The weather forecast for Sunday 4th July had been getting worse all week, so much so that we contacted one driver who we know has only slick tyres and told him not to come.
We should not have bothered. The weather turned out to be perfect for a track day! Warm and dry. Even without the afore-mentioned driver and two of his friends, there was still a great turnout.
Many regulars were there including Tony Greenan, who was back in his Atom this time. Although not as quick as his SR8 Radical, it still set a blistering pace, before his gear box cried “Enough!”
Arnold Gibson made the 100 mile trek from Omagh direction, where the weather was, indeed, bad. His trusty, yellow BMW M3 was going as well as ever.
Other members of the Beemer Brigade included Peter Johnston, Eoghan McGlinn, Richard O’Reilly, Steve Van Ristel, Vilmarths Lesky and Ali Carver. All had a trouble free day.
I marvel at how Ali makes the transition from his daily driver to his M3, given that his daily driver is a 1931 Ford Model A!
The Clarke twins, George and Joe, were celebrating their 70th birthday! For some reason, only George was driving their trusty Proton.
Simon Cordner had hired the Creative Motorsports Cooper and he was “on the pipe” straight away as was Neil Campbell in his version.
Eric Fulton brought his Striker and was going well until he had an excursion into the long grass and a hedge at the bottom of the circuit. The chief marshal called a red flag because nobody could see where he had gone! However, he reversed back out and continued on with his day.
Adrian Dunne and Mark Magennis brought Mazda RX8s. They both muscled their heavy cars round at a fair rate.
Steven Larkham’s long suffering Renault Megane decided to lie down half way through the day, as did Daniel Matthews’ Accord.
David McMinn’s Civic just keeps going at a great rate, as does Damian Moran’s Golf V5.
It was good to see Adrian Smyth getting a decent run in his Impreza, which has been plagued with unreliability in recent events. Adam Smyth also got a proper day in his Evo this time.
Stephen McKnight was for heading home, disgusted with his Clio, which died after every right hand corner. Since there are three big versions of those at Kirkistown, that was indeed a problem. However, a simple, practical, yet temporary, solution was found and he got a full day’s fun.
Craig McKeown arrived in a Suzuki Swift. This car is a gem when it comes to track days. It is not the quickest on the straights but it goes round the corners as if on rails and is great fun to drive. Given that they can be bought well worth the money, we expect to see a few more of them soon.
MX5s were well represented by Keith Wilson, Gary Robinson and Eoin Murray. A surprise was just how well Andrew Loane’s Mazda 3 MPS went. He was definitely having a ball!
It was also good to have an Alfa Romeo back, this time in the form of Paul Hayden’s 156 T-Spark. It went very well.
The star of the day was Gavin Black in his VW Transporter Van! Spectators, marshals and officials could not believe how well he went. Nor could some of the other drivers that he passed! It was definitely a first on a Trackskills day.
The next one is on Sunday 15th August and booking can be done online at www.trackskills.com.
Word: DONAL O’NEILL/TRACKSKILLS Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY
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