The first track day of the year is always a gamble. Will it be dry, wet or under a foot of snow? Will anyone turn up? The one thing that is certain is Kirkistown will be bitter cold!
Fortunately, James, the resident caterer, had chicken broth on offer as well as his usual menu and it went down a treat.
Considering it was early February, we had a good turn out and a very good selection of cars. The rain and snow stayed away.
In the pre-lunch section both Connaire Finn and Shamus Jennings entertained in their Porsches. Martin Currie got a full session in his Evo. Gerard McVeigh did one session in his Evo before deciding that his new gearbox was worse than the one it had replaced!
New drivers Alan Bryson, Ainsley Laughlin and Aaron Black in their Nissan 370Z, Mazda RX8 and Honda Civic Type R respectively, went very well and without incident.
Paul Keys, Roy Stewart and Alex McConnell were the hard men, braving the cold in their Westfields. Alex had a slight excursion during one session, on the exit from Colonial 2. However, with a little manhandling, the car was coaxed back to the black stuff and he was able to continue.
Nicholas Wood circulated quickly all day and his smile got wider every lap!
Mark Angus was giving his Golf VR6 what may be its last outing, as it is up for sale and he has a replacement Golf Mk2 in build.
Ryan Cherry seemed to be having great fun in his Seat Ibiza 1.8t. It looked like everything, from brakes to engine, was overheating when he came in from his first session but it all cooled down and the car lasted the entire day.
The BMW marque was represented solely by Mark Magennis in his red E30. He went consistently quickly.
Michael Crymble and a bunch of mates campaigned a Fiesta Mk 4 all day. It went really well until, without notice, the clutch decided to cease operation. At least that is what they diagnosed on site. Unfortunately, the car was going no further without the aid of a transporter and the guys had driven it from Carrickfergus that morning. Cue an excuse for some to go to the pub in Kircubbin, while others went to get another car and trailer. Such are the joys of track driving!
The last cars running, as light began to fade, were John Lyttle and Raymond Grimes in their Toyota MR2 and Eorann ONeill in her Ginetta G20.
By 5:00pm, everyone had had enough and the winter lay off had been officially ended. Roll on March 24th for the next one!
The marshals and St John crew did a sterling job as usual and we are forever grateful for their help.