Sunday 04 August came after Saturday 03 August as it usually does, however unlike the other 51 Sundays in the year there was a sprint on as the 500 MRCI hosted round 12 of the SBD Motorsport British Sprint Championship at Kirkistown.
With a somewhat depleted entry from the previous day of just 31 starters, it was most definitely a quality entry which rolled down the pit lane at 1200. After the huge accident suffered by Colin Calder the previous day, Heather Calder appeared on the start-line in a Mk I Ford Fiesta.
The car which she was double driving with fellow Scot, Michael Sutherland. Interestingly, Heather managed to qualify the little Ford Fiesta for the British Championship run-off, which is said to be the first time a MkI Fiesta has qualified for, and scored, British Championship run-off points!!!
Another first for the flying Heather.
John Graham hit the ground running with a first run time of 110.28 secs which saw him 3.62 sec ahead of Nick Algar with Peter Goulding third. Sadly Nick Algar blew the clutch in his DJ Firehawk during his second run which put his run-off runs in serious doubt.
The very popular Steve Miles finished the timed runs in fourth with best of the local competitors going to David Hawthorne who was 8th overall in the family Reynard.
Due to the fast nature of Kirkistown, with its long power-zapping top gear straights, it proved to be hard on cars with several competitors suffering mechanical issues as the day progressed which meant that only 9 competitors lined up to commence the run-offs.
John Graham took the honours in the first run-off in his 3.5 Gould GR55B, with a time of 111.55 which was 1.17 secs off his run time.
Peter Goulding (who came to Kirkistown leading the British Championship) was second in his 1.6 Turbo Mygale and Steve Miles was third in his Van Diemen.
Simon Bainbridge drove his fabulous 4.2 SBR Crono on a very conservative run of 216.48 secs. Simon was one of the many competitors who had been suffering mechanical issues as his car kept breaking drive shafts at the gearbox end.
In order to put a run on the board Simon decided to crawl round to set a time before chancing a fast run in the second run-off to try and better himself.
This actually worked as his second run-off time was 95 seconds faster than his first run off. Another competitor not to make his first run-off was Nick Algar, who hadn’t completed the clutch change in time for him to make his first run.
With the majority of competitors going faster in their second run-off, Nick Algar appeared at the top of the pit lane having fitted a new clutch, literally in the ‘Nick of time’ with help from some of his competitors!!!
Nick hadn’t been ready in time to complete his first run-off so he was only getting one bite at the cherry.
John Graham strapped himself into his Gould as Nick approached the line and when Nick left the line, it was obvious he was a man on a mission.
Nick set a blistering 108.24 sec run and was incredible to watch out of the front chicane.
The very light and nimble 1.4 DJ Firehawk showed just how competitive it was. When Nicks time came through, John Graham un-belted himself from his Gould GR55B and decided not to run.
Nick Algar took the event win and as quick as a flash he was down the pit lane to thank all the volunteers, marshals and officials who made the event happen.
I personally was delighted to see Nick take the win after the clutch issues he had, because 10 or 11 years ago, when I did my first ever sprint in a car I had borrowed from my brother, I had an electrical issue.
Unfortunately Ian, who owned the car, wasn’t there and I was contemplating going home, until Nick Algar, and his 3 mechanics came over and started to work on the car for me.
Not only did they find and sort the problem, but they did so in a flash.
So thank you Nick, and well done!!
Words: DAVID EVANS #154 | Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY
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