The 500 Motor Racing Club of Ireland, who own and operate Kirkistown Racing Circuit in County Down, held their annual awards party in The Beechlawn Hotel in Dunmurry on Saturday 7th January.
After an excellent meal, Circuit Manager, Donal O’Neill began the prize giving procedure with the 1995 World Formula E (now known as 250cc Superkarts) Champion, Trevor Roberts, presenting the awards.
First up were125cc Superkarts. Donal recalled that Hillsborough driver, Noel Lindsay, was racing motorbikes at the same time as himself, too many years ago! Noel collected the third place trophy while Millisle driver, Ross Witherow, took the Prince of Kirkistown title and the Budweiser Trophy. In the 250cc Superkart class, Ross’s father, Alan, collected the third place trophy, while Craigavon’s Brian Jones took the King of Kirkistown title and the Bairds Cars Trophy.
Next on the agenda was Sportscars. The man who won the 2022 Championship title was Carrickfergus driver Steven Larkham. He picked up the Sports Car Trophy for that feat and also the Des McAuley Trophy, as Best Rookie of 2022, having set a new lap record for Roadsports.
When it came to Libre Saloons, Lisburn driver, Greer Wray, took third place. Nutt’s Corner man and M.C. for the night, Donal O’Neill, was second and Lurgan driver, Peter Baxter, won the championship and the Special Saloon Trophy. In the BMW 330i Championship, Downpatrick driver, Gareth Blaine, took third place, Dundonald driver, Keith Wray, was second and his brother, Greer, took the title and the Jim McClements Memorial Trophy.
Warrenpoint man, Paul McAlinden, won the GT title and the Cairncastle Trophy.
In the Modi-5-Cup Championship for Mazda MX5s, Moira driver, Francis Allen, won and was presented with a brand-new Modi-5-Cup trophy by series founder, David Cousins, who also finished second!
That brought proceedings to Formula Ford 1600 and in the Pre-82 class New Zealand driver, Alan Crocket, took third place. London driver, Giovanni Romagnoli, was second and Holywood driver, Paul McMorran, won the title and the Clarence Trophy.
In the Open FF1600s, Dave Parks, from Ballina, collected the third place trophy. Ballymena driver, David McCullough, retained the championship title and with it, the J.E. Coulter trophy. Dave Parks also won the Harry Johnston Trophy for the best effort in FF1600 and David McCullough won the B.M.R.M.C Trophy for being The Driver of the Year!
When it came to the Fiesta Championship, it was a Portadown family affair with Michael Graham taking second place and his father, Derek, winning the Rally Cross Trophy for first place. Donal noted that he had presented Derek with a trophy for winning the Metro Championship, twenty years ago!
Next came the “special” trophies.
The Don McCurdy Trophy for best marshal went to Brian “Tigger” McDowell.
The George Windrum Trophy for “Personality of the Year” went to Derry driver, Chris Doherty, for his brilliant efforts with his Vlogs during 2022.
Dunloy engineer, Damian Doherty, was surprised and pleased to be awarded The Regent Trophy as Top Constructor.
Finally, the President’s Plate was awarded to top official, Duncan McGreggor, who has a brain the size of Belgium and a heart to match. His work within the 500MRCI and also within the higher echelons of Motorsport UK is invaluable.
Following the presentations, the assembled attendees were treated to music from The Collective Band, magic from Caolan McBride, caricature drawings from Nuff Inc and dance floor gymnastics from Alan Crocket!
Words: DONAL O’NEILL / 500 MRCI Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY