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit and with the addition of some fantastic OHW entrants we saw some of the best of the best that Time Attack has to offer. The whole show moves to Wales next and the Anglesey circuit for a double header, and dare I say it… we’re starting to close in on the end of the season, so every point there is going to count! Remember to follow all the official action and get involved at www.timeattack.co.uk

Words – Ollie // Pictures – Ollie

For us, Time Attack just continues to get better & better, with each round that passes, the more and more we look forward to the next and wonder just what we are going to do when it’s all over for another year! The latter we will work out at the end of September, but for now we’re just loving the spectacle that is Time Attack and it’s seeming that each round out does the previous one! As always, the first part of our roundup of the best of the action starts with the Pro, Pro 2WD & the Club Pro classes.

Brands Hatch seems to have attracted the interest of a few extra cars amongst the classes with 4 One Hit Wonder or ‘OHW’ entries listed amongst the Pro classes. In the overall Pro class we saw a name synonymous with high performance tuning, and it’s likely you will have heard of Ron Kiddell of RK Tuning fame, who brought his fantastic R32 GTR along in the striking Motul livery. The Club Pro class received its 5th Evo in the form of the wild Brad Sheehan and the Pro 2WD class added a pair of stunning RWD machines with the Hoffmans Motorsport Lotus Europa driven by Chris Randall, and another car added to the Eurospec camp was the RX7 of Steve Putt. Dave Jackson’s Focus has been eagerly anticipated since the very beginning of the season, and finally the WRC spec Focus was shared around the social media sites a few days before, and would be out showing us what it can do for the first time!

fire

The final car to add to the list was another RX7, listed as a full season entrant for 2012 we finally get to see Phil Collard’s Mazda, after missing both Cadwell & Knockhill rounds he would be set to try and make up the points. A spot of sad news for the Pro competition as the Ameon Racing Evo driven by Rob Cowling has now been withdrawn from the championship, you may recall our coverage of the team’s year last season and it appears the bad luck has followed Rob into the new season and he has decided to call time on this year’s efforts. We hope to see him back in one form or another very soon!

On with the action! Now, I’m not going to bat on about the weather, but last year, every time we went near a racetrack, we got burnt, this year it seems we can’t go near one without getting soaked right through, so to say the track conditions would play an interesting part throughout the day’s proceedings would be a massive understatement! First up we have warmup, not a great deal can be gained from this session, many of the teams and drivers use the session to shake down the cars, check boost levels, make suspension adjustments, check tyre pressures, grip levels and for some learn or re-learn the track! That’s not to say there isn’t a certain amount of trying going on, these are Time Attack drivers and the only place they would like to be at the end of the session is at the top of the timesheets!

Marcus Webster in the Midlands Performance R32 was the initial pacesetter, on a track that was certainly damp, but had dried out a touch towards the closing of the session he posted a time of 56.1seconds. The remainder of the top 5 were all in the Pro class, with Gareth Lloyd, Ron Kiddell, Gavin Renshaw & the Metro of Mark Pollard all dipping below the minute mark. Chris Randall settled straight in to the event, posting the fastest Pro 2WD time although Gordon Wright, whom we were expecting to see in a Darrian rather than his Skyline, was not far behind. Club Pro drivers started exactly as they meant to go on, with Neil Robertson leading the charge, although the gap between his Evo, Walter Morris’ Skyline, Steve Peel’s Evo & Scott Robson’s Impreza was a mere 0.126 seconds!

RAD

Rain showers in between sessions had made the practice session a dice rolling event; were the clouds above getting ready to deposit more rain, or would the track dry out some more and add to the grip levels that had been helped by the Civic Cup & Pick-up truck support action? Gavin Renshaw in the NR Autosport seemed to find the most grip, posting his quickest time on the first flying lap and only completing a couple more before returning to the pits, his time was almost enough to win the session, but a later flyer from Gareth Lloyd put him on the top spot as the chequered flag was shown. Randall made further progress in the Lotus, finishing the session 3rd overall, and after missing the warm-up we finally got to see Steve Putt’s RX7 in action, dropping himself 3rd in the Pro 2WD class. David Leigh in the Leon had remained in the pits for both the wet sessions, whilst a very frustrated Romain Levesque, who had a perfectly repaired and modified front end after his huge off at Knockhill, was struggling to get the tyres on the front of the CRX to grip on the slippery tarmac, resulting in a time way down the board.

Robertson remained the man to beat in Club Pro, his time giving him over 2.5secs breathing space from Robson & Peel. Brad Sheenhan kept the wet Brands Hatch crowd entertained as the OHW driver had really mastered the 4 wheel drift, with lashings of right foot to keep the car pointing in the right direction on all but one occasion, when his wild driving style saw him make a bumpy trip onto the grass at the exit of the Graham Hill Bend. A few other drivers had minor adventures on and off the circuit, Warren Kelly got the Escort sideways, Gordon Wright was showing some fabulous car control sliding his Skyline and Phil Collard and Steve Putt both had their hands full with the lairy back ends of the RX7s.

paddock

After a dinner break, the support series of racing, a slowing down of the showers and a much drier track, it was time to rack up the first points of the day in the qualifying session, we were even graced with the Sun’s presence, which gave us all a real opportunity to see what these cars are capable of doing round the Kent Circuit! It’s fair to say that in the dry it really gave a few drivers that chance to shine, Marcus Webster has as close as you like to 1000bhp in his R32 Skyline, so without having to tiptoe around in the wet it’s safe to say he owned the dry session, running a 49.7 second lap round the Indy circuit, which for comparisons sake, would have put Marcus 18th on the Grid for this year’s opening BTCC race, I think that shows just how quick these Time Attack Cars can be, and also just how fast a BTCC spec race car is!

