<em>"Andy, why are we in Toomebridge?"
</em>Graham (Ka Klub) pointed out that I had just lead our Fire and Ice convoy astray by several miles when heading from sandyknowes due to following the road/chatting/absent mindedness. Anyway, our disgruntled followers (Chris Cole, Chris Suitor in new Smart Car, Stuart Patrick to mention a few) had to persevere with some frantic B-road action in the lashing rain pursuing the corolla as I tried to hack my way back to Ballymena and hopefully end up at Aghadowey at some point on such a dreary day.
Fire and Ice has been running for a few years now and has the reputation for being the ultimate "wrecking" event in Northern Ireland where in various styles, rubber is melted into the tarmac. Now this is an outdoor event and this particular Sunday morning the rain was dancing on the road so you can imagine my surprise when I had a phone call from Mark Lunney (our resident drifter, Sidewaysbuff) who said he had been queuing to get in for an hour. When our convoy eventually arrived I was amazed that so many people had turned up. Everyone was getting soaked, but it didn’t stop people lining the edge of the track to watch madness ensue.
The car parks were filled with the old RWD sierras which were tested to destruction throughout the day. Dozens of Corolla GT Coupes (Twin Cams) lay waiting to get out and circle – spare Superlite alloys wearing Nankang tyres lying in the boot, and once the track gates opened all hell broke loose. Excellent. The track cars were allowed out in groups to warm up the crowd. The experienced twin cam drivers did their usual, the sierras were wild and one blue impreza turbo driver impressed us all with his determination to out-diff everyone else. Floor it, then on with the handbrake for 90 degrees, power back on and hold her to full lock for tight fast rings, move down the track and repeat was his plan for the day. I have never seen a scoob being given (and taking) so much abuse – with tyre smoke pouring through the bonnet vent and out the windows the impreza regularly disappeared in a cloud of smoke!
Behind the track was the metal shack housing the Modified Motors stand and many drying spectators. At the other end was the show and shine area which included the RMS stand of Chris Suitors Smart Car, my Corolla and ChrisNoMates’ MR2 Turbo. Crowds gathered round us as the two Chris’ blipped their throttles and the <em>wtissch</em> sound of dump valves filled the air. It was great to see other site members there supporting the event as well.
Back on the track and SidewaysBuff was out in his Carlton GSi living up to his name drifting at every corner. He was out for fastest lap, along with a Cossie and an Impreza. The wet conditions hampered the performance of all the cars on the track at speed which was another unfortunate effect of the weather.
Next up was the donut competition were the RWDs were queued up and had to perform figure-of-eights around two cones. This was won by the red Twin Cam (on R plates) – the driver showing the extent of his ability by moving the cones closer together and then comfortably diffing between them. Then everyone was out in groups for a general diff before the show and shine cars / peoples choice came out for a show lap.
Thankfully the weather changed, the rain stopped and things started to dry up. Traction improved for the higher powered cars and a Lotus Carlton looked scary as it charged down the straights sideways! Most of the other show and shine cars however chose to take a more leisurely pace to let the crowds have a good look (though I did spot ChrisNoMates throwing a few rings in the MR2.) Winners for various sections included the Lotus Carlton, Clio v6, Opel Ascona, and the overall winner was the Breyton rim-wearing silver BMW.
Definitely worth making the trip, I’m sure this show will be a success for years to come. Now to get myself an old 2.0 Sierra!