Another week (from OhSoRetro) and another epic 130 mile drive in the old XR. This time we turned left on the M25 and headed to Silverstone. My first time there and the biggest mixed modified car show I’ve ever attended. Being honest it wasn’t my first choice of show that day and maybe next year I’ll choose differently but Beckie the founder of Renegades, Ash and Elias all people I’d met through Modifly and now consider friends were going and I knew they would have a great stand and there would be a great vibe hanging out with them, so off to Trax I went. The drive up was entertaining as usual, I love the anticipation and empty roads, so after the initial hour or so in the pitch black darkness up to Cobham Services suffering the same problems I had suffered the previous week, things were looking good. The car was running smoothly, having dressed more appropriately for the northern excursion I was comfortably warm and then on cue I heard the rumble of a southern convoy pull into the services. I was happy to see Ash and Beckie in the very nice wide body BMW, Terry in his stunning, rarely on the road (due to Terry’s constant need to change things) Escort van, a Supra and a big old Nissan Estate park up near me…
After a brief coffee stop and catch up we were back on the road, another 70 miles up to Cherwell Valley Services, but unlike last weeks mellow convoy this one was a bit more heavy footed. The others were probably poddling along happily at 75/80mph but for me it wasn’t quite the same. The car kept up better than I expected but the fuel gauge was dropping fast and I was getting a touch nervous by the time we got there. Other than the horrendous road surface on the M25 this little leg of the journey was without complaint. The further up the M40 we got the more we started to see modified cars, mainly modern but the odd classic including a yellow race car Toyota Starlet. Further up the road I saw the familiar headlights of a mk1 golf rocketing up in my rear view and Elias had joined the convoy.
The second stop and you knew we were up north (as far as I’m concerned anyway) still silly o’clock in the morning but the sun was up and the parked up cars had frost on them, unlike the hoards of modified cars parked up obviously with the same idea as us. The final leg of the journey, 20 mins and we would be on the show ground, well that was the plan, we left together, but it wasn’t long before three of us had lost the pack. Then the remaining three became two. Luckily blind faith in google got the XR and Supra to Silverstone with minimal traffic and it didn’t take long for us to rejoin the pack on track. We missed the entrance photo photographer which was frustrating but I’ll get over that.
Lined up on track and the renegade squad had gained a caddy, a Silvia, and the crowd pleaser of the crew and possibly the coolest car I’ve ever seen a Mazda pick up on hydro with a killer sound system (from Highdown audio). The squad photo made up for my lack of entry photo, if only I had parked up a bit further forward tho. Once parked up, settled in, the walk around began.
I never have to much to say about the walk around, its the same old same old really, yes of course there are amazing cars, I could tell you about them, or you could just look at the pictures. They say a picture is a thousand words, well I’m sticking with that. Silverstone was an experience, I must admit I didn’t really get to experience the experience. I’d love to get on track, but have no faith that the car won’t go pop, Id love to get involved but the journey back always intimidates me and rightly so even leaving early as I did, it was an epic return as always, but more about that in a paragraph or two.
As mentioned tho, Silverstone is huge, even with only half the track open its huge, there was plenty I didn’t even bother to walk round, we were right by the Fast Car stand and they had nailed it with there choice of cars, Dave a friend of Renegade (who sadly Ive never met) was supposed to be on with them in his stunning Marlborough 2002 but he had issues in the morning so never made it up but even with out him they still had it nailed. The AirX7 and the hydro’d civic, are two cars that have consistently stood out where ever I’ve seen them.
There were a lot of stand out cars, there were a few killa minis, some old skool JDM, more bagged VWs than I thought possible and then there was the huge Maccy Ds car park of modern Fords and Vauxhalls (odd Seat and I’d imagine fake Minis too). Now I do like modern cars, I do like some Focus’s and even the odd Astra but when you have more than a couple in the same place they all look the same. Other than Mr Foxs insane Focus none of them really stood out, which is a shame because people have put a lot of time and money into them only to be glossed over. Its was a treat to see Bethanys mk6 tho, always been a fan of her car and with its killer whale vibe and Modifly graphics it was looking sweet.
It seems theres a lot of reminiscing of the Max Power days from my generation not because they were better days or better cars but the individuality and variety was there. If you have a modern car unless you go bat shit crazy it doesn’t really stand out, maybe its because every things on finance so you need to be able to return it to stock one to three years down the line. Outrageous blended in bodykits just arnt feasible. In that case what are your options? You can stick it on bags and shinny rims, that does looks super good, but everyone does the same thing and all of a sudden the car park is just full of the same thing on every make and model, instagram is full of fitment. Of course there are many other reasons, and many other scenes, theres the ‘rat’ look, which isn’t a patch on the patina crew. The big wing crew, crazy camber, JDM, rocket bunny, the wrappers, oh my dayz, the wraps are killing it, some of the colours are insane, but they all blend in together at a show like Trax. I found myself playing spot the retro, desperately looking for something with a bit more personality, then I discovered the electronic masterpiece contained within a Max Power hangover Orion. My god did this blow my mind, I couldn’t tell what was going on, I loved the absolutely shocking (I imagine very much designed to look shocking but not really) interior. The crazy wiring, the amount of just stuff, all of which looked wired up, but whether it had a purpose or not is anyone guess. It made me chuckle.
I had a great time at Trax, I think the Renegade stand was one of the best for variety, individuality, multitude of scenes and really nice good people. Hanging out having a cuppa and a cake made the day. Now as mentioned earlier I left early, probably around 3pm, thinking lets not get bum hurt by the traffic on the M40/M25. I was doing alright till I hit the bottom of the M40 where a burnt out Scoobie had caused a tailback, someone was having a bad return trip from Trax. The traffic kept moving and soon I was on the dreaded M25, and it lived up to its reputation. I have never successfully gone southbound anticlockwise without being abused. I crawled, I stopped, I crawled some more. I pulled over and chilled out for a while, then crawled some more, I don’t know how long I was on the M25 in total but for the miles covered the time was epically disproportional. Eventually my trusty google told me to turn off onto the A3 to save myself 40 min or so, so I dutifully did. This was a blessing, all be it a eventful one, but still a blessing. I was moving at speed again. The satnav directed me via many small, uneven, potholed, country roads and I blindly followed it, part of me loved the adventure, part of me feared what it was doing to the underside of the XR, I was grateful to follow some slow drivers as it limited how fast I crashed through the country side. But even in her cheap, low, scrubby scrapy state these roads were where the little XR is the most fun. The exhaust roared as I got to accelerate out of every corner, she always handles better than I expect her too as she flys unnervingly round blind corners and when she smashed down after a bump in the road, does she stop and cry, no that’s just me inside, my little XR just keeps going. I admit I was tense but I was tired and eager to get home, it was one of those drives, when I stopped being tense I loved it, but when the tiredness kicked in, so did the tenseness. After what seemed like a pretty long time I was on the home stretch. It took a total of five hours to get back from Trax, I did a lot of thinking about it while I drove, next year will I bother with any shows that are that far away, I really dont know. Will I go to Trax again, maybe, did I love it tho, absolutely.
If Modifly was ever to do a show I guess we would want to cross ohsoretro and Trax, which I think is why Players Classic has got to be my show of the year. I loved Goodwood, I loved the retro contingency, I didn’t mind the moderns, it had a track for entertainment, and this year the weather was perfect.
A massive shout to Beckie, Ash, Elias, Terry and all the rest of the Renegade crew, thank you for having me, and thank you Trax for the final adventure of my 2018 show season.