The Five Hundred Motor Racing Club of Ireland, who organise the car and kart racing at Kirkistown Racing Circuit, usually have one two-day race meeting per year and it happened on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th August. It was named The Leinster Trophy meeting because the Leinster Motor Club kindly put up their famous trophy for the second BOSS race, along with some other trophies for other classes. All qualifying took place on Friday and all racing was on the Saturday.
The first race was a combined event for NI Sevens and Strykers. The NI Sevens went off first, followed ten seconds later by the Strykers. Newtownards driver, Graham Moore, dominated the NI Sevens race, finishing over eight seconds ahead of the field and setting a new track record for the class. However, the battle for second place was hard fought by Donaghadee drivers, Mark and Richard Francis, Lisburn’s Trevor Allen, Kevin O’Neill, from Newry, David Mutch, from Belfast, and Paul Thompson, from Banbridge. Mark Francis demoted David Mutch from second place during the first lap. Richard Francis, came from eighth to fourth on lap one. Trevor Allen and Paul Thompson swapped places repeatedly on lap three and four. On lap eight, both passed Mutch, who had already been passed by Richard Francis two laps earlier. Paul Thompson then took up the battle with Mutch, getting past on lap eight only to get repassed a lap later. A further lap up the road Kev O’Neill got by as well. On lap twelve, O’Neill passed Mutch for a fifth place finish. On the final tour, Richard Francis snatched second place from his brother Mark.
In the Strykers, Kildangan driver, Jonathan Taylor, rose from last to fourth on lap one. By lap four he was leading and going away. Second place was being disputed by Des Meehan, from Meah, and David Reynolds, from Fenagh. Reynolds secured the place on the final tour and, indeed, Meehan was further demoted to fourth by Clarecastle driver, Roger Welaratne.
The first of three Legends races came up next. These 5/8th scale American 1930s Stock Cars, with 1200cc engines, always entertain. The rivalry of the day was established from the first lap. Geoff Richardson, from Clonskeagh, and Jamie Moylan, from Naas, were disputing the lead. For the first two laps, Moylan led where it mattered, at the line, but from lap three onwards Richardson was always in front at that point. At the end he took the chequered flag 0.1 seconds ahead of Moylan! Third place, a further six seconds behind, was Greg Richardson, from Dublin.
Race three was for a combined grid of Seat Supercopas, Saloons and GTs. There was a one grid gap between the Supercopas and the rest of the field and everyone went off on “Lights out”. However, Lurgan driver, Peter Baxter made a lightening start from the Saloon grid and was up with the Supercopas by Debtor’s Dip, the first left hander. An absolute skittling match ensued, with cars spearing off in all directions in clouds of tyre smoke. Of course, the Saloons and GTs were approaching the melee at speed and they too had to take avoiding actions. The safety car was dispatched to allow the carnage to be cleared. When the safety car came in, Dublin driver, Barry English, took the lead but he was being hounded by Shane Murphy, from Cork. By the end of the lap, Murphy was in the lead. Rod McGovern, from Ticknock, was making rapid progress into third place from fifth. On lap five he passed English and set off after Murphy. At the chequered flag, Murphy was less than a second in front and the two were now almost seven seconds ahead of English. In the Saloons, Donal O’Neill, from Nutt’s Corner, had had to take severe avoiding action onto the infield to avoid the first corner carnage. As a result he was one from last when the race went green. Gareth Blaine, from Downpatrick, was leading the race from Lisburn’s Greer Wray and another Downpatrick driver, Barry Shannon. Keith Wray, from Dundonald, was in fourth place. Keith Wray dispatched Shannon for third place on lap six. O’Neill also passed Shannon to take fourth. On lap seven, he took third from Keith Wray and on lap eight, Blaine retired. On lap nine, O’Neill passed Greer Wray for the lead. Keith Wray passed his brother Greer for second place a lap later and that was how it finished.
Race four was the B and C class Formula Vee encounter. This became a mighty tussle between Donal Downey, from Naas, and Jordan Kelly, from Buncrana. Initially, while Kelly took off in the lead, Downey had to deal with the attentions of Robert Fleming, from Kildare. These two swapped places multiple times before Downey made a break and set off after Kelly. It was on the final lap that he caught and passed Kelly to take the win by only 0.155 seconds! These two were over ten seconds ahead of Fleming at the end.
