Starting Off On The Right Foot | Matty Ferguson’s Honda S2000

Finally. I get to write a feature after the 23 months consisting of Japan stuff, a load of event coverage, a brief bit about an MX-5 specialist and his R33 GT-R, some more car shows, and most recently the introduction of Civik. So yeah, alot has occurred since my last and debut feature I decided to kategorize as a ‘Fokal Point’ article, which some of you might remember involving Josh Harbour and his R32 GT-R. If not, you can catch up on that here.

One of, if not the primary, reasons for me signing up to a WordPress subsription and purchasing a web domain was that I wanted to be able to share my experiences on this planet as a carboy. But I’ve always known – even if not consciously – that the reason magazines and online blogs appealed to me so much were the inspirational glimpses of the people behind the assembly of metal, glass, rubber and plastic.

Yeah, the cars are cool and all that, but the journey people go through alongside their personalised mode of transport is what always captured and captivated my attention. At the end of the day, our vehicles are just the medium through which we convey our feelings brought on by how the car drives or what the vehicle represents.

So when Hamza and I were taking a stroll along the paddock of Croft Circuit during Mimms Honda Day in July of this year, I nearly twisted my vertebrae beyond repair when my eyes were magnetically drawn to Matty’s Honda S2000. The way the car just sat there next to a bright red Audi R8 and managed to detract all of the German supercar’s presence, I knew instantly this roadster deserved more than a one-take glance.

The upload count of shots posted up in the threepart blog should provide clear indication of how much of my interest was piqued by this two-seat Honda from 1999. After the show was done and over with, going through the images from that day, I realised how much Matty’s S2000 stood out to me.

Why, you might be wondering?

Well, I’m gonna let the photos show you exactly why this S2000 is an up-and-coming build that’s about to get even sicker than it already is.

We’d arranged to meet in his hometown near Darlington, somewhere I’ve only been once, and that was for a company training workshop, but that’s besides the point.

I scoped out a location to shoot Matty’s car in that wasn’t too far from where he was based. Early that morning I headed straight to our agreed meeting point, where I was having a little pre-shoot scout. Matty messaged me and invited me to his house as he was still cleaning up the motor since he didn’t find the time to the night before.

I drove over to his, parked my car up and we chit-chatted as he went over his favourite points on the car.

Turns out the evening before that morning was a bit of a episode involving Matty’s friend’s seized brake caliper off of his Mini Cooper S. He almost thought his bone was broken/fractured in his ankle, due to a caliper piston rewind tool going haywire from being used in conjunction with an impact drill (not recommended).

It is what it is though, shit does and will happen. We weren’t working to a strict schedule or nothing, it was a Saturday after all, and I think 8am on a weekend is like 6am on a weekday, so early enough as is.

An S2000 is a highly-versatile chassis, and that is mostly down its outright good-looks. You don’t have to do much to the car in the cosmetics department, since Honda’s designers did a grand job on perfecting the exterior of the car to a point where there isn’t an angle from which you’ll grow tired from looking at it.

Matty informed me of the date he took ownership of his 2005 model-year, hardtop S2000, and I was kinda taken aback by how recent I’d thought it was: June 2020. For some reason, I felt as if the car had been carefully crafted over a longer period of time, going through a couple phases before this one. But, no. Matty bought the Honda in factory trim, still wearing its original coats of Silverstone Metallic, with the only visible modification being a K&N Cone Air Filter.

The S2000 has always appeared cartoonish when viewed from the front, head-on. It’s as if the design engineers intentionally gave the car a personable character.

Now, there’s not much to say about Matty’s car, and that’s in no way me being dismissive, of course. The fact I don’t need to say much about the car, theres’s no need for me to be throwing all these fancy adjectives up just for you to take more notice of the details, so that in and of itself speaks more volume than I ever could. I mean, if you can’t appreciate this awfully simplistic method of modifying, then maybe you’re expecting too much.

Understandably so, with the amount of things we’re bombarding ourselves with via social media, you can’t help but be desensitized to anything that’s truly relatable. Until, perhaps, you stumble across something like this car for the first time ever, IRL, no filter, no bullshit promo, no hashtags. Just a real enthusiast showing how he likes his cars by putting together an example that is undeniably well-finished.

