Wow! What an event! The Trackskills track day on Sunday 24th May had a marvellous turn-out of cars and drivers. All enjoyed near perfect weather conditions.

The first two cars into the paddock were Sean Turner’s beautiful Crosslé 9S and Jim Hutcheson’s equally gorgeous RSR Escort Mk1. Both drivers used the day to bed in brakes and check other set up parameters. While Sean’s day ran perfectly, Jim got most of what he wanted done before being thwarted by an electrical gremlin.

Miller McIlrea returned, after some years, in a Mitsubishi Evo 6 that he had just got on the road. He had no idea if it would go well or even go at all! However, it ran perfectly all day.

Another returnee after a long absence was Jonathan Christie in his trusty Honda Prelude. This car used to get an awful punishing at our events and on this occasion it voiced its objections towards the end of the day by going off a cylinder or two.

Ken Moore also made a comeback in his Prelude. He was going well but had to stop early due to a seriously cracked front brake rotor.

Joe McArdle hadn’t got his 350Z back on the road so he brought a Twingo! He wasn’t the slowest!

Brendan Cumiskey’s 1330 Mini Clubman still isn’t repaired after its altercation with the tyres at the Crosslé Chicane so he hired the East Engineering Mazda MX5 from David Cousins. He shared it with John Moran and the two of them had a ball all day!

This wee car has to be the bargain of the century. For £425 you arrive at the track day and it is there, waiting for you. Your entry is paid. It is full of fuel, has good tyres and brakes and David is there to fettle it all day. On top of that, you can feel good about yourself because £50 of your £425 will have gone directly to The Simon Community. It’s a no-brainer.

It is often said that it is a small world and that is even more true in this country. Niall Meegan was signing in with his Lotus Elise and I asked him if he had anyone related to him called Colin. He confirmed that he had a cousin called Colin and that he was a car enthusiast as well. It turned out that the said Colin was also booked in with a Clio 172! Both drivers went well all day.

The Mazda Mafia were out in force with “Don” McNaught directing affairs with Roxy (his RX8). His confederates were Liam O’Flaherty, Allen Hume and Stephen Murray, all in MX5s. Judging by their comments and smiles, all had a great time.

The two regular Ford Pumas of Derek Le Mathew and David Watters went really well again and the Cosgrove MR2 was ably driven as usual by Michael and John. It will be good to see the in car videos that Michael regularly posts as he was having a mighty tussle with a Clio Cup car for most of the day. Leslie Graham’s MR2 gave him trouble all day and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him replacing this one.

The Locaterfield brigade was well represented. Michael Campbell fairly flew in his Reiss ‘Bussa. Andrew Parkinson went well as usual in his MK Indy but he was more interested in his new toy, a drone with which he got some excellent pictures of the whole paddock from above! James Perry was his normal quick and tidy self in his Caterham, as was Stephen Dawson in his version.

Philip Reid and Ryan Caughey were making their debuts in Westfields and both slotted in very well. Unfortunately, Richard Key’s Locost broke a drive shaft early in the day and he spent the rest of the time waiting for a friend to arrive with a welder!

Brendan McIlvanna’s Astra never missed a beat and neither did Stephen Potter’s rapid Honda DC2.  James Smart was another to return after over a year away and he seemed to have lost none of his speed in his VW Golf.

Lee Sales got his Saxo VTS running very rapidly as did Nigel Kyle, who was out for the first time in his Civic Type R.

Cormac O’Doherty was in the queue to leave around 4:30pm. I approached his recently uprated BMW 116D and inquired as to why he was going, to be told with a smile that he was exhausted! These track days take it out of you!

We were very well supported at this event and the driving standards were, generally, excellent. The only red flag called was for a broken down car in a dangerous position. There were two incidents of over-enthusiastic driving and the drivers were spoken to with a view to modifying their approach. Both made the necessary attitude changes and nothing more needed to be done.

The marshals and St John, as usual, did a perfect job and our thanks go to them.

The new caterers made a conscious effort to improve their service and the reports I received form those in the paddock were of greatly improved presentation and quality of fayre. Aaron and Mark, the brothers who have the franchise, are easy to work with and are eager to get their service to a top standard. They will welcome constructive criticism and suggestions from any of their customers.

Our next event is on Sunday 21st June. We look forward to seeing you there.

Photos thanks to Hugh Warden


Saloon class race competitor and partner organiser of Trackskills track days at Kirkistown Circuit.