Overdrive at Mondello Park Raceway

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Sunday morning, 8am …………. and it was with hangovers and weary faces that a small group of RMS members gathered in the carpark of McDonalds, Sprucefield, to make the convoy down to the Overdrive event at Mondello in Dublin. Upon arriving, I was greeted with the horrible news that the McDonalds wouldn’t actually be open until 9am, so my plan to have a high quality McMuffin breakfast immediately went out the window. There were a few familiar faces there already – Mook in the bling Astra; Mk3 Lad in his newly sprayed Golf; BBSBoy in his rarely-seen Mk2 Golf; Vtec99 in his kitted Civic, and a few of our other stand cars including a mint Peugot 307. After a short pause for any late arrivals, we fired up our engines and quickly made our way out of Sprucefield.

We were joined along the way by AMG306 and made the trip to Newry in reasonable time. It was now bordering on 9am, so we stopped at a petrol station just beyond the town where we were able to pick up some much-needed Euros for the toll bridges down South. More importantly, breakfast was now available in the form of a chicken and stuffing sandwich, which went down a treat. Our next stop was at the petrol station just off the Dundalk roundabout where we met up with Graham and Gtraynor. I proceeded to assist the economy as best I could by filling up the M3 with cheap irish juice (most of which evaporated long before I got to Dublin).

The convoy to Dublin was as fun as ever, and after a slight delay and a minor loss of direction, we found ourselves outside the main entrance to Mondello. Entry was 20 euro per head but free for the drivers of show cars, which was a relief after the controversial entry charges at the Aghadowey show a few weeks back. Driving into the main arena, it was clear that no matter how the day went, the show was squaring up to be a major one on the modifying calendar. It seemed that there were already hundreds of cars on display in the show & shine section, and the sound of squealing tyres from the drifting arena was clearly attracting a lot of attention judging by the crowds headed in that direction. We parked up with the rest of the guys and quickly got stuck into a bit of polishing; as usual, the long drive had left a nice layer of grime on most of the cars.

The show consisted of three main areas : the show & shine, which consisted of the usual stands from websites and automotive firms; the 2-lane drag strip, where they were carrying out timed runs; and the drifting arena, where some of the best drifters had been invited to test their skills on the twisty Mondello track. After having a look around some of the impressive cars on display (including a lot of high-power stuff such as Skylines, GTOs, Supras, etc), myself, Bronk and Mook made our way to the drag strip arena to catch some of the racing. There was already a huge crowd gathered on both sides of the strip and it was difficult to see all of the action, but I did manage to spot ……………… a Mini beating a Skyline? Clearly there were going to be some interesting races and a lot of ammunition for pub talks.

After another dander around the main arena, we decided to check out the drag strip and see how our illustrious webmaster Andy Cooper was faring in his 3.0 24v Vauxhall Senator. Not one to shirk when it comes to style, Andy made sure the Senator was immediately recognizable with the huge RMS logo up the side and the red bucket seat standing out against the white paintwork. There was a real variety of cars entering this – from £30k tuned Silvias down to £1k 200sx’s and old BMWs – proving that this really was a competition where skill counted rather than money. We also spotted Alan McBride with his ex-cop Omega, and Sideways Buff in an automatic Lexus. Credit must be given to Buff here for managing to make the event after a disastrous head-on smash earlier in the week. The on-track action was extremely entertaining, and Andy was clearly pushing his car to the limit, holding long drifts at breakneck speeds through some of the longer bends. He had some tough competition from some of the more established drivers but he did very well to make it through most of the rounds before being knocked out. The Option Motorsport team were also over from England and these guys really made it look easy – for anyone who has never seen them before, I suggest you check out some of their videos to see the experts in action (//www.racecar.co.uk/optdriftclub).

The rest of the day was punctuated trips around the usual stalls, burger vans, all backed up with some (admittedly dodgy) music from the Flush Bus stand. Come 5pm, exhaustion was starting to set in and we returned to the cars to wait for the drifters to pack up and start making our way home. It was at this stage that we heard the fastest drag strip car of the day turned out to be a rally-spec Peugot 306 packing no less than 700bhp – check out the times for the drag racing and drifting at the end of the report.

All in all, Overdrive was a very well-run event. The venue was excellent, the organization was good, and there really was something for everyone to watch to ensure you didn’t get bored. The number of cars on display was above and beyond what we usually encounter at an Irish show, and the quality seemed to be higher too. If anything, it proved that large open-air venues (preferably with a track) really are the way to go; indoor shows are starting to become a little repetitive. It’s a sure thing that if Overdrive 2 returns next year, it will be every bit as successful.

<strong>Drifting</strong>

1st – McDonagh, Mk2 Ford Escort
2nd – Ian Coyne, Nissan 200SX
3rd – Brett Castle, Option Drift Club Nissan 200SX s14
4th – Murphy, Nissan 200SX S14a

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About Author

Gaz is an avid car enthusiast who has been part of the RMS admin team for over 10 years. In his spare time he enjoys writing car articles, teaching his son bad manners and fantasising about his lottery win garage.

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