Obviously, I don’t mean finished in the literal sense, as whilst I was snapping away with my DSLR on this random research building’s carpark, Matty told me of his vision and this is most definitely not that, yet.

But let’s stick with what we have in the present.

What exactly are we all looking at here?

The “elephant in the room”, for me anyways, certainly has to be the non-Honda body colour. Initially, I’d assumed the “Tahitian Green Pearl” paint code was nabbed from the CR-Xs and EF/EG Civics, and pasted all over the S2000’s panels, but that colour is much more vibrant in retrospect. This shade of blue-green remains quite deep and subdued under direct sunlight, and frankly, the Honda pulls off Emerald Green miles better than the sourced-from Citroen C4 Cactus ever could.

By the way, the colour change was the very first alteration Matty chose to make to his car once he became its rightful owner. Although, from what he told me, it was a bit of a nightmare back-and-forth scenario with the bodyshop not completing the job to a standard you’d expect for the respray of a modern classic sports-roadster. Putting the past aside, the car’s bodywork was of course refinished properly and retrieved back to the hands of its owner for further tweaks to be made.

Fortunately, the low-hanging fog that morning muted all but our immediate surroundings, and the photos came out better than I’d imagined they would. I’m going to come across as arrogrant, but I have to admit that this is the best work I’ve produced thus far in my life as a person with a camera.

Back to the subject in fokus…

Once Matty got his whip back in the home garage, the tone was set for him to begin riffing off and enhance what was already at that point a great-looking car in its new lick of paint.

S2000s weren’t all that tip-toey off the showroom floor with their factory-spec suspension and ride height. Most definitely not as bad as a standard MX-5, but still, there’s always far too much tyre-to-arch clearance with standard cars, unless you’re buying a 911 GT3 or similar.

Matty selected a set of coilovers made by MeisterR, a company that has bases in the UK & USA. The choice Zeta CRDs have brought the ride height to a very acceptable distance to the ground, and tightened up the existing well-balanced chassis giving the driver just enough tactile feedback without compromising usability on the road, helped by the 9kg(F) & 7kg(R) spring rates.

By the way, the owner isn’t some up-and-coming YouTube sensation or a Forex trader’s prodigy. Yeah he’s a young guy in his early 20’s, but he’s still studying part-time whilst working a full-time job in the civil engineering sector. And he hasn’t rolled his car into a garage, tossed them the keys and demand for them to turn it into some kind of Insta-famous riceboi machine. Matty and his pals have all chipped in and carried out the work themselves, that includes fine tuning the suspension to get it cock-on without the tyre chafing against the inner arches and busting a tyre.

So, as you can see, not much is “going on” under the bonnet where the F20C engine resides. Time and resource will eventually come around for the owner to invest some of his attention to the powertrain, but all in good time. As it sits currently, the only alterations made to the engine are its Invidia Q300 catback stainless exhaust system allowing the F-series to emit it’s waste gases freely, but keeping the neighbours happy(ish) with a high-flow catalytic converter made by Berk Technology / Magnaflow.

Oh yeah, and if you didn’t spot it, an oil cap from Spoon Sports keeps a lid on things.

As Matty propped up the vented OEM bonnet, immediately grasping my attention was this piece sitting right on top of the Koyorad “Half-Size” aluminium thick-core radiator. If you’ve followed my Civik blog series, you’ll know that I was a bit miffed how my J’s Racing pressure cap wouldn’t fit onto my Koyorad rad. I was baffled as to how Matty’s fits and why I don’t have the same luck as him, haha 😦

15+ year old rubber most likely were not in the best of condition, so Matty went and chucked on some Spoon Sports polymer hoses for piece of mind.

I can imagine those of you who happen to be S2000 owners too, are interested in Matty’s choice of wheel and their fitment.

And if you happen not to show intrigue, are you okay? The flow-formed RG-D2 wheels by Yokohama Advan are a difficult option to discount when configuring your dream build, regardless of the chassis, they look great on everything! Matty chose to fit up a set of staggered 17″ wheels, 8J at the front, with 9J in the back, offsets measuring ET44 and ET45 respectively.

