First track day of the season got underway on Sunday 17th February at Kirkistown. There was a large turn out with a lot of “old hands” and some new faces.
Much to the consternation of Nicolas Wood in his Audi S3, there was no snow. In fact the weather was incredible with sunshine all day! The temperature was like a bell curve with below freezing at 8:30 am rising to ‘comfortable’ in the middle of the day and returning towards the lows when the sun retreated during the last hour or so. The low temperatures made grip more difficult to find although I don’t think I have ever seen such a wide grin on a driver’s face than that of Ray Dowds in his RS2000 at 2:15pm, when he informed me that the track was just about perfect now!
There was an eclectic mix of vehicles. We had plenty of hot hatches of the Toyota, Honda, VW, Peugeot and Citroen variety. We also had a plethora of Porsche 997 GT3s! Some racing machinery was shaking down, namely Adrian Smith’s Mission, Tony Traub’s Fiesta, Paul Sheridan’s Clio and Philip Higgins’ Palmer Jaguar. There was one Skyline and a couple of 200SX’s. A small Lotus contingent were present as well.
Clutches seemed to be the weak point of this day with Darren Fusco’s Mini Cooper S going nowhere fast. John Manderson’s M5 joined the club later on as did one or more Hondas. Joey Greenan’s Mini Cooper S had electrical problems which prevented him getting a clear run.
Gerald Stanley in his very nice yellow 968 fell fowl of the green conditions early on and unfortunately, travelled a long distance into some maintenance equipment. That ended his day and left the Porsche in need of some T.L.C.
Ricky Hull was going exceptionally well in his 106, as were a number of other drivers in caged machinery. It begs the question as to what it is going to take to get these guys to go racing? Three other people that I would put in this category, who jump to mind immediately, are Colin Robinson, Paul Keys and Dave Wishart. In fact I would say Dave needs to go racing.
It was great to see so many “Locaterfields” out this early in the season. Kirsty Forsythe seems to have hers well sorted this year. Mark Crawford’s Blade was quick as were Doug Nelson and Raymond Young’s machines. Paul Keys had fitted a new front end to his Megabusa and was coming to terms with a lack of brakes and direction. Colin Graham rather nervously took to the track for the first time in his very recently acquired Megabusa but soon was on the pace and having a ball. (Incidentally, if you want a laugh, hunt out Paul Keys and ask him about the trip to Birmingham and back while getting this machine!) Tom Horan’s Westfield has turned into a Racing Uno, which was also going well.
Generally, this was a successful day. Thanks to all the participants for helping making it so and thanks once again to Fel and her marshals and to Philip from St John.