There is an old showbiz saying, “Stop on a high and leave them wanting more!” While we ran as long as the light would permit, those who were still on track at 5:00pm were having a ball when the final chequered flag flew.
The day dawned with fine weather and that being the case, we expected a good turn out for this final track day of 2011. We weren’t disappointed.
Patrick Gillian came back after a long break only to have problems with his Impreza. However, he got parts delivered at lunch time and got a few sessions in before dark. Thomas Bell gave us all a scare during his first session when his Impreza began belching out black smoke. However, it cleared and he ran through the rest of the day without incident.
There were three of the racing Civics that will be competing in the Saloon class at Kirkistown next year. Andrew Armstrong, Aidan Vance and Ciaran Denvir circulated quickly and reliably all day. This is borne out by Graham Curry’s pictures of their glowing brake disks as the light began leaving us.
Sam Lyle brought his rare Lotus Carlton out to play and James Currie returned in his beautiful classic Mini. Exotica was provided by Shamus Jennings’ beautiful Porsche 997 GT3 RS. Peter Jennings brought his little Fiat Abarth out and went very quickly.
Martin McDonnell and Con Keenan were going really well in their respective Leons. Martin is getting ideas about, perhaps, going racing with his next year.
The biggest grin that I noticed all day belonged to Nicholas Wood. I thought the top of his head was going to fall off!
As ever, there was a large “7” contingent. Most improved driver on the day must go to Jonathan Irvine who took some guidance from instructor, Keith Wray and then made great use of it in his Westfield.
Marshal turned driver, Gordon Laird, went very well in his Elise but Johnny McFarland only got two sessions done before his similar car expired. However, the other founding member of the Track Invaders of Tyrone Society, Adrian Kerr, helped out by sharing his rapid Cooper “S”.
Other drivers out for their first taste of track driving included Geoff Kidd in his Tiger kit car and Phil Cardy in his Legacy GT. Both went very well, as did Richard Bill in his TVR Chimaera. David Glen was out for the first time in his BMW 1 series but he also took a drive in Ralph Jess’ racing BMW, which he is considering hiring to race next season. Hunter Godfrey, also out for the first time, was very impressive in his VW VR6 Mk3 Golf.
The award for most resilient driver of the day has to go to James Smart who broke two cars and went home and got a third one. I think it survived.
The day was largely without any incident of note and this says a lot about the calibre of person who attends the Trackskills days. There is a mutual respect between the drivers and the organisers and among the drivers themselves. It is understood and accepted by all involved that everyone is there to enjoy themselves as safely as possible. Hence, high speeds but with top class discipline. It really doesn’t surprise me that so many of our past customers are now racing at a proper level and I think that trend will continue.
Trackskills would like to thank all of our patrons for their support in 2011 and years before and look forward to another great season in 2012. We would also like to thank Fel McIlroy and her team of superb marshals, Philip and the team from St John Ambulance Service, James and Jacqueline and the catering crew (the stew was lovely!) and Richard Young and the 500MRCI for assistance throughout the year.
See you in 2012!