And I can’t not mention one of the greatest tread patterns of all time, courtesy of the Yokohama Rubber Company. AD08RS compound has been equipped to deal with everything input by the hands and feet of the driver, matching up to the staggered wheel sizing with 225/45 and 245/40 tyre specifications.

The Advan wheels’s polished lips gleam as they offset the Racing Hyper Black spoke faces.

Efforts have been made by Matty to ensure that the car appears as low as possible, without giving off that “stancey wanker” vibe. He’s done a damn good job if you ask me.

How is this car still relevant as ever? Honda, bring back an affordable high-performance FR two-seat sportscar, please, before you go all “Greenpeace” on us petrol-junkies.

Back onto the subject of the aero trim applied to the exterior of the car. A carbon fibre ducktail partly left bare to exposed the weave when viewed from the rear, carbon fibre sideskirt extensions made for an FD3S RX-7, and the smoothed OEM “AP2” front bumper & original lip spolier. A Voltex rear diffuser made of CFRP wasn’t in the best of shape so Matty chose to remove it from the car in case the damage went any further, but you can see it photographed here, if you so please.

Without sounding cliche, sitting passenger whilst Matty directed the S2000 through fast and slow B-road bends, I could sense a link between man and machine where both were in harmony as G-forces pulled the ~1270kg mass dynamically whilst the four tyres maintained grip throughout.

I jumped out the car to take a few panning shots as Matty zipped past me on a country lane. Thought I’d get some practice shots in with the local wildlife behind me.

The car isn’t crazily loud, but it sings a tune you wouldn’t want any other way.

When something looks as good as it goes, a sense of temporary bliss comes into effect. This was one of those moments.

Before we called it quits, Matty suggested a cool photo-opp spot not too far out in the countryside.

We drove up to a pair of electric gates that opened automatically, rolled right through all the way down this long-ass driveway, realising that we may or may not have been trespassing, haha.

We weren’t doing no one any harm, so I got Matty to position the roadster in the middle of this random household’s driveway, and let the shutter release.

Next thing we know, a lady in a new Land Rover Defender enters the premises and I’m thinking we’re about to get booted out or maybe worse! But Matty must have done some sweet-talking as I heard her compliment the Honda that was on her private property. She was 100% cool with us being there, we kept off the grass, and that was that, she just carried on for another 5-miles (exagerrating lol) to her doorstep.

Buddyclub LED Sequential Tailights complete the rear-end without over-doing it. To be honest, it’s probably not far off a “modern-day” interpretation of the S2000, similar to what we saw at TAS 2020 with Honda’s 20th Anniversary Concept, only this has nicer wheels…

That’s all I have to say about Matty’s S2000 right now. It doesn’t “break the internet” (yet) nor does it need to (yet). I’m positively sure that the evolution of this vehicle is in its infancy under the careful and particular owner.

Keep an eye out, is all I need to say, both right here on soulfokus.net and Matty’s IG @mattyfer5.

| B O N U S G A L L E R Y |

Japanaholik’s Journal | Gunning to Gunma in the Honda Inte-R(ental)

This point in the Japanese journey was one I was looking very forward to. Every carboy’s dream is to live the ‘Initial D’ life, and become one with the touge. This time round, I made sure to book a rental car out with more horsepower and pizazz than your average Daihatsu Micromachine. Luckily for me, a company based in Noda, Chiba has a fleet that would make any JDM-fanboy swoon/faint, so why look anywhere else when these lot had all you could ever want.

My criteria for a hire car to get about in on a three-day road trip included the necessity of boot capacity for two large suitcases and a backpack, so the Lamborghini Gallardo was out the window (as if I could afford it). Since binge watching a playlist of all the Best Motoring videos with English subtitles on YouTube, I became to admire the DC5 Integra Type-R, so much so I started looking at ones for sale. They appeal to me as a do-it-all car; drive it to work, load it up with shopping, take it to trackdays. The rental company did have a Civic FD2 Type-R, which is supposed to be the successor of the Integra coupe, but I didn’t need 4 doors, so I made my choice months in advance because I had never experienced a pure Type-R behind the wheel and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

The fact that I fantasized almost every day and night leading upto my voyage in the ‘InteR’ solidifies the reality of the naive overestimation I projected on my adventures around the mountain routes of Japan.