Marcus’ closest challenger in the Pro class was of course Mr Gavin Renshaw, who was a second off the pace, although the pair were split by the amazing Europa of Chris Randall, we really hope we get to see this car in action again in Time Attack! Mark Pollard & Duncan Graham scrapped it out for the 3rd Pro spot, with Pollard just pipping the BC Racing Impreza by a shade under 0.04secs! Steve Peel, who if you recall stepped straight up from Club class after Cadwell, topped the Club Pro list followed by the Exige of Jamie Wilson, who had issues with grip in the earlier, wetter sessions with the pair of them running 4th & 5th overall. 3 drivers who didn’t enjoy the dry session were Kiddell, whose Skyline had looked a little smokey in the previous sessions, seemed to run into problems and only managed 3 laps before making its way to the pits and calling it a day.

RX7

Red flags came on 2 occasions in this session; the first was for Gareth Lloyd who failed to put in a time at all, after pulling off quite violently at Graham Hill Bend with a very smokey Evo and that would end the day for the Bob Moore racing team. Wright had been going well, making good steady progress up the leaderboard in previous sessions, but the second red flag of the day was brought out as Gordon also fell victim at Graham Hill bend, loosing control of the skyline and shunting it into the barriers on the n/s of the car, breaking his front suspension and some minor bodywork and any chance of a final performance. Obviously we should report that Gordon is fine, so we hope this will hurry along the arrival of the Darrian into the championship!

The final was always going to be an interesting affair, with Lloyd’s Evo now out of action it would be a straight fight between the Midlands Performance Skyline of Webster, and the NR Autosport Evo of Renshaw. The other drivers were there or there abouts and certainly in with a shout if these 2 were to slip up, or slip off, but you have to be a brave man to have bet against Marcus or Gavin winning the session. However, this is Time Attack, and always expect the unexpected and literally 10 mins before the session went green, the heavens opened, meaning a mass scramble for wet tyres. As the session opened, Randall lead the cars round in his Europa. By this time the track was very greasy and although not soaked, grip would clearly be an issue.

NR Evo

It took Gavin 3 laps to post his best time, making the most of the driest spell as the rain continued to fall, it’s a great tactic to have and Gavin & the team really have it down to a fine art, getting the lap in early whilst the track is clear, then either returning to the pits, sitting and waiting or staying out to add to the traffic and be ready should anyone go faster. Fortunately for the team, no one did, Marcus got within 200ths of a second of Gavin’s time but the rain hampered the Skyline’s performance and despite the monster tyres and 4WD system, the 1000bhp R32 was playing a constant game of loosing grip with the tarmac.

Third overall was an incredible performance from the Pro 2WD OHW of Chris Randall, I think there is more to this car & driver than meets the eye, so will definitely be keeping an eye out in future events! The Metro took third overall, a full 2 seconds clear of Duncan Graham. In the championship, it was Gerry Atkinson who found enough grip to win the Pro 2WD class, his Leon Supacopa seems to have undergone some more visual work as well as constantly improving the speed of the car, Romain Levesque who I’m sure will be cursing the rain was a worthy runner up, and it should be noted that Fibreworx do not need to repair the front end of his CRX for the first time this season! Phil Collard’s debut in the RX7 was rewarded with the final spot on the Pro 2WD podium, and that Mazda really is a stunning car, definitely one to have a look round.

The Club Pro battle was intense, and somewhat confusing as, when the chequered flag went out, my Mobile TSL timing app had Dave Jackson down as the winner in his freshly built Ford Focus, yet at the presentation the SVA Imports Evo of Neil Robertson was awarded the win. Maybe it’s because Dave has switched to a OHW after missing the opening 2 rounds, something I need to investigate further! Both guys drove brilliantly in the rain, the first outing for the Focus proved it has the pace and the gap between the 2 drivers was a miniscule 0.088secs. Scott Robson continues his quest for the top spot with another cracking drive in the RA Motorsport Developments Impreza, not sure what changes the guys have been making but not only does it work, it also sounds more ‘Impreza-ry’ if that makes sense? Andy Barbour made it a double podium for the NR Autosport team, pipping Peel and Morris to the places although both drivers received awards for fastest Evo & Skyline of the day in their class respectively.

Next stop for these guys is Anglesey, and the double header! Another notorious weather spot as well as the challenge of keeping the car going for 2 days work, and 2 differing track layouts, this one is really going to set up a grandstand finish at Snetterton in September so you will be a fool to miss it! Top action from Brands Hatch, despite the British Summer getting involved!

