King of the Ring 2017 Round 3

For the first time in a while I had a Saturday off of work which meant I could head down to King of the Ring fairly early to get a good look around all of the different attractions and catch up with some people and hopefully bring you a report of King of the Ring that is a little bit different.

First off lets talk about the Proper Droppers sound of competition. Car audio is never really something I’ve covered on this blog and, truth be told, outside of talking about head units at work, it is never really something I’ve particularly had much to do with. The Proper Droppers host a sound off competition at King of the Ring so I thought I would take a wander up to the top pits to see what all the noise was about and what this scene is like.

A sound off competition, to my limited knowledge, goes like this: The cars drive up to this booth where an SPL tester which measure the depth and frequency of bass is put into the car, the stereo system is then turned right up and a peak (loudest) and average score is taken. The loudest wins!


It sounds fairly straight forward but there is a lot of science, money and time that goes into these builds! A lot of the systems are loud enough to flex the body panels of the cars surrounding them! Whilst I don’t know a huge amount about the systems themselves this one needed four Yuasa HSB110s to power it. These are one of the most powerful non AGM batteries Halfords sell and four of them works out to just shy of £600.


So that’s £600 for the batteries then add the cost of that huge amp, subwoofers, door speakers, wiring, sound insulation etc and you have a system that is worth three or four times the Mk5 Escort it’s sitting in.


A lot of the cars that were competing looked fairly stock from the outside which surprised me. I suppose the focus of the builds is the audio system though so it makes sense. Take this ML class Mercedes for instance, looks completely stock from the outside but peek in through the rear windows…


That’s not to say there weren’t some really well presented cars present though. This Astra had some serious time spent on it!


Lambo style doors are always a talking point. I think it’s dependant on the car. This pulls them off pretty well.


This little Fiat and Fiesta van were pretty cool too! The little Fiat Seicento and it’s predecessor Cinquecento have the potential to be fun little cars. If you get the opportunity Google ‘Class 7 Autograss Cinquecento’ they are super cool!


The I.T guy also requested a couple of shots of his Vectra, he was really nice and helpful so it’s my pleasure to feature a couple!


They are kind of tucked away in the top pits at King of the Ring but they well worth walking over for a snoop, especially if you’ve not really had much to do with audio. They are all super friendly guys and gals and are happy to answer any questions you have.

Back towards the main track and clubhouse is the Autoglym Show and Shine.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you will know that I am a fan of classic cars and a bit of a purist. Therefore a lot of the shows I cover here are concourse events which focus on the preservation of originality of classic vehicles rather than the presentation of modification yet whilst there are modified vehicles on the show and shine at King of the Ring I wouldn’t be against showing one of my cars there.

The reason I say this is that it’s quite an open show. As you will see from the photos below there is a wide variety of cars presented, most shows are just for Jap/German/British/American cars or judge on vehicle originality or the style of modification it’s just about presentation and wowing the judges and in my opinion if a car can bring a smile to someone’s face then it is doing it’s job well!

I’ll take you on a little tour of the show and shine area which basically wraps around the clubhouse. At the side of the clubhouse facing the track are the ‘top 10’ cars. Closest to the gate was Martyn Gile’s Zestino Tyres liveried Nissan S14a. Martyn and his car were here to support Belinda Challis and the rest of the Drifther team with their stand.


Note judge Kris Morris sending me a subtle hand signal.

Another car in livery was parked next to Martyn’s Nissan. This Bentley Continental was sporting a ‘Big Baller Rally’ livery. I’d like to do one of these rallies but expensive cars, exotic places and scantly clad young ladies are just a part of my daily routine. I feel the magic would be lost on me.


Next along was resident DJ Luke Paul’s Mazda RX8. Those wheels are really cool!


Sitting next to Luke’s car was this super clean S14a! I believe those wheels are off of Queen Boudica’s chariot so they are probably worth quite a lot! Joking aside about the spikes I actually fell in love with this car. It’s nice to see someone doing something unique with an S-chassis.

Next up is this Mk5 Cortina estate. This is more my kind of thing, cool old car with period correct mods. I know they were fairly shunned at the time but I think these Mk4 and 5 Cortinas and the Mk1 and 2 Granadas have aged really well and are such cool cars!


Parked next to that was another cool Ford! A 1968 Mustang, again with period correct modification. I like the original look air cleaner.


Then on the end and in complete contrast to the Mustang, was Mr Matthew Fellow’s R32 Skyline GTR. (bum shot because people were standing in front of it)


The rest of the show and shine was on the other side of the clubhouse. Stupid side note but I want to call the trackside of the clubhouse the front and the other side the back even though the main entrance is on the side that’s not facing the track so that side should be the front and the trackside should be the back. Help!

Ryan Osborne of Essex Rotary had parked his Mazda RX8 on it’s own in a prime spot for a little photoshoot.


Then three chaps in mint green cars parked in the spot in front of him. I didn’t mind though, the W202 Merc was cool!