This Honda had over 250000 kilometres on its digital clock (~150000 miles) and most of that mileage appears to have been some fair abuse/neglect.

It all started off well; Recaro seats hug you tight, the gearbox was precise and every shift in ratio could be felt, and that K20 can bring the ruckus on full tap! I did notice, however, the steering felt heavy and a bit uncommunicative, like the power steering had been deleted or something. A few miles into the journey towards Saitama, just north of Tokyo, the throttle didn’t want to open until you had pushed the pedal with enough force which in turn resulted in nearly breaking your neck and claiming whiplash injury. It seemed as though it was jamming shut which I guess is safer than being wide-open, but still not what I had expected and to make matters worse the “engine check” light illuminated. The car ran fine, but I wasn’t taking any chances by beating on the car anymore than necesscary, so I just had to drive it at a pace I could have driven a Daihatsu Matchbox :(…

Arriving with the “Teg” in one piece and running on its own K20 power, we park up in the front of Panspeed. It doesn’t take a detective to know what this tuning house is all about, with the colourful array of rotary-engined beasts lined up on the forecourt and stacked up on the ramp.

Panspeed are synonymous with RX7/RX8 performance tuning and racing. They are known for their wild, squared-off widebody conversions and sending their demo cars around Tsukuba in sub-minute times. More then anything, I admire the outlandish style of the cars that come out of this Saitama-based shop. Nobody cares about the fastest car around a track if it doesn’t stun you visually.

After pestering the chief mechanic (whose name I have embarrassingly forgotten) who took his time out to not only show us around, but also kindly spray some lubricant on the throttle cable winding of the Integra (which didn’t manage to cure the sticky pedal), I grabbed a T-shirt and we were on our way to the hotel in Gunma, the middle of nowhere when compared to the pigeon-coups of Tokyo.

Before we raced up into the mountains of the prefecture ‘Initial D’ was based on, I planned on making a pitstop at a lesser known garage in Maebashi that goes by the name of ‘Total Car Service Usui’.

I first came across TCS USUI featured on the Narita Dogfight site, as Sean caught some shots of Usui-san’s time-attack NA8C MX-5 Roadster at Tsukuba a few years ago at an Attack event.

Not only was it special because all I ever see is Hondas on NDF (not a bad thing when they’re shot and annotated by a truly knowledgable car enthusiast), but when do you ever see an MX-5 this well done and this well used!? Here in the UK theres a few time-attack runners and then you have the spec-car race series which, in my opinion, lack individuality and total freedom when it comes to vehicle design and setup, but that, of course, is inherent in particular type of motorsport.

All I knew beforehand was the address of TCS USUI, and that incredible Roadster the guys have built.

I turned up to what seemed like a very plain roadside used-car dealer. A handful of standard-ish MX-5s, kei cars and a quirky off-road Jimny were all I could see. I assume Usui-san saw me taking photos of his motors outside, so he came outside to greet a delivery man and then looked my way. This is where it got awkward because of the language barrier, but I reckon he sensed my reason for being there.

He welcomed me in to the interior of his shop where there was a counter in the middle buried by all sorts of stuff, from retro oilcans to numerous volumes of the Wangan Midnight manga. You do a 180 degree turn and your faced with inlet manifolds, oil coolers, alloy radiators, steering wheels, crankshafts, engine blocks, and more oil. Its mad how in Japan even the tiniest shop can have shelves rammed with parts so neatly organised.

Then I came clear with my intention – I wanted to see his attack machine for myself. He smiles and leads us outside. Behind this double-door of a makeshift garage, there it was. Usui-san was pretty cool about me taking photos, so I just went crazy and shot as much as I could.

It has obviously changed since the last time I saw it in 2016. No longer is there a white exterior panel on the car, as it has been resprayed in a dark blue, along with revised front and rear aero. The amount of detail and workmanship that has been executed is nothing like I have ever seen before on a Roadster. Man, I wish I asked Usui-san to fire it up, but I fear not because I plan on making it out to an event when the car has its legs stretched out on track sometime in the future, you can count on it.

After a pretty busy day of mostly driving, we get some indoor DIY BBQ aka teppanyaki, and call it a night.

