Blackwater Graphics are this year celebrating a decade in business and as such, owner Andrew Johnston, hosted a birthday BBQ and summer meet at his premises on the outskirts of Comber, Co. Down last night (Friday 21st July) and we dropped in to help celebrate.
Specialising in motorsport livery – Andrew and his team also provide design and print of signs & banner, embroidery & garment printing and business stationary as well as vehicle graphics and have been heavily involved in the automotive industry since inception.
As such, the BBQ was an automotive frenzy with attendees arriving from as early at 5pm to get a good position to display their pride and joy. Despite the horrible overnight weather that lasted most of Friday morning, few were put off.
Attracting cars that rarely see light other than that from the fluorescent tube in a garage it was great to see some very rare cars that don’t get used much come out of hiding for the laid back birthday bash alongside rally and race machinery as well as the racing bike used by Adam McLean.
Some of the vehicles that stood out to me include the Rat-look Golf Cabrio for being original rather than a try-hard effort, the Porsche GT3 for being the pinnacle of driving pleasure, the Lotus Excel that lurked in the background just for the rarity and old-school shape.
Another vehicle that always stands out is the green VW Caddy pick-up, the attention to detail on this one is nothing short of meticulous and if you ever get the chance to see it at a show, spare five minutes to appreciate the effort. Finally the mod’s ‘Adidas Spezial’ Vespa certainly put a smile on my face as a thing of retro glory!
On-site was a rally simulator along with the crew from Raceway Drift Club – providing everyone with the chance to try their hand at remote control drifting around a purpose built track and as if that wasn’t exciting enough for the big kids among us, Banbridge Aeromodelling Club attended and put on some great aerobatic displays.
Utilising a field to the rear of the BBQ area – the club put on an amazing show with full running commentary over a PA system – from single prop craft to those darting jet engine machines it was all eyes to the sky, especially when one plane was able to drop handfuls of sweets to the crowds below.
The jaw dropping part of the aero-display was when a rather talented helicopter pilot took the controls of something i will describe as a ‘stunt-copter’ simply as it defied the laws of physics and was not only able to perform a ‘loop-de-loop’ but also fly vertically and even trim the lawn by hovering at ground level upside-down.
What more could you ask for than burgers, cars, remote control toys and craic?
Well – the ever popular crunchie covered, chocolate dipped, diabetic coma inducing marshmallow skewers for desert made by Andrew’s good lady Cheryl – they were devoured by everyone and worth the four hour slave the night before.
With such support on hand to join the celebrations I guess Blackwater Graphics can only go from strength to strength moving forward and let’s hope we can report back in another decade with images and words from the 20th Birthday BBQ.
Words & Photos: Graham Curry
[images must not be used in any way without prior written consent of the photographer]