There was a little bit of everything last weekend. On Friday, I was invited to Mondello Park by the guys from SEAT Supercup Ireland to test one of their cars. You can read how that went HERE.
On Saturday it was off to Navan to meet my old buddy Donal Loughrey. Donal lives in the US these days and was on a rare trip home on business, so we returned to his aunt’s house where we spent a lot of weekends about 20 years ago, hacking around in Minis, drinking tea and Ploughing the land- true story! Donal had told me to use his mudlugger while he was away, but after a misfire proved hard to trace I put it into storage for a few years. Long story short, it disappeared and although Donal didn’t really care, like Cúchulainn, I vowed to replace it. Out of the blue about 6 months ago, whilst chatting about Classic Cars (and the Austin 7 he is going to sell me someday), Stephen Boden mentioned that he was upgrading his trusty ‘plugger and
selling off his older one. A deal was struck, hands were shaken and I was to (briefly) own a front engined Nissan powered Mudplugger. Barry Rabbitt collected the car from Stephen when the deal was done and was kind enough to drop it to Navan for me last weekend. True to his word, it fired up easily enough. It was only running on three cylinders though (not something you hear about cars these days) so Donal used the old fashioned trick of quickly touching the exhaust manifold to find out which plug it was, then whipped it out, replaced it with one from a scrap car lying around and that was the problem sorted.
As Donal headed off into the fields and ditches to test out the capabilities of his new machine, I had to get home, don the suit and head for the Green Isle Hotel for the Mondello Awards. The Fiesta Awards had expanded to include the Champion of Mondello series’ (who knew they ran this year?), the Baker Automotive Strykers, the ASK Supercars and the Adelaide Masters too- so a big night. Apart from a few early admin hiccups, the night went well and the banter was fantastic. Cregor and I decided to run a competition for the best social media post with the hashtag #MondelloAwards. Unsurprisingly, one of Dave Griffin’s #TeamDG gang took the honours, having brought a bottle of brandy to fill his trophy only to find that the lid didn’t come off! Well done Terry Chapman. Contact me for your prize.
As ever, with these gigs, the banter and stories went on until the early hours, with a few diehards apparently still discussing hugely important racing related issues when the sun came up the following morning! We left at about 2:30 with Jenny being kind enough to drop Cregor and Katie Palmer home en route. Only on very rare occasions have I piloted drunk people home, when completely sober and it is not a nice experience! We were all very quiet and sensible in the car though, as you can see from this picture! Sorry Jenny! Ian Beatty had mentioned during the evening that a few people were getting together the following day in his delightful local Kellys of Timahoe to watch the much anticipated Moto GP Grand Finale. True to form he messaged me the following day and I made my way out towards the bog. Ian and his wife-to-be Sharon have renovated a house just a stone’s throw from a proper old fashioned pub, complete with old fashioned inactive petrol pump out the front. The pub is renowned for its Guinness so that’s what we had. Ian, Sharon, myself and Erik Holstein propped ourselved up at the bar, complete with bike experts Jim Halligan, Steve McIndoe and our F1 man David Hall. We cheered and shouted as Rossi scythed up through the pack initially, then boo’d and hissed as Marquez effectively played rear gunner for the title winning Lorenzo- we might as well have been in the Gaiety!
All in all, not a bad weekend, even if I may have packed a little bit too much in. This weekend is a bit quieter, thankfully, as I have plenty of work to keep me busy and I also have to finish a couple of pieces for the CarSport Annual, amongst others. Plenty to look forward to though, as we have the final round of the Irish Rallycross Championship next weekend, with Wayne Boyd taking on the Fiesta regulars and Derek Tohill again bringing out his newly acquired Fiesta Supercar. After that it is just a week to the Fiesta Endurance race, where Cregor and I will be broadcasting live audio for Motorsport.ie
No rest for the wicked.
Until the next time,