Thats all for this entry. Hope you saw something you liked, maybe one of you were Roadster owners who now feel they need to up their game, haha. As always, keep scrolling for bonus portraits. In a bit…

Japanaholik’s Journal | Spoon Sports’ TYPE-ONE

The morning after our first day in Tokyo, we awoke early welcomed by the scorching sun at around 8:00am, and it was only going to get warmer. A lot of people dislike the muggy climate, but it really doesn’t bother me. Anything above 20 degrees should be bliss for us Brits.

A combination of bus and train travel landed us drop dead centre in Shinjuku Station: the world’s busiest with about a billion commuters and travellers passing through annually. Managing the maze the train stopped at, then finding out Type-One was not open yet, I figured we might aswell hang around near the station and check out the shops in the vicinity.

I found a camera equipment store – a few were dotted about the area outside the station, actually – but it wasn’t open for an hour, so I killed a bit of time in an arcade. (Some of the following photos were taken with my new Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8 – 4 lens I bought for a steal of a price).

These places are nuts, you will see full-blown RPG-adventure game stations being button-bashed to death by teens and salarymen alike. I suppose its an escape from bitter reality for some people, thats why gaming is so addictive. I clocked one race on Wangan Midnight and saved the rest of my change for the countless train tickets I’d have to buy during the rest of the trip.

After strolling through the hustle and bustle of central Tokyo at peak-hours (which is pretty much all day and night) we hopped back on a train to Suginami, heading west out of the capital.

Spoon Sports, for those who may not know, is the holy grail when it comes to tuned and modified Hondas. If I were to give my ranking of the Japanese automakers, Honda would easily occupy one of top three positions. I used to own one, albeit a very lukewarm, slow model of the FN / 8th generation Civic (Type-S).

Here is a photo of it pre engine failure due to me driving through a “puddle” (flooded waste water drain) with a cold-feed air intake kit that sounded the dogs bollocks, up until it snorted the sewer system up, bent a rod and then proceeded to spit it out through the block.

Okay, it wasn’t from the glory days of Hondas such as the DC2 or EK9 Integra and Civic, but the chassis was very sharp and made you work that 1.8L engine; a proper momentum car. It was decent and for a decade year-old model, it still looks modern today.

Anyway, as we all know, the aftermarket sector of the automotive industry is huge when it comes to anything with a ‘H’ badge. But Spoon Sports springs to mind, often when a VTEC addict wants to get a move on. Spoon is known for the highest in precision and durability when it comes to their performance parts. Tatsuru Ichishima, the founder of the company, started up racing Civics and testing out his bespoke suspension and engine components live on the battlefield, so you can be guaranteed said parts will take plenty of use and abuse.

Spoon Sports Type-One isn’t just a typical tuning centre with over the counter parts available to the public, but they also offer their customers education on how specific components will affect the overall feel of the car. I don’t know if they still do, but the company did deliver ‘Engine Lectures’ to those who wanted to brush up on their skills and understanding of engine and suspension tuning.

The S2000 you see above was Team Spoon’s weapon of choice when entering the Super Taikyu endurance race series in Japan during the year 2000’s campaign. Fast forward from then, the No. 95 car has progressed and now sits as shown. It features an assortment of visible parts, including the fastback hardtop made by Mugen (if I am not mistaken), Spoon aero-mirrors, Spoon V2 front bumper, and Spoon S-Tai(kyu) bonnet and rear bumper, Spoon Monoblock brake calipers, and wheels by Prodrive (which suit the car well, maybe its coated in bronze) just to name a few.

There were two technicians tending to a customer’s EK9 Civic Type-R, I didn’t want to distract them as they were working so I just snapped away and they seemed fine with it. They are probably used to seeing a lot of visitors, particularly foreigners, so its just another day in the office for them.

Honda’s new sportscar, that is not the mental NSX, is the S660. These things are so sick, I regret not hiring one out when I was there. Mid-engine kei cars are the shit for real, and I can imagine them being a bit lairy at first when set up with track-ready suspension and tyres due to its short wheelbase, but I would 100% daily drive one.

The ground floor is the where the clean room is situated and can be very blatantly seen through the front glass screen as you approach the shopfront. Technicians are busy working away meticulously with the world passing by in front of them. Interesting how this area of the garage isn’t tucked away in a corner in the back, I could imagine this would really test your fokus and concentration skills.