Words – Ollie // Pictures – Ollie & Chris

It’s been a few weeks since we packed out tents, loaded the car with BBQ’s & beers, and made the journey down to Peterborough Showground for this year’s Modified Nationals, allowing the dust to settle and time for us to get out head around what we thought of it, how best to review it and actually consider its importance within the British modified car scene.

We’re no strangers to Modified Nationals, as Garage Awesome this is the second time we have covered it, but on a personal level it’s my 9th visit, during which I have been involved in the real ‘club’ aspect of the show; being involved in the battles for the stands and actually either organising or being part of a club that has won the best club stand trophy 3 times, so as a concept, it’s safe to say that we understand why Nationals exists and why it’s important for us to go to review it, and enjoy it!

Transit

From what I can work out, this is the 6th time Peterborough has played host to the show, with Shakespeare County Raceway, Billing Aquadrome, Newark Showground and Rockingham circuit all being previous hosts. The Peterborough venue seems to be the one that’s most suited, with its indoor arena, large showground and separate campsites and ease of access from the A1(m) and not to mention the distinct lack of locals around to complain about the customary noise late into the evening!

The show itself is what we have come to expect from nationals, they have stuck to the same format that seems to be generally liked and understood with the site having separate camping areas and the main showground playing host to a raft of car clubs, owners groups and trade stands. The inside seems to be almost totally dominated by car audio displays, baring the always controversial Top 25 show car competition.

The organisation have a tough job to do, we know that Mark, Jax & their loyal team work tirelessly over the weekend and months before to make sure it’s as smooth as possible and sure, there was a bit of a que to get in, but with an event that’s as popular as Nationals continues to be, that’s bound to happen! One thing we can say, and say with the highest regard, is that the staff that do all the donkey work over the weekend are fantastic, the same faces we see every year are always smiling and totally understand that they are going to be dealing with plenty of low cars on a field, lots of drunken antics and banter and no doubt plenty of male backsides being flashed and a handfull (excuse the obvious pun) of boobs! Top, top team and certainly one of the positives from the event!

Manta

I suppose we’re not doing our job unless we talk about the cars that were there, it’s obvious the numbers have dropped over the past few years but it still brings in some of the quality available. The addition of a hard standing Top 52 (inside joke, it was officially the Top 50) was a great idea, although the execution wasn’t so good. The idea of the Top 50 was to extend a space to those who failed to get inside for the Top 25, so expecting to see some pretty high standards, unfortunately it seemed that either some people were lying on their entry forms or the area had no pre screening as some of the cars, not all, but some, were dreadful and we’re not just talking about taste, the quality of some were poor too and really should have remained in the campsite!

The clubs always put on a decent bit of effort, with trophies to be won most arrange a good clubstand and overall the standard of cars was high, OK, so at some points you could be mistaken for walking around a show in the mid ‘naughties’ with bodykits, neons and even Lambo doors making an appearance, but hidden within that was some up-to-date styling and some trick modifications! Modified Nationals is one of the few shows left where it’s OK for the kits etc, it’s targeted towards the younger audience and we have all been there, we’re not expecting 17-20yr olds to turn up in cover car Civics, 10 second Fords or drift car Skylines, so your average Joe, with his lightly modified first car and a crate of Carling in the back really is the spine of the show.

The night time is where a lot of the people come alive, with 2 separate dance rooms playing various styles of music, DJ’s and stage shows, I’ve no doubt that to some, the car show is the secondary reason that people are there, again, not a bad thing as it’s important that when the younger modifiers grow up, they stay in the scene or we will never have any new, fresh cars appear as they discover cheaper insurance, bigger power and more shows! The fair was in attendance and as always busy, especially when lit up at night, although it is in direct competition with the ‘Show & Glow’ competition, where folks turn up with their neon-lit cars and compete for yet another trophy! Again, it harks back a few years, but it’s still popular in the right places!

TANK

All in all, we had a good weekend, sure the weather was shite on the Sunday and we left a few hours earlier than planned, but it really is what you make it, if you turn up on your own and expect the highest quality car show, you’re going to be disappointed, if you turn up with a BBQ, a tent, some beer and, most importantly, some mates, with the mindset you’re gonna have a good time, it really could be one for you! We are concerned that it’s going to die, however, and that’s where we feel it’s now time to make a few changes; static shows are few and far between and with most now offering strip or track action, it’s very difficult to attract an interest in static shows. So, we would like to see something new, maybe it’s improvements to the Top 25/50 and make it an award that people really do chase (kinda like the old Max Power Top 100) or add in some drift demos/drift passenger rides, 0-60 strip or something along those lines that can work with the venue.

All in all, a good weekend for us, something we would probably only do once a year, and when we do, Nationals will be the one; plenty of interesting cars for us to discuss and look at and as you can see from our snaps, variety is key at this one and it’s almost certain your car will fit in! Dates are already out for next year’s show, it’s already in our diary and it’s certainly one to put in your diary if you have a show car, with the Top 25 being the pinnacle of show cars in the UK, the standard is incredible! Log on to www.modifiednationals.co.uk for all the info you need!

Words – Ollie // Pictures – Ollie & Rich