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A Farewell………

A Farewell………

“It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up! Magazine,

Salt-n-Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine,

Hangin’ pictures on my wall,

Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl”


Growing up in Cork, access to Word Up! Magazine was likely slack, if even nonexistent. Salt-n-Pepa were the condiments you had in the middle of the table, and the closest we came to Heavy D was the suger laced, citric goodness of a bottle of Sunny D. While Mr. Smalls had his musical influences, I had automotive ones. I would spend hours, likely better spent studying for the Junior Cert or whatever, browsing car sites, soaking up knowledge of suspension mods, lap times and historic championships. The photos always drew me in further, telling the story in the most visual medium possible. I covered my walls in center fold pull outs of Escorts, Fiestas, Silvia’s and Corollas, and my computer hard drive was full of saved pictures of drifting, rallying, shows and builds. One of my daily check ins was always FreshFix.

It was almost a muscle memory at one point. Turn on Computer. Check Fresh Fix, Autolifers, OMGDrift, Speedhunters and RallyForums. Read every article that was new since the last visit. Save images. That was what I was into, but something I never envisioned becoming a part of. Later, I began to take a few pictures after buying a DSLR on a whim, I had really wanted to buy a Racing Wheel for the Playstation with the money from a first summer job. When Harvey Norman didn’t have the Logitech that I wanted, and me being 18 with the first real lump of self-earned cash, a reduced Nikon caught my eye and lit a bug. That camera would die a death at the hands of a spilled beer bottle in the middle of Worthersee in 2015 but taking pictures of cars had started to become something I enjoyed, even though looking back my Lightroom skills were ‘questionable’.

I’ve always been my own harshest critic, and truly the amount of times I’ve questioned everything about my own work is incredible in a way nobody ever knows, but over time I got gradually braver in how to share my photos. I started a Facebook page, not to promote myself, but rather as a thought to friends who I felt I was clogging their Facebook feed with silly racing images. Things grew slowly, mainly as I started to improve in areas and try new things with each passing opportunity. I went back to my old habits of reading websites and studying pictures. Find people that are top notch, study their photos and try and decipher just how the shot is captured.

In December 2016 I saw a post on FB. FreshFix was relaunching. It excited me as it was a returning part of what had got me into cars in the first place. In a moment of madness, I sent an awkward email to the site, simply introducing myself and asked if, yano, you’re really stuck, and its ok if you’re not, would you sorta be interested in a few of my photos on the site. It really was that bad. I’d sent a similar mail to another site around the same time and got no reply, so confidence was low. Twenty Four months later, a lot of articles, countless words (some clearly written with the occasional alcoholic enablement if truth be known) and god knows how many images, here we are.

Marty & Rob, the real FreshFix team, saw something in me that I never saw myself. I knew how to sorta photograph cars, and I could babble on verbally for days, but they helped so much in ironing out the two to become a less crinkled end product than before. The very first article on the revamped site bore my name and I was giddy with the excitement for days before the launch. Shot in an industrial estate in Galway, that Nissan shoot is still one of my fondest. As a behind the scene scoop, that was the second car shot that day, at a time when my productivity was really at a high point. I had actually never photographed a single car as a feature until a few months previously, when Maurice Malone coaxed me into a series he was working on for CompleteCar at the time. Maurice is a Journalistic tour-de-force, an incredible wordsmith (and now also quite annoyed with my praise!) who is at the top of the game right now in Ireland, and those Irish Icons articles were a huge launchpad. The Silvia was shot for that series, alongside a Lancia Delta Integrale the same day, but the Nissan became a FreshFix feature car instead.

Nissan S14 Kouki JDM

The nature of my widespread interest in all things automotive hopefully came across in the articles shared, covering such a broad base that some sites have teams working on to cover. I gave you Rallying, from the WRC pinnacle to the grassroots local events, Drifting, Track Racing, Stance Shows and Motorcycle Road racing. Feature cars were 4WD, FWD and RWD. I enjoy just being around cars, and that what I always just wanted to share here on the site.

Over time, I became a sole contributor to the site. It felt like a personal blog, but I was determined to keep the site ticking over. The articles on these pages helped me get work out there on other sites and Magazines, but the regularity of maintaining the site just got too slack on my side due to work commitments.

At the end of December, the domain will cease and the great times we had on the site will filter off into cyber space, hopefully remembered fondly. Rob King is the man behind the incredibly good sessions in Mondello, and the growth they have seen over the last two years is testament to the great work being done. With Sell out notices on nearly every event this year, and the ever-expanding fleet of Trackdays vehicles in the pipeline, all looks good. Marty Moore always was, and always will be the real powerhouse behind FreshFix. A fantastic photographer and vlogger in his own right, Marty has become a dab hand at the online Sim Racing and has developed a number of guides on the subject through the really enjoyable Garage Life series.

As for myself, well I don’t really have anything planned. I’ll continue to photograph racing cars through the CianDon platform, and will have occasional articles appear on other sites, but as of now I have no regular outlet lined up for the new year. For the time we have left though, it’s time to celebrate the great time we’ve had over the past two years and I’d like to thank each and every one of you for the support.

Cian Donnellan.