Not much was occurring downstairs. A couple of S2000s and a demo FK7 Civic resided on the shopfloor not being worked on, so we decided to dip out of there and quit being a nuisance haha. I reckon I took enough decent photos whilst there, but Spoon Type-One is definitely a shop I would return to, on the off-chance they would have the NA2 NSX there for me to shoot!

I’m done here, so keep an eye out for the next entry in this Japan series. Hope you enjoyed, as always, I appreciate your time.

Harewood Hillclimb 2018

Last year’s warm-ish spring season was when I attended the hillclimb event over in Harewood, Leeds. The course is lay out on a portion of a farm, which made for some picturesque shots. This was the first time I had ever ventured out to an event of this kind, as it has that ‘grassroots’ air about it, which was what I reckon pulled me in. Saying that, the day that I went, it seemed that all categories were competing so there was the whole spectrum of machines as you are about to see…

A basic black DC2 Inte Type-R sat out on the lawn, in what appeared to be JDM specification if you go by the square reg plate and ‘better-looking’ front end.

Simple styling on this NA MX-5. Reg plate says UK model, ‘EUNOS’ side stripe decal says Japanese domestic. Whatever the case may be, this car had a FRP replacement bonnet, as if the aluminium factory fitted part isn’t light enough! Well, I suppose when running the hill you’re gonna go for gold!
My all-time favourite BMW. This Phoenix Yellow example definitely matches the coupe body perfectly; the flared arches are accentuated when the light beams off the paint.
Another surprising Japanese import. Hailing from Toyota’s golden era, this SW20 turbo-equipped version was parked up but I did not see it run. This one seems to be a Harewood regular from looking at that rear bumper sticker.
Appears to be used as a daily run around, as the OEM seats are retained but Willans harnesses have been bolted in for the driver. Stable seating position is crucial when having to manage corners at the limit.
Interior reminds me of the NB MX-5, especially the centre console. Although, the MR2’s flows into the gauge cluster hood, making for a more driver orientated design.
Another Bavarian bruiser…
This rare-to-come-by 1M coupe sat out in the visitors car park and caught my eye immediately. It has so much presence.
This Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio was also in attendance. This is such a breath of fresh air amongst all the typical German high-performance saloons I get use to seeing in the UK.
Oh yes. What were the odds on this boxy beast rocking up to the show!? Even this model had plastic wrap on the driver’s seat, which makes me wonder whether it was the same car I encountered at the Classic Car Show (NEC Arena). These WRC derived weapons are legendary. You can barely tell that it is a 5-door hatch, because the rear box flare sits so proud, it makes the overall length of the car seem shorter.
Now, for those who are thinking I am a Lancia fanboy, you’re mistaken. But to have two Lancias in one day only makes sense for me to capture both of them and show you. This Lancia Beta coupe wasn’t too far away in the grassy field. I admit they look cool, must be those twin dual headlamps. That crooked tailpipe is quirky, I wonder if that is standard or someone decided to add some character to a slightly – dare I say – bland rear end.
If I remember correctly, a Ferrari owners group made it out to run the hillclimb, believe it or not some Ferrari drivers like to DRIVE their prancing horses.
This Ferrari 355 coupe is more than you can afford pal. Okay, that ‘The Fast and The Furious’ reference is not completely fitting, since this was not a convertible. That MR2 would have definitely given it a run for its money.
No idea what this was. Somebody, enlighten me.
This LanEvo was all belts and braces.
Boxer brute. I quite like the look of the latest WRX offering from Subaru. Has more style than some of its predecessors such as the ‘bugeye’ and the GR model hatchback.
For the initial duration of the day, these single seaters were at the front line. Very ‘Formula-1’ based design, but due to their inherent lightweight, most of these were running motorbike engines with reasonable power, and even more potent power-to-weight ratio.
Soaking in the scenery was nice. However, I do recall it being warm as the sun’s core that day, so I was also soaking in sweat…
Most of whom were driving these, I am sure, were young teenagers which was bonkers considering how swiftly these were moving up the hill!
The Italian V8 monster is tough to tame, as this F430 twitched its rear on exit more than once. Still, I commend those owners for trying, albeit in a poorly suited environment. I guess the risk is low driving up a bendy hill and barely having the space to stretch the legs of a 480bhp luxo-sports machine.
At the other end of the scale, a modified Peugeot 106 skirted up the track with pace.
This was probably my favourite competitor of the event. These are uncommon, and probably for good reason (unreliable(?)), but all I know is that the Fiat Coupe 20V with those bronze 4-spokes is the meaning of style. Well done.
Well then, that was a brief recount of my trip to the Harewood Hillclimb last year, and I might return in 2019 who knows. It wasn’t overly crowded, the course is that short you can catch the cars fly by you from any viewpoint, and you might come across something you would never expect in the rural outskirts of Leeds.

