Before I start my nonsensical ramblings, you should head to Speedhunters.com and read Maurice's words on our Saturday morning in the Kingdom of Ireland.
His version of events have portrayed this special day better than anything I write below ever will.
Moss contacted me mid September to say he and Cian have this wild idea of gathering a couple of homologation specials and organising a little photoshoot. "Would you be interested in videoing it?", the text read. I didn't need to be asked twice.
Excited, I made my way to Killarney the night before, in preparation for a 5AM start to be at the foot of the Tim Healy Pass by a 7AM sunrise.
As it turned out, I was the first to arrive - a result of having the shortest commute to the meeting point. I parked up my 'borrowed' Renault Kadjar camera car and reclined the seat, keen to catch the last dregs of shut eye. Less than 10 minutes later, complete silence was broken by the burbles and bangs of 4 cylinder turbo and through the gloom emerged a grey ST165 Celica.
Half an hour later, the small lay-by meeting spot was full. A quick glance along the line of cars revealed Lancer's in almost all evolutions, Impreza's, a double whammy of Delta Integrale and a hatrick of E30 M3's. Fantastic.
With the camera mounted and balanced on the gimbal, I bundled everything back into the Renault and followed Cian up the early stages of the pass, keen to get into position before the sun broke and the first of our mini throwback to the nineties hurtled into view.
Although I've spectated at the International and Historic rallies that take place in this stunning part of the country, I'd never ventured as far as the Beara Peninsula, the sleepy landscape that hosts this dynamic ribbon of tarmac. One of Ireland's most famous rallying stages, the Healy Pass was well rubbered in after a summer of warm weather and the first cars burst into view, tyres already squealing as heat and friction increased.
At the summit, Moss was letting cars off at 30 second intervals, emulating the manner the full fat versions of these cars would have been accustomed to. Rumbles of non-standard anti-lag pierced the air like gunshots and whistling wastegates reverberated through the mountainside as the owners mimicked the likes of McHale, Fisher and Cullen.
Roughly 6-7 hours later, I'm back in the Renault and leaving Kilmackillogue with a 5 hour drive ahead of me to Dublin. The realisation of what I'd just been involved in was beginning to sink in. There's not many who get to witness 25+ Group A era cars in person, nevermind tearing up a mountain pass. This was truly something special and our Whatsapp groupchat excitment was already turning to a second event. Surely we couldn't take these cars to other famous Irish stages? Could we?
I want to thank Maurice and Cian for including me in this. The idea of keeping it off-air until it had finished was wise and it was a privelege to be let in on the little secret.
While I've photographed events and classic car runs in the past, I'd never taken on anything like this in film so I hope the video below does it justice. I tried to capture a bit of nineties rallying nostalgia with this one so I hope it tickles the senses. Enjoy.
While I was focusing on filming, two of the best snappers in Irish motorsport were capturing the morning through photography so don't forget to check out their work in the Speedhunters story linked at the beginnng of this post. Cian and Ruadhri's work portray the excitment better than I ever could.
Event: Rallye Omologato
Location: Healy Pass, Kerry