Introduction

It’s the style, the excitement and the shapes that are the unique, raw ingredients.

The howl of a 4A-GE or a Pinto on the ragged edge is the icing, and the overall sense of enjoyment of everyone you meet is simply the crowning cherry atop the Retro Stock cake.

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An Irish track day event stuck firmly in a time of days gone by, the back-to-basics approach of Retro Stock has seen its fortunes ebb and flow over the last decade. For a time, they were massive affairs, attracting hundreds to Mondello Park for a feast of old school action, but recent years have been more difficult.

It’s understandable too; the values of many of these cars have risen sharply in the last decade, so the thought of thrashing on a Mk2 Escort, Sierra Cosworth or AE86 Corolla is becoming a lot less palatable for most. But that is not to say there aren’t plenty of people wanting to have a good time behind the wheel when the opportunity arises.

The rules of Retro Stock are simple: Your car must be pre-1988 (save for a very limited number of exceptions), you can either go sliding or set grip lap times, and you need to have a blast enjoying old school cars.

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While grids could be filled easier back in the day, by 2019 Retro Stock was in a bit of a pickle. Date secured from the circuit, the chances of the event running were dependant on entries. Things were tight, even down to a Facebook group chat being set up to scour every possible person willing to come out and play. The determination worked and Retro Stock grabbed its chance to shine once more.

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It’s weird to be looking back at event images 18 months after the fact and still be cracking a smile flicking through the album. Retro Stock just made things click for me on this particular day. I’d sort of fallen out of love with the drifting scene, but this was a return to what had got me into the motorsport in the first place. Declan Munnelly, the green Ford Mk2 Escort and Mondello Park was my lasting memory as a kid watching early Prodrift events, and here it was in front of me all over again. (Check out the proper throwback to 2009, courtesy of PMcG)

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Everywhere I looked, it was an onslaught of cool sights. Opel Mantas and Asconas duking it out, a plethora of old Toyotas, and even a smattering of oddball retro machines.

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Some chose to destroy as much rubber as possible…

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…While others clipped apexes in the hope of shaving tenths of seconds off their PB lap times.

No matter the vehicle, be it full race car, home-brewed missile or immaculate road car, there are smiles and waves everywhere I looked.

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Ireland is a small place, and as such it’s difficult to sustain a massive calendar of events on the Island. Days like 86 Fest have absolutely boomed in recent times, but Retro Stock has slowly slipped to a place that without the dedication of a core team, chances are it could have been lost to history which is a terrible shame, but also a case for optimism for how the ’19 event went. It seemed to stoke the flames, and then 2020 happened.

The future is uncertain right now, but so is a hell of a lot of things. One sunny day in late 2019 Retro Stock was mega. Properly mega. It’s days like that which are missed so terribly right now as cars gather an ever-thickening layer of dust in sheds or at the back of workshops. I know for sure though, that the day they are let loose again, things are going to be wild.

Cian Donnellan
Instagram: Ciandon
Facebook: CianDonPhotography

Gallery

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