Fourteen cars took the start of the next race, which was for Formula Ford 1600s. Killaloe driver, Dave Parks, finally ended his unlucky streak at Kirkistown, setting off into the lead, closely followed by Ballymena driver, and current Champion, David McCullough. Lisburn driver, Chris Paul, making his first competitive appearance in five years, was third at the end of lap one but began to fade, first losing out to Dave Park’s son Robbie, on lap two. The Randalstown Rocket, Alan Davidson, had started from last on the grid but by lap three, he too had passed Paul, for fourth place. On lap seven, he passed Rob Parks for third. One lap later, Dave Parks lost the lead to David McCullough. The other driver making massive gains was the man who specialises in winning from the back, brother of David, Ivor McCullough. He had just passed Rob Parks for fourth and two laps later, he passed Davidson for third. On lap eleven Dave Parks and David McCullough had a coming together and McCullough retired on the spot. No more changes took place, with Dave Parks winning, Ivor McCullough second and Alan Davidson third.
Race six was the combined Roadsports and Global Lights first outing. This was a rolling start and on the first lap, Newtownabbey driver, Jim Larkham, took a narrow lead from his nephew, Carrickfergus driver, Steven Larkham. Both were in Radical Pro6 machines, as was Bangor driver, John Stewart, who would hold third place from start to finish. Banbridge driver, Arnie Black, held fourth place throughout in his unique MerMik 1. On the final tour, Steven Larkham squeezed past his Uncle Jim to take the win! It was a start to finish win for Peter Drennan, from Navan, in the Globals. Jack Finlay, from Ballyclare, took a good second place from Richard Finlay, from Larne.
The Kirkistown Fiestas were combined with the Modi-5-Cup Mazdas for race seven. In the Mazdas, Moira driver, Francis Allen, passed Ballywalter driver and class founder, David Cousins, on lap one and proceeded to drive away from the field. Damian Moran, from Newry, made a great start, passing both Gregory Radcliffe, from Banbridge, and Gavin Kilkey, from Derry. In the Fiestas, Portadown driver, Derek Graham was in the lead at the end of lap one. His son, Michael, was in second place but was soon to be overtaken by Belfast driver, Mark Stewart. On lap three, Kilkey got past Moran and set off after Cousins. Paul Stewart, from Belfast, passed Michael Graham and these two would battle and change positions right to the finish. On lap ten, Mark Stewart made a passing move stick on Derek Graham and he took the lead. The final positions in the Mazdas were Allen 1st, Cousins 2nd and Kilkey 3rd. In the Fiestas, it was Mark Stewart from Derek Graham, with Michael Graham third.
Nine cars took the start of the BOSS Ireland race. BOSS stands for Big Open Single Seaters. On lap one Cian Carey, from Ratoath, served notice on everyone that he was the man to beat in his F317 Dallara Mercedes. He took the lead and simply drove away from second place driver, Noel Robinson, from Portadown, in a Dallara World Series machine. Hilltown driver, Tony Greenan, took third place from Drogheda driver, Aaron Gaughran, driving Gaughran’s old car! And that was it really. The spectators were treated to the noise and spectacle of these beautiful cars, circulating rapidly, but the race was over at the end of the first lap.
The NI Sevens and Strykers were the first to have their second outing. This was a much closer affair than their first encounter, with five seconds separating the first five cars in the Sevens. While Graham Moore did take the lead on lap one, he could not get away from Mark Francis, who was just 0.841 seconds behind at the finish line. Trevor Allen did hold third place throughout but Richard Francis had to fight through the field from seventh place to secure fourth place on lap nine from Paul Thompson. The Strykers also put on a show, with Kevin McGrath, from Naas, having a race long battle with Jonathan Taylor. He passed Taylor for the final time on lap eleven and held on for a further two laps to take a well deserved win. Third place went to Roger Weleratne.
The Legends second outing was race ten. This was less frenetic at the front than their previous race, at least after lap one. This time Greg Richardson fought his way from fifth to first during the first tour. Scott Jackson, from Kilkenny, gave chase, as did Declan Burke, from Cashel, but it took, firstly, David Yamamoto, from Cleariestown, and then Geoff Richardson to really make a challenge. Yamamoto was up to second by lap three but he was demoted by a charging Geoff Richardson on lap six. Thus, Greg Richardson won from his brother, Geoff, with Yamamoto third.
Following the mayhem of the first Seat Supercopa, Saloons and GT race, it was decided to start the Saloons and GTs five seconds behind the Supercopas. This seemed to work. On lap one, Graham McDonnell, from Ballsbridge, took a lasting lead. Barry English gave chase in second place but he was to lose that place to Brian Berry, from Dublin, on lap eight. Paul Parr, from Hilltown, got a good result of fourth place. In the Saloons, Gareth Blaine led from start to finish. Once again, Donal O’Neill got a horrendous start and had to fight back from almost last to claim second place. Greer Wray took third place. There was only one GT car all day but Warrenpoint driver, Paul McAlinden, mixed it well with the Saloons and Supercopas. He finished ninth on the road in both races.
