Back to the car meet/event life, picture a cold, damp, windy British Sunday morning at South Mimms, a common meeting point where a multitude of drivers can reach to in preparation for the usual idle chitchat, usually starting with 'I'm knackered mate' or 'cor it's cold' before focusing on each pride and joy.
This was very much a Renault Sport affair arranged by RSQUAD with plenty of Renault's highest pedigree of road cars driven by their very proud owners. Megane and Clio models of varying generations and trims lined up a quiter area of South Mimms Services.
Car meets come with great camaraderie, and that's one strong element of the scene we've missed during the pandemic. Various takes on precautionary measures and a couple of lockdowns didn't dampen the mood when these drivers got together for Return of the Renaults, adhering to the group of 6 rule while admiring and jesting with each other's car. It's a rather pleasant sight and an aspect commonly overlooked in the UK car scene.
And many spoke about this particular ride, Matt's Megane RS 265 Cup. Originally Trophy-esqe with 261 bhp and 265 lb-ft plus a handy LSD, Matt has added a host of modifications which makes this particular RS destined for the track.
The eagle-eyed can spot the Renault Sport Clio GT rear spoiler bolted to the existing spoiler and a chassis mounted front splitter, while under and inside the Megane features an aftermarket intake and tune along with coilovers and a ridiculously sharp CAE-Racing Ultra shifter. All of this transforms the RS 265 Cup to 320 bhp and 360 lb-ft, used well and hard on the track.
However this would be a trip to Thorndon Country Park, via the M25...
So, off we went.
Thorndon Country Park is a scenic place to experience a lovely walk whilst taking in some fresh air, but it was a challenge to get in and out of if you're driving. Once parked up we were able to meet up with many more Renault drivers and we perused the car park. It's definitely refreshing to see the committed few bust out their car cleaning gear to ensure their cars were best presented.
Again, it's just lovely to be witnessing a nice, calm, stress-free meet. 2020 has been a real write-off and I feared the UK car community had lost their spirit, with no indication of it recovering.
But I was wrong, I needn't worry.
For almost a year, we've had to succumb to being told what we need to do to combat a worldwide pandemic, affecting many people in so many ways. Employment status, financial status, anxiety, depression, a huge dark spiral placed upon us.
And yet, Sunday became a fun day and for a moment, we almost forgot all this was happening.
Renaults with varying backgrounds, different projects, unique styles, bespoke purposes, united with one key constant: Enthusiastic drivers.
The compliments flowed, curiosity sparked conversations, photos were taken, memories were created.
It's December 2020 and I've finally attended a car meet, my first of the year and perhaps the last of the year? Who knows, we will be lucky to experience more before the year ends and we can begin to write chapters in 2021 but if this was the one and only meet for me this year, so be it.
It was great.
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