Cadwell Park TrackDay – The Orange Peeled Off

Last summer on a visit to Cadwell Park, I joined Luke who, at the time, owned a homebuilt kit car. Now, I have never been keen on kit cars, especially the Lotus 7/Caterham “style” variety. It must be something to do with my awkward feeling towards replicated designs. This topic is something I could write on and on about, so I am going to stay on course for this one.

This particular machine Luke built in his garage is an MNR Vortx, space-frame tube chassis, fibreglass lightweight body, driven by a 1.8 BPZE engine from a Mazda MX-5 NB/MK2. The basic concept is excellent though, as I experienced in the passenger seat that day at Cadwell Park, which nestles in Lincolnshire, UK.

This blog post won’t revolve around his car however, as I did not get the best of shots in retrospect, but other cars were out there blasting around the 2.18 mile course which is actually designed for motorcycle racing; picture narrow track width and grassy runoff areas.

Waiting game…
Okay, I am going to have to open with this beauty. The FD RX-7 you see in front of you is a full RE-Amemiya GT kitted spec. The highlight of the car was the colour and unfortunately my photos do not do its aesthetic quality any justice in my opinion.
It was well put together and style like this is rare to come by, definitely in the UK anyway. But it sure is a treat when you witness something as wild, but simultaneously disciplined in the way it stands. I chatted to the owner briefly, I can remember him having some teething issues with a new single-turbo setup, which is a shame but I manage to catch a glimpse of the rotary ripping out on the field.
I do wonder what the status/condition the car is in at the moment…
Good luck trying to find a trackday where an MX-5 isn’t present. I mean, how could you NOT want to drive one of the purest sports cars ever created, on a racetrack?!
Future historic legend; flipped the FF (front-engine front-wheeled-drive) game on it’s head.
There were two EP3 Civic Type-Rs out that day, both equipped with this hatch mounted GT wing. Part of me sees the appeal in it, part of me realises it kind of looks out of place…
Maybe here, with the trimmed rear bumper, the spoiler’s toned down wing-stands suit the chassis more so. Downforce times call for downforce measures I suppose.
Luke getting a feel for the track more than the car, as he had already made some familiarity with it at a previous shakedown which did not go quite as he planned. Good to see him stretching its legs with confidence, albeit the day cut short because of an electrical gremlin…
The highlight of the car’s performance was most definitely its ability to change direction almost immediately. The G-forces you experience are atmospheric, and made me wonder what on earth F1, or even entry-level Formula cars for that matter, feel like.
One off incident occurred that day, which luckily was not too serious, driver was intact and physically sound after bouncing his Ariel Atom off the tyres midway through the day.
Taking a wander in the paddock area where both drivers and cars take a breather, I took a closer look at some of the motors attending. This K20 swapped EK9 was very nice and cleanly done. What is most impressive though, is the fact that the driver had one prosthetic leg, so the car was kitted to enable the driver to operate the clutch by hand control! Incredible.
This ‘RWB’ styled Porsche was cool. I know very little about these German powerhouses, but I have always felt that they have been held with high regard and respect as sportscars, so there must be something to them…
It did/does look good out there though, and it sounded even better.
One-make duel. For French cars, these hot hatches are not all that bad.
This Starlet Glanza is a very uncommon sight, so it was a breath of fresh air seeing it being thrown about. The deep turquoise colour suits it perfectly.
Track check up; the safety/pace-car M235i BMW for the grounds made its rounds.

I hope to return to Cadwell Park in the near future. The entire place has a cool vibe about it. That wraps up this “throwback” post. Getting out there and shooting more track events is one of my aims this year, so, until next time…