Twenty Formula Vees took the start of their second race. The Holmpatrick Cup, was on offer for the winner. It is very unusual for a driver to dominate a Formula Vee race but that is exactly what happened! Bohernabreena driver, Anthony Cross, was untouchable, leading every lap and finishing almost four seconds, a lifetime in Formula Vee, ahead of Tinahely driver, Jack Byrne. Donal Downey, Robert Flemming and Jordan Kelly put on a great show over third place, with Downey being successful. Kelly fought hard to get fourth from Flemming.
When a racing car doesn’t look like it is being driven hard and yet seems to pull away without effort, you know that there is a great driver behind the steering wheel. Such was the case in the second BOSS Ireland race, for the Leinster Trophy. Cian Carey was in a class of his own. He took the lead on the first lap and disappeared up the road. At every corner, on every lap, the car appeared to be on rails, hitting the same marks every time. Noel Robinson gallantly gave chase in his Dallara World Series machine, as did Aaron Gaughran in his Dallara F312 but neither could catch Carey’s Dallara F317. In the end Carey finished some seventeen seconds ahead of Robinson, who was a similar amount ahead of Gaughran. Tony Greenan was closing on Gaughran towards the end but was three seconds short at the line. The Leinster Trophy has a new name on the list of winners and this has to be one of the most deserving. Cian Carey is a class act.
After the somewhat processional, yet still entertaining, display from the BOSS machines, the second FF1600 race was a thriller! Dave Parks and David McCullough renewed their previous battles right from the start, with McCullough taking the lead on lap one. This time, Ballycastle driver, Brandon McCaughan was on Parks’ tail. This three car, nose cone to gearbox train, circulated rapidly for five laps until a charging Ivor McCullough got into the act. He pulled a beautiful move on McCaughan going into Fisherman’s Bend to take third place and set up a McCullough sandwich, with Parks being the meat! It continued like this for a further four laps before a late braking move into Colonial 1 saw Ivor into second place. Unfortunately, with only two laps to go, we never got to see a passing attempt on his brother. Alan Davidson, rose from fourteenth place to take fifth and Rob Parks rounded out the top six.
Geoff Richardson and Jamie Moylan renewed their fierce battle from the first Legends race in the Legends final. Although Richardson always seemed to be just in front at the line, they were often side by side through Debtor’s Dip and into Colonial 1. Unfortunately, Richardson’s car gave up after eight hard laps and Moylan was able to relax, finishing 2.4 seconds ahead of Greg Richardson.
The second Roadsports race was set to be a renewal of the battle between Jim and Steven Larkham, except nobody had told John Stewart who had dismissed Jim off the line and had set off after Steven. In an effort to get past Stewart, Jim made a massive late braking move up the inside going into Colonial 1. Unfortunately, it went wrong and there was contact, with both cars spinning out. Somehow, Brian Elliott’s Radical got involved and he retired with broken suspension at Colonial 2. Both Larkham and Stewart got going again. Although Jim set the fastest lap of the race on lap ten, Steven had everything under control, finishing 8 seconds ahead.
The Global Lights were in the same race. Peter Drennan took another convincing win from Jack Finlay. This time Gary Mitchell, from Fiahburn, took third.
The final race of the day was for the Fiestas and Modi-5-Cup Mazdas. Gavin Kilkey took the lead, closely pursued by David Cousins. Francis Allen was coming from a reversed-grid sixth and was up to third by the end of the first lap. In the Fiestas, Derek Graham led from lap one, closely followed by Mark Stewart. Michael Graham relieved Neville Anderson of third place on lap two. Anderson then got into a massive battle with Paul Stewart on lap five. Positions changed on every lap. Anderson finally secured the place on the last lap.
So ended a brilliant day’s racing. However, to add a bit of cream to the cake, one of the club’s marshals, Darren Gilmore, organised a sponsored walk and charity dinner on the Friday evening. All proceeds were to go to the local food bank charity on the Peninsula. At the time of writing, a figure well in excess of two thousand pounds has been raised. When the final figure is announced, it will be published.
The 500MRCI would like to thank the Leinster Motor Club for bringing the Leinster Trophy and other trophies to Kirkistown once again. We would also like to thank all of the marshals and volunteers for their work and effort.
Our next meeting is on Saturday 24th September and features the Emerson Fittipaldi Trophy for Formula Vee and the Martin Donnelly trophy for FF1600. Don’t miss this End Of Season Spectacular!
Words: DONAL O’NEILL | 500 MRCI Photos: JIMMY GRAHAM