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Two of the best places to spend a warm summer evening in my mind are both located in Essex. One is the Stow Maries Aerodrome when there is flying and the other is Arena Essex on a drift night.
They are two very different locations but both induce a sense of tranquillity. As the setting sun casts it’s golden hues over the horizon it’s relaxing to watch the century old aircraft of Stow Maries’ collection amble across the sky or a chain of drift cars effortlessly slide around the short oval course whilst the wetted concrete glimmers under the dying light.
It’s not just me who seems to feel this way. At King of the Ring this weekend in the show and shine area there was a content, relaxed vibe as groups of friends wandered slowly around the show and shine area quietly admiring the machines that Dirtee South had organised to be in the display areas.
The owner’s were relaxed too. Sometimes at these modified car shows you get owners showing off the power of their stereo systems or revving their cars in a bid to attract the surrounding crowd but there was no flamboyancy here. Owners would quietly attend to their cars; occasionally cleaning off any dust that the atmosphere deposited on the gleaming machines which bathed the surrounding areas in the aromas that companies like Autoglym and Meguiars work so hard to achieve.
(side note: The VW above was my favourite car of the show. It’s simple, but very well executed and the changes made simply add to the original character of the car, not detract from it.)
The charming smells of polish and bodywork cleaners and conditioners were not only stemming from the show and shine area but also Dirtee South’s stall by the main grandstand.
Dan from Dirtee South has been working hard on growing his range of car detailing products and brought them all to display and sell to the public. As you can see he has quite the selection.
I’ve yet to try any of these products but my Autoglym supplies are starting to dwindle so I will be able to invest in some over the summer.
However, I did take the opportunity to buy a Dirtee South shirt! All of Dan’s stuff is made in house, from the stickers to the printing on the T-Shirts to the embroidery in the hats. The has a huge range of designs and colours available too!
This is the shirt I brought. As I’m getting more and more body confidence I’m trying to steer away from my usual black t-shirt and jeans and am trying some different colours and more vibrant patterns. I like this blue camo!
I’m wearing it as I’m typing now. The materials are super soft and the vinyl has held to it nicely. Sometimes with these heat-pressed vinyl shirts you can get some corners that haven’t quite sealed right in the design but this seems to have taken really well!
Dan has also been building this little Corsa van. Modified vans are very cool and this one is a great promotional tool for his business. The vibrant colours draw the eye and being white, when it’s clean it’s a great demonstrating of his detailing products and services!
Spot the sticker!
I invite you to have a little meander around the rest of the show and shine area with me. I didn’t take as many photos as I normally do but you can see that the cars there were well presented and nicely done.
Although I said the VW was car of the show for me this little convertible Clubman Mini was also quite spectacular. It was in great original condition and I would imagine is quite the collectable.
We also had a rather special guest arrive in this blue E36 BMW.
I always thought her Maj would be more of a Jaguar fan myself.
Luke and Warren from Final Form were also there. I didn’t get any pictures of it unfortunately but Luke brought along his Dad’s Estima to bring his DJ equipment. Luke’s Dad sadly passed away and left him the car. He has some big plans for it and if his other builds are anything to go by then I think he’s going to make a nice job of it. His Dad would be proud for sure!
The relaxed atmosphere spilled over into the pits. There were a few mechanical breakages that seemed to be causing a little stress; Paul Parnell’s power steering pump failure for instance, but fr the most part drivers were sitting around in the sun chatting with their friends between runs.
Lee Reed had parked in the shade allowing his big Volvo 940 to cool off.
Nerijus was there in his yellow Skyline. This is always a car I like to see on track as it’s bright!
You know how I always say that things are getting a little serious at King of the Ring? Well here is a tube frame fronted BMW E30 with a clam shell front end.
Johnny Smith’s compact is for sale. He is going on to do his HGV licence and focus on grown up stuff for a while. I wish him the best of luck in whatever he decides to do. We have’t met in person but he’s always been cool online.
The car fully MOT’d and is £1700 on the Borbets or £1300 on normal BMW alloys.
This dude has a YouTube channel, you can find it here: Mad Greasemonkey
Hollie Kidney was back out in the Z32 300zx
Sporting a rather smart sticker.
It always makes for an easy photo; taking the cars as they line up to go out:
Getting them coming back in is always good too!
They were running Arena anti-clockwise today just to be different. It kind of threw me off for photos. Hopefully they do it a bit more so I can learn about some different spots where shooting anticlockwise works. Ultimately I just need to get my PLI so I can shoot from where ever I like.
I would imagine that running counter clockwise makes things interesting for the drivers too. Alex Chapman very kindly took me out for a few laps and it’s amazing how much your perspective of the track changes going the other way around. Even as a passenger it felt alien.
The conditions also made things difficult. As much as I love the summer, and love evenings at Arena in the summer, the heat means the track dries up very quickly. This means that one lap the track could be really wet, then after a few laps it can get patchy and it may even completely dry out by the end of the session. This makes it really difficult for drivers to predict the grip in the track.
I managed to get a few shots whilst we were following Peter Spinks. Again, I’ve not met Peter in person before but being the awkward sort of chap I am I was responding to him even when he wasn’t talking to me. Excellent first impression 10/10 Richard!
Once we were back into the pits it was time for the drivers briefing. After that some of the cars got a quick bath and then it was onto qualifying!
The MAPT Motorsport cars always look good when they clean. They take a lot of pride in the appearance of the cars too and looking professional.
Team HD also brought their full compliment of cars out to play. Another team who’s cars look really good.
Then it was time for qualifying. I took a couple of videos. The first is of Rhys Gamble. I only caught half of his second qualifying lap as I didn’t go to the drivers briefing, or pay any particular attention to any of the cars before hand, so I didn’t realise that the course today was more than one lap.
The second was Hollie Kidney’s full qualifying lap:
Focusing on Ron for a second because he’s a wonderful human being!
Sadly my phone died after this so I couldn’t take any more videos. I don’t have a video capable DSLR but I do have an old school camcorder type thing which I believe shoots in 1080p. If you would all like to see more video then let me know and I’ll bring it along to the next one!
It was at this point that I realised that I hadn’t taken any photos from the Propper Droppers in the top pits. On my way there though I had to do a little house shopping.
The interior styling was what fashionable types call ‘minimalistic’
I assume these were the show homes as the rest of the estate had big signs around it saying “do not enter”. I suppose the residents are entitled to their peace and quiet.
Anyway, Propper Droppers.
Propper Droppers is a sound off competition. People compete for who has the loudest stereo. There are lots of different classes of car so if you would like to compete check that you are eligible for the competition by checking out their rules page.
The cars that turn up to this are always unusual. There are full wheel base vans, SUVs, estates, hatchbacks and just about everything else in between.
These early Suzuki Swifts and Vauxhall Astras are becoming quite few and far between now. I’m a little too young to really remember the Astras being popular but I certainly remember the Swifts!
All in all, from my perspective it was a really chilled out enjoyable evening. Aurimas Vaškelis took the overall victory with MAPT Motorsport’s Jon Hudd and Paul Parnell taking 2nd and 3rd place.
As per usual, thanks to Adam and Steve (It’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve! Sorry couldn’t resist) for organising another amazing event. To Dan and the rest of the Dirtee South crew for putting together an awesome show and shine, all the drivers for putting on a good show and for everyone for coming out and making all this possible.
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By Richard Francis