OVER the weekend the Dubshed car show returned after being sidelined by Covid and at the same event was ‘The Stages’, a Gymkhana-style motorsport competition organized by Monster Energy.
The two day event was a much needed pick-me-up and although rain was forecast, sunny weather prevailed throughout the weekend which was also much appreciated.
It was a brilliant event at the Eikon Exhibition Center in Lisburn, with Dubshed filling both halls and the surrounding area with an incredible amount of cars on display.
As Dubshed’s name suggests, it started out as a Volkswagen show but now in its 13th year it has grown into one of the largest car shows in Ireland.
Although the focus is still on Vee Dub vehicles, it attracts many cars from the VW and Audi group, as well as German cars.
As always, there were a large number of finely tuned Golfs where BBS alloy wheels were still the preferred choice for VW owners.
But there was also a huge crowd of Japanese cars and the weird and wonderful American muscles and some bikes too.
One of my favorite cars from the show was the black Toyota Soarer.
They are a very rare car to see in person in Ireland these days and a car that is very dear to me as I also own one.
This fine example was the much sought after 2.5 liter 1JZ powered variant and also had a manual gearbox, most Soarers were cars.
My Soarer is the V8 version but I had it converted to a six speed manual but unfortunately it’s still off road, project cars never seem to finish.
But next year my Soarer will definitely be in Dubshed.
Away from Dubshed, backed by Monster Energy and backed by the famous Solbergs rally family, The Stages was a whole new attraction and event in itself.
The Stages includes drift, rally and time attack elements on a track designed by the team behind the more popular Gymkhana GRiD.
Went over two days, Saturday being a practice day for the drivers to get used to the track.
Two of the competitors were teenagers Abbie Geraty and Clarke Hatton, and both are not old enough to hold a driver’s license to drive on the road.
But they both got their first track experience by driving two beautifully prepared BMWs.
THE TOP 10 STAGES:
1: Stephen Halfety, BMW 328i, RWD 1:42.067
2: Tim Jackson, BMW 328i, RWD 1:43.618
3: Craig Anderson, BMW M3, RWD 1:49.774
4: Will Gamble, Ford Escort Mk2, RWD 1:51.752
5: Glen Robertson, Porsche Cayenne Turbo, AWD 2:08.579
6: Donall Burke, BMW 328i, RWD 1:50.626
7: Harry Kerr, BMW 325i, RWD 1:53.583
8th: Peter McCartan, Mazda MX5, RWD 1:55.696
9: David Robinson, Nissan S14, RWD 1:56.330
10: Conor Falvey, Nissan 200SX, RWD 1:56.653
Sunday saw action at The Stages and after a full day of competition, the event was won by Stephen Halfety in a time of 1:42.067.
And Stephen sat in a borrowed BMW 328i as his own BMW Touring Drift Car was waiting for new parts and didn’t finish on time.
Tim Jackson, also in a BMW, finished just under second after losing his brakes in the finale, and Craig Anderson completed the podium in third place in the BMW M3.
The event was dominated by BMW cars but there was also a cool retro Mk2 Ford Escort driven by Will Gamble.
He piloted his Mk2 into fourth place with a time of 1’51.752 despite not having as much power as some of his rivals.
And of course, since The Stages involves a lot of powerslidng, some Nissan S-chassis drift cars were also included in the competition.
Father and son drifted forward as a team, with Tomas and Conor Falvey bringing their immaculate S15 Silvias with them.
Both cars are equipped with the six-cylinder RB25 engines from a Nissan Skyline, Conor’s car produces around 500 hp, his father’s car even more with 650 hp.
And the noise and smoke these machines made was amazing.
Conor, who is only 14 years old, is already an expert at the wheel of his S15 and just to show how good he is he finished the Stages event in 10th place with a time of 1:56.653.
The stages were also open to 4x4s, but only one brave soul, Glen Robertson, competed, and what a beast to compete in, his mighty Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
It’s called the 955 Safety because Glen uses it as a real safety car at many motorsport events.
But as it weighs 2.5 tons it’s not exactly the nimble machine to toss around a purpose-built circuit, but he clocked a very respectable time of 2’08.579 and received a trophy for his efforts.
Monster athlete Luke Woodham also finished at the Stages event.
But instead of driving his Nissan S14 drift car, the four-time Gymkhana GRiD winner actually brought back a very special machine from the UK.
Luke also owns an American Pro Lite race truck.
And to wrap up the proceedings, he took to the track once more, joined by his buddies Al Harris and Peden Nielsen, who were also burning rubber in their Lexus IS200s and donuts around Monster Energy’s grid girls, Pamela Ryan and Shannen Donohue , made.
I also got to experience Luke’s Pro Lite truck firsthand from the passenger seat as he took me for a hot lap in his 450hp V8 beast, but more on that later.
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8615246/monster-energys-the-stages-motorsport-event-brought-the-shred-to-dubshed/ Monster Energy’s THE STAGES motorsport event brought the SHRED to Dubshed