Saturday 12 October was the 8th and penultimate round of the SW Adair Tyres Northern Ireland Sprint Championship at Kirkistown Circuit. The TT Bistro, North Down House Sprint, was hosted by the Ulster Automobile Club at an unusually warm and well weathered Kirkistown Circuit.
With an entry of 63 competitors the action started around 10am and after 2 practice runs and 3 timed runs for all competitors the event had finished for 1425. The results from Saturday could have been used to draw parallels to the other big Motorsport championship event on this weekend.
In both instances the honours went to people with direct links to Portadown and BMW.
With Colin Turkington taking BTCC honours on Sunday our local BMW Driver Andrew Robb secured a class 2A win on the day, which in turn Secured him the class 2a Championship as well as the Road going Category Championship. The BMW / Portadown link however doesn’t end there. Omagh man Adrian Pollock who works for Prentice BMW in Portadown took his Prentice BMW Portadown sponsored Dallara F301 to overall honours on Saturday as well.
After an epic battle with Steven Gault which saw Adrian lead Steven all day by the tiniest of margins. After the first timed run Adrian had a mere 0.11 sec advantage over hard charging Ballymoney Man Steven Gault. True to form Adrian went faster in his second timed run, as did Steven Gault who got to within 0.17 seconds of Adrian after the second run.
Between the second and third runs both competitors were seen checking their cars and then Adrian disappeared to do whatever Adrian does when the going gets tough. Steven set a blinding final run but went 0.10 slower than his second run to set time of 88.94. Whereas Adrian set another Pollock special run and took fastest time of the day with an 87.78sec run, 1.06 secs ahead of Second placed Steven Gault.
A look the time splits show that after the first lap Adrian had made the winning margin over Steven but Stevens Reynard is 5mph faster than Arian through the speed traps. When I mention speed traps it must be noted that the fastest speed trap time went to Downpatrick veteran Eammon Matheson in his home built Matheson Special which set a remarkable 161mph through the trap. Eammon finished third overall with a best run of 90.82 secs.
It’s always been said that motorsport is one big family and this event was another example. There were seven different inter family battles being fought on the day from one end of the time sheet to the other.
At the top of the time sheets the McGimpsey Motorsport dynasty was out in force in classes 14 and 15. In this instance Richard McGimpsey took family honours finishing 4th overall 4.82 seconds ahead of his younger brother Ryan McGimpsey with their father, Robert McGimpsey finishing 8th overall and 1.37 secs behind Ryan. It’s fair to say that the apple didn’t fall far from Roberts’s tree.
Another great family battle was to be found in class 7 where Andy ( Boss Hogg) Hawthorne was out in the family Westfield against his twin sons David and Steven Hawthorne. Steven who won the class 7 Hillclimb championship finished at the top of the time sheets, showing his father Andy, who really was the boss!! Andy Hawthorne finished a fine second in class a mere 0.33 seconds behind Steven and Sprint Championship class 7 leader David Hawthorne finished third in the Hawthorne class battle and fourth in class driving David McMullans Luego Locost which he was driving for the day after his father Andy pulled rank to claim the family Westfield.
Ben Mckee showed his father Wallace a clean pair of heels as he pipped his father by a mere 2.88 seconds in the family Mazda MX5. Ben, who is a dab hand at autotests and has won the TSCC driver of the year was getting confused on his runs as he kept eying the cones on the startline, and those being used as course markers as targets for him to drive round and reverse between. Thankfully heremembered that on this occasion he wasn’t to drive between the cones, and he didn’t use his handbrake once!
More family battles occurred in class 1 where local Formula Ford Ace Alan Davidson dual drove with his father Jim Davidson and again carried on with the theme of the day by beating his father. It’s beginning to look like youthful exuberance really beats experience in the sprinting discipline. After Alan told his father to go easy on the big brake, Jim Davidson was at one point heard telling Alan “its only a game, so put up a real good fight”
In class 2a Andrew Robb also beat his father Alfred Robb in the family BMW M3 by a deficit of 4.47 secs. Andrew has, this year secured the class 2a Hillclimb Championship as well as provisionally securing the class 2 Sprint Championship and Road Going championship as well. So well done Andrew.
There were 2 more family battles in classes 6. David Strain showed his nephew Jonathan the way home in class 6A. With both Strains driving Peugeot 205`s David beat Jonathan by 2.36 secs. Jonathans uncle, and Davids Brother Stuart was unable to compete on Saturday due to gearbox issues or he would have been the third strain competing in a 205 gti.
The last family battle of the day was in class 6B where Graham and Colin Dines were fighting for family honours in the family Renault Clio. Colin takes the honour for fastest Dines having secured a 2.33sec advantage over Graham.
In the modified battle David Strain took the honours with a superb run to 17th overall in his 205 gti, with second modified finisher and event sponsor Nicky Caughey finishing 20th overall on 112.06secs a mere 0.10secs ahead of 3rd modified contender Dermot O`Hagan finishing 21st overall on a 112.16 sec run. With dropped scores etc now kicking in Oliver Cormican, who was marshalling on Saturday, has managed to find himself unbeatable n the Modified Category championship.
Road going category, as so frequently this year, was won by Andrew Robb in the family BMW M3. Andrews 111.43 second run saw him finish 18th overall which was 11 places and 4.46 secs ahead of second placed Michael Clarke in his Lotus Elise. Michaels last run saw him pip Alfred Robb who finished 3rd by a mere 0.01 secs. Andrews’s category win cements his Roadgoing category championship for the season.
In the historic class, referring to the vehicles rather than the drivers, Alan Jardine takes the honour of fastest historic with a 118.01sec run with Gerry McGarrity second on a 119.89 sec run 4.89 secs ahead of 3rd placed John Golden.
Words: DAVID EVANS #154 | Photos: Gary Craig Motorsport Photography
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