Our good friends at Classic Ford magazine seem to operating on the same wavelength as us recently. Back in January they asked could I pop along with one of their staff writers to a run event organised by the Irish Escort Club. Happily this just happened to coincide with our March theme of 'meets'.
The idea behind the event is simple, everyone gathers at a pre-arranged location before setting off en-masse on a journey taking in the best roads in the area. We left the Speedhunters Ireland HQ at around 8am last Saturday morning to rendezvous with the IEC who were meeting at a hotel in the West of Ireland. The route was top secret and little did we know of the route ahead …
Setting out from the hotel, the thirty-plus convoy of Ford Escorts skirted around the small town of Ennis before venturing into the mountains and crossing the Burren region, a limestone landscape that really is like being on another planet. I was raised a Ford man, so chasing this convoy and listening to the sound of Pinto engines echoing across the landscape was just pure bliss.
The majority of the cars present were of the MKII variety but every car had something special that made it stand out from the crowd. You can obviously see how rallying has influenced the majority of these builds, each car containing some sort of a reference to an era where Ford dominated the World Rally stages.
Even this Series 1 Escort RS Turbo was able to join in the fun.
Having crossed the Burren and reached the west coast, it was time for a brief pit stop to allow people to refuel and share their experiences of the previous hours driving.
The next stage of the route would run south along west coast of Ireland …
… where the scenic roads became narrower, faster and smoother. This route would take us past the infamous surfing destination of Lahinch before passing over the tops of the Cliffs of Moher before reaching our final destination at Spanish Point.
The pace of the convoy was considerable, even driving a car some thirty years newer than some of this flock of Escorts, it was a major effort to keep in touch with them, let alone to get in front to capture them as they passed by.
My colleague at Classic Ford was finally introduced to the old Irish saying of 'If the crossroad's empty, give 'er plenty' …
After a long, long day's driving we eventually reached our finish point where the hotel had kindly sectioned off their car park to allow this convoy the opportunity to cool off together in evening sea breeze.
Simon was keen to capture the details of some of the cars that caught our attention during the day by asking the owner to talk him through the build of the car.
With the sun just dropping below the horizon, it was our time to hit the road and retrace our route home under the cover of darkness.
You can check out the full feature on this event in the upcoming June issue of Classic Ford magazine, in shops on May 4th.
Oh and before I forget, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh ! (Happy St. Patrick's Day !)