There was also an earlier W201 190e! The AMG boot lid with lip is a nice touch.


You may have spotted the Austin Sprite sitting next to it. These look so good as race cars!


Behind the 190 and the Sprite were a group of Mk7 Fiestas.


A really nice bone stock GT86. My favourite modern road car actually.


Plus an Audi A3. If you’ve met me in real life you will know that I am not a fan of the Audi owner, this guy seemed to be a part of a really cool club filled with nice chatty people though so I hope he is the same. I didn’t see anyone in a badly fitting suit running around red faced calling everyone a w***er so I assume he is not a stereotypical Audi driver.


Nice car too, Rotiform make some pretty cool wheels. Hi Aiden at the back! Didn’t see you at the time!

On the other side of the car park was a little line up of Imprezas and an Evo. I’m sorry guys but I’m team Impreza. I like flat configuration engines in both Subarus and Porsches.


Through the gates of the clubhouse car park and into the public entrance there are a few other cars lined up. The only two of note for me was this really clean Evo…


…and the winner of the Autoglym show and shine, this Nissan S13.


It was nice to see such a varied turnout on the show and shine and it’s been nice to actually give it the feature it deserves on this blog.

The main event was of course the drifting. Normally I would write you a run by run report of the battles but my notes were so sketchy it’s probably best that I don’t embarrass myself by trying. This should give us a little more time to focus on the awesome people and cars that make this event the success it is.

All the regulars were in attendance including the chaps from MAPT Motorsport. These guys work well as a unit; they drive well together and all have their roles within the team. Paul Parnell is the social media chap then Mark and a couple of the others are mechanics, they have a sign writer and merchandise person too. It works well and they set a standard of professionalism amongst the teams that frequent King of the Ring.

Mark Chapman

Jon Hudd

Alex Chapman

Tom Frewin-Clark

Jamie Stanton 

You may have noticed Paul Parnell’s red and black E46 missing from this line up. He was about and drifting but was out of action at the time that I was taking photos in the pits with a broken steering knuckle. Thankfully he was able to get that fixed in time for qualifying.

Darrel Smith of Team Overdrawn was also doing his thing with his touring E46. Washing it as the dirt is extra weight.


As per usual Darrel and his car were on point all evening. He qualified first and made it through to the top 16. Darrel’s a top bloke and has been at Arena for ages. He also used to do a lot of judging at Rayleigh RC when that was on the go. It’s always cool for people to support their local scene.

Team Twisted were also present. Tom Yate’s M3 powered E36 coupe. This thing sounds savage but was defeated by Alex Chapman who was driving a slower car. That’s the beauty of the unpredictability of drifting.


Along with brother Robbie Yates in the mighty Touring.


I’m not sure who Alice is but this little purple compact belongs to Anthony Feery. This car was literally thrown together for the event as his regular car isn’t working. Shows the dedication these guys have to their craft.


Garage Pandas. I didn’t get a good pic of it at the time but that little hard topped yellow MX5 is turbo’d and belongs too Steven Elliot. It sounded and went really well but was unfortunately knocked out of its first battle by the unstoppable Darrel Smith!

This is Martin Cheeseman’s E36 saloon. I was gutted that he scrapped the compact but this is a really good looking car too! I think it’s the first time I’ve really been able to get a proper look around it. Love the wheels! DSC_0019DSC_0020

My favourite cars were this Volvo 240 Estate. We’ve seen it at Arena many times before but I had assumed it had gone to the big Arena in the sky! Glad to see it still out and about!


Plus Richie Gilbey’s Mercedes W202 230k. I’ve been plenty of W202s on Arena but none with the shortened super charger pulleys which give them this really strange whine. The car went really well though!


I also got to catch up with Richie’s brother Marc who was involved in a bad car accident just over a month ago. It was really nice to see him out and about and able to stand on his own two feet! He’s such a nice guy and I wish him the speediest of recoveries.

Merc 1

Richie was also driving with his Dad’s old stock car racing number which is a nice touch. He wasn’t the only one out there honouring his parents. Johnny Smith was running a big Cancer ribbon on the bonnet of his car in order of his Dad who died of the illness. My Mum thankfully managed to get through her cancer but I know how tough it is, not only for the sufferer but for their friends and family who have to watch them go through that ordeal.

Adam and Steve once again created an amazing event with a great atmosphere. Judges Kris Morris and Danny Grundy have been great judges for the series, there hasn’t really been any times I can think of that they’ve made a call I haven’t agreed with, especially having looked back over it on the livestream.  Ron, Darrel, Jodie and Simon from Essex Transit Specialists all did a great job keeping everything organised on track. Jodie actually has her car up for sale at the moment. A 2.8 converted E36 compact with lock mods and coilovers. A beast of a car for £1000!


Thanks for reading if you would like to see more of these posts make sure to follow this blog or follow me on the following social media platforms

Twitter: @Garage_RFrancis
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  1. Great write up dude, glad you got love for the volvo. Check out bad taste racing on fb to see more of it and all the other